The interior ministry announced over the weekend that it had stopped an attempt to hack the ministry’s website. The department of public relations and security information at the ministry issued a statement confirming that the ministry’s webpage has returned to normal and the security authority stopped work for a short period as a precautionary measure. The hacking attempt did not affect the main database of the ministry. Investigations have begun to identify the hacker and prosecute him.
Such incidents wouldn’t cause a controversy if they happened to another ministry or a company, but the MoI is a sensitive government body and is connected to the affairs of all people, whether citizens or expatriates. So this incident became a news story until the ministry restored control and everything went back to normal. The seriousness of the incident is due to the fact that MoI retains all personal and private data of everyone and it can’t afford or allow any manipulation or tampering with any of its information.
Cyber terrorism is one of the most dangerous types of terrorism today, given the wide scope of the use of modern technology in the world, so it is important to study methods of combating it. Most governments today are subjected to cyber-attacks by so-called hackers. Last year, a group of hackers launched a massive attack on the computer systems of hundreds of private companies around the world – called ransomware attacks – and demanded a digital ransom before returning control. It was said that this attack occurred because of gaps in software, causing extensive damage.
Kuwait is not isolated and we have important entities such as banks and important government bodies such as the interior ministry and the Public Authority for Civil Information, and as long as these places are connected to the Internet, they are undoubtedly exposed to any hacking attempt. Security programs must be fully protected with high-tech systems.
A cyber-attack may try to stop a site from working or change the home page and write a message without any damage to the internal data. But this act is harmful to the reputation of the state and raises fear and anxiety among the people in the community. I am glad that MoI regained control over this important site in record time, and the incident passed peacefully and quickly. But there is a lesson here that MoI must activate the best protection software programs for the future.
By Muna Al-Fuzai