Sensitive information of two Sri Lankan state websites have been leaked to a hacker forum, a cyber threat intelligence platform claimed last week. 

On March 2, the announced on Twitter that the administrator access of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence website has been released to a Hacker’s Forum for sale. Personally Identifiable Information (PIIs) such as names, phone numbers and emails were among the data claimed to be on sale, through a data broker named Kelvin Security. Kelvin Security, which describes itself as a hacker group has a history of claiming data breaches in several countries including Colombia, Mexico and Chile.

Defence Ministry media spokesperson Colonel Nalin Herath denied the report stating no data has been compromised as flagged by the intelligence platform, nor has data been made available for sale.

“There was an alert we initially got that the Ministry of Defence website was going to be hacked. But there was no such incident,” the Ministry Spokesperson said. “We were alerted by the United States Embassy.

Based on that we took some extraordinary precautions and because of that we could prevent a breach,” he said. The US Embassy warning came a day prior to the incident, he added. “Nothing happened. There was no breach. We adopted certain precautions. But we did not experience an attack or anything,” Herath said.
Asked of the precautionary measures taken related to this incident, Herath said the Ministry worked with the Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) as well as the Air Force Cyber Operations Centre to look into the issue.

However sources told that CERT had not been immediately notified of the alleged breach. “We haven’t got any request asking for any assistance in this regard,” a spokesperson for CERT said.

Prior to the alleged Defence Ministry data breach, on February 25 had also claimed that ’32 admin information’ from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka website were leaked. The tweet also contained an image suggesting that the Central Bank’s Twitter handle was compromised.

Several officials at the Central Bank said there has been no data breach reported. “I think you are referring to the tweet. There was no data breach as such,” an officer who wished to remain anonymous said. Asked if there is an investigation into the incident with other parties, he said “Along with our service provider, we investigated the claim. But we didn’t find any data breach.”

Financial Sector Computer Security Incident Response Team (FinCSIRT) Manager Kanishka Ratnayake, he said there only appeared to be a security incident with the Central Bank’s Twitter account. “As per my understanding the Central Bank website was not hacked. It was their twitter page. Asked if there is a team investigating the incident, “Mostly government organizations are handled by CERT,” he said.

Cyber Security Specialist Asela Waidyalankara who stressed the need of a cohesive cyber security strategy for Sri Lanka, given the frequency of these events. “We really need to have a coordinated national mechanism to monitor these developments on the dark web and other threat intelligence channels. In other countries there are tools, processes/procedures and people trained to look at these signals, pick it up and address it,” he said.

source daily mirror