New Delhi: The website of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) went into the "maintenance" mode after an alleged hacking attempt early on Tuesday morning, with security researchers claiming the hackers may have stolen the entire database.
The portal was not up until the evening and the message on the website read: "We'll be back soon! Sorry for the inconvenience but we're performing some maintenance at the moment. We will be back online shortly!"
Calls made to the party on why the website was down went unanswered. No hacker or group claimed the responsibility for allegedly breaking into the BJP website.
Social media, however, was abuzz with screenshots of a meme featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi that appeared on the BJP website before it went into the "maintenance" mode. Below the meme was a music video of the film "Bohemian Rhapsody".
The meme poked fun at a clip in which German Chancellor Angela Merkel walks past Modi as he extends his hand.
French security researcher that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson who published Aadhaar data leaks in the past, tweeted:
The opposition immediately took up the issue on the social media platforms.
Divya Spandana, Social media head of the Congress, tweeted:
Bhaiya aur Bhehno if you're not looking at the BJP website right now- you're missing out— Divya Spandana/Ramya (@divyaspandana) March 5, 2019
Ghanshyam Tiwari, national spokesperson of the Samajwadi Party, tweeted:
I condemn the hacking of @BJP4India BJP website.— Ghanshyam Tiwari (@ghanshyamtiwari) March 5, 2019
It must be investigated. In the interest of the country, data on key Political Party websites must be duly secured with due technical support enabled through NIC. #ITCell #BJP https://t.co/E6CZE1SYoB
The website of the country's ruling political party stopped functioning amid ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed.
Within hours of the Pulwama attack, Pakistani-linked hackers reportedly attacked nearly 90 Indian government websites, leading India to initiate counter offensive measures in cyberspace.
In the same week, Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website was not working in several countries, including the US.
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal alleged that New Delhi was behind the attack.
According to a report in the Dawn, cross-border hacking attacks have been sporadic yet common since at least 1998.
Fingers were pointed to India-based hackers when the official website of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was found defaced in June 2017. In December that year, the official website of Karachi police was hacked and defaced, allegedly by Indian hackers, the report said.
Earlier, in July 2016, hackers claiming to be from Pakistan defaced the websites of seven Indian embassies, high commissions and consulates in various countries with pro-Pakistan Army slogans.