Union government readies to counter spoofing calls - The New Indian Express

Union government readies to counter spoofing calls

Published: 14th July 2013 10:17 AM

Last Updated: 14th July 2013 10:17 AM

Rattled by spoofing calls from foreign intelligence agencies, the Centre has decided to put in place an eight point counter-espionage guidelines for babus handling sensitive information in ministries.

Spoofing is a new technique, through which a caller could mask original phone number with a fake number, to hide the real identity.

In the immediate aftermath of Hyderabad serial blasts in February, a senior National Security Guard official had received such a call. The caller, an ISI agent, wanted to know the movements of Black Cats Commandos. The officer had no idea that the call actually generated from the ISI headquarters in Islamabad.

Although, no vital information was leaked, the officer was reprimanded for being careless, while sharing security-related information with an unknown caller.

Details available with Express reveal that the Centre has issed a directive to government officials, asking them to avoid using all public switched telephone networks, to discuss or disseminate classified information.

The directive, issued to all ministries in June, 2013, said public switched telephone networks and mobile phones should not be used to discuss official matters with anyone.

“Dissemination of classified information should be restricted to organisation’s secure internal communication networks,” the directive said and asked the officials to identify the caller before revealing any information. 

The Centre has also asked the authorities to make use of ‘Trap Call’ facility to identify the original number of caller, or unmask the suspecious numbers.

“In case, the identity of the caller is not established beyond all reasonable doubt, he should be politely asked for his contact details, including telephone number (in case the facility of calling number identifier is not available on the telephone), assuring him that the person called for would revert as soon as soon possible,” the directive said.

The Centre also asked Babus to demonstrate presence of mind to counter spoofing attack of foreign espionage ring, attempting to extract vital information. If an intruder has been secured by the person attending the call, the directive said, the issue could be brought to the notice of senior officers so that counter measures, if any, could be taken at the earliest.

“If the caller tries to give reasons that he can only contact the recipient of the call owing to technical reasons, such as use of EPBAX, etc., it should raise strong suspicion that it is a spoofed call,” the directive said. .

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