JESSICA GADOMSKI WRITES – Coming elections have Pakistanis wired.
With polls set for May 11, the Election Commission of Pakistan’s website has been under heavy scrutiny, by both voters looking for info, and hackers looking to make a point. And according to some accounts, the latter have succeeded in taking the site offline entirely.
Not so, say ECP officials. A commission spokesman said the website did go dark recently, but only under “a deliberate strategy to avoid loss of data and ensure security.” He added that all data was, in fact, safe.
Abdul Qadir, the Sindh Provincial Director IT for the Election Commission of Pakistan, also denied a successful cyberattack, stating, “There’s been no ‘cyberattack’ as such, as we tackled the threat that the website was receiving.” Qadir appears to be referring to the website switching servers recently to harden it against ne’er-do-wells.
The ECP site is often victim of hacking attempts, but it’s been an especially tempting target since publishing the names of 54 former members of parliament and provincial assemblies who hold fake academic degrees. Whether the site’s recent outage was indeed planned, or the result of hackers, the timing is unfortunate and does little to give confidence to voters. The ECP needs to improve its security to keep hackers at bay and data displayed.