Hyderabad: Power cos’ sites hacked,online bill payment hit

Hackers demand Rs 35 crore ransom.

Hyderabad: The websites of the TS and AP-owned power distribution companies were hacked on Tuesday night; this came to light on Wednesday. As a result, consumers faced obstruction in paying their power bills online.

The websites hacked included those of the TS Southern Power Distribution Company Limited, TS Northern Power Distribu-tion Company Limited, AP Southern Power Distribu-tion Company Limited and the Eastern Power Distribu-tion Company of AP Ltd .

TCS handles the operations of the four Discom websites with their central office located in Tirupati. Reportedly, data from power grid servers were stolen using a malicious ransomware virus. According to Discom authorities, the hackers sent them an email demanding a ransom of Rs 35 crore in exchange for the stolen data. However, since there was a data backup the security threat and compromise of data were avoided.

“Mails were sent to employees who unknowingly downloaded the virus, which attacked the main servers. The virus deleted the entire data and crashed the site. For almost two days, consumers could not pay their bills because of the attack,” said a source.

Officials say that apart from the four Discoms, the hackers also attacked the Indian Airlines website and Andhra Bank portal. However, there has been no official confirmation from either of the organisations about the hacking.

The hacking was confirmed by the TSSPDCL CMD G. Raghuma Reddy. He said, “The TSSPDCL website was hacked and affected services like online payments and other miscellaneous operations. This has no bearing on the operations of the company. The data of TSSPDCL is safe and other day-to-day operations like billing, internal activities in TSSPDCL are in operation. There is no impact on customer services like payment of bills in meeseva, e-seva, departmental counters and spot collection mechanism. Services like new applications, registration and restoring of power supply issues are not affected.”

The TCS is working round the clock along with the TSSPDCL IT wing and web services will be restored at the earliest, he assured.

Hyderabad CCS Additi-onal DCP Raghuveer said that they had filed a case under section 65 of the IT Act and investigating.

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