All of the major government sites were down yesterday on the 25th of July. Websites having the “.gov” domain were all inaccessible for public use.
This blackout of official sites is no new thing to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, as the same thing has happened on numerous occasions. Why are official sites blackout happening frequently and being taken in a very light manner?
These sites include every Nepali citizen’s personal details, including citizenship, passports, driving license, and every other personal info we have provided our government with. Is our personal data safe, or is it already out in the open?
Government officials rarely have an official explanation for why government websites were down. They do not even confess about the incident. Another big question mark is the storage of personal info on website servers.
Also if the information is only used for private access in case of need by officials only, it certainly is not a great idea for a government to store sensitive information over an internet server. It is better to use a universal database for such information by creating exclusive government database software.
Also, on many occasions’ government has blamed high traffic as the cause of site blackouts. Is the basic framework of the government websites so weak that it cannot handle a small surge of users? This just feels like an excuse for improper and careless implementation of cybersecurity. Maybe the sites are actually getting hacked?
With their hesitation to address site blackout issues, one might think this is not out of the realm of possibilities. We don’t know the degree of security our government has used.
Another example of severe carelessness can be found on the major website, “Office of Prime Ministers and Council of Ministers.” This site does not even have a meta description. One google search on this page and the severe laziness of government becomes apparent.
This is the most critical governmental website. Major updates regarding everything in our country are made from this website. This same website doesn’t have meta description.
This shows the level of carelessness of government websites. This also raises another question of proper SEO. SEO is search engine optimization. This makes the site more visible and relevant to the search engines, but without a meta description, this is harder to achieve.
Thankfully, nobody seems to have written a comprehensive feature article about the Prime Minister’s office else the other specific blog article might have ranked higher than PMO’s website. It is shameful that our government hasn’t addressed such a simple issue.
The current state of cybersecurity of Nepal is average to most. Should a country be satisfied with such weak measures against site blackout? Why is a simple thing such as meta description being overlooked?
IT experts have been saying again and again that anyone with above-average hacking skills can breach the data stored in the government’s IT system as the security used is not something to be proud of.
Will Nepal Government ever change its course regarding cybersecurity?
Current actions definitely do not seem to show any improvements.