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Fear of hackers shut down FBR websites for a full day

Fear of hackers shut down FBR websites for a full day

  • The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) took down its websites for more than 24 hours before Pakistan’s 75th Independence Day. 
  • FBR officials and others who used these websites said it was difficult to pay taxes and submit returns. The websites should be up and running by Monday am (today). 
  • The FBR’s spokesperson called it “regular maintenance”. Pakistan’s top spy agency warned the FBR that a cyberattack was likely, but these warnings were ignored.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) took down its websites for more than 24 hours before Pakistan’s 75th Independence Day because of fear of Indian hackers.

Three tax websites were down Saturday night and Sunday. FBR officials and others who used these websites said it was difficult to pay taxes and submit returns.

Iris.fbr.gov.pk, which is used to submit returns, e.fbr.gov.pk, and fbr.gov.pk, its key contacts with taxpayers and the globe, were shut down the day before Pakistan’s 75th Independence Day.

The websites should be up and running by Monday am (today).

The FBR’s spokesperson called it “regular maintenance.” He verified the downed websites. He didn’t disclose when FBR will launch these sites.

The FBR took down its website for scheduled maintenance 10 days ago and notified the public.

FBR: “Building on its continued drive for digitization, the FBR is all ready to modernise its main IRIS system to enhance its functioning, boost its security, and introduce a new Graphic User Interface.”

“The IRIS System will be updated from 10 p.m. August 6 to 10 a.m. August 7, 2022. So, it’s unfortunate “saying,

This time, the FBR did not tell the public that its services were not available.

On August 15, 2021, an article in The Express Tribune was the first to report that Indian hackers had attacked the FBR data centre and shut down all of the government websites for more than three days.

Unofficially, the FBR had told two different stories about who did the hacking. One version says that the hackers got into the system by hacking the data centre administrators’ logins and passwords. At first, the FBR technical wing thought that the hackers got into the system through the Hyper-V link.

The FBR tried to hide how bad it was by calling the hacking “unexpected anomalies during the migration process.”

Last year, Pakistan’s top spy agency warned the FBR that a cyberattack was likely, but these warnings were ignored. As a result, about half of the virtual machines in the FBR data centre were either taken over or shut down.

Shaukat Tarin, then-Finance Minister, stated Indian hackers hacked the FBR website in September 2018. In 2019, India also attacked.

Tarin claimed hackers entered into level one of the FBR website, but not the database. If hackers had access to FBR data, it may have been hacked.

Even though the previous administration fired the FBR chairman for not protecting the websites, those responsible for the data centre were never punished. Some were subsequently promoted or rewarded.

Both the FBR and PRAL, its major database, blamed one other for the hack last year.

Even when the government employed a CISO to secure FBR’s data centre, it took down the websites. The FBR still doesn’t believe its systems are immune from cyberattacks, a vulnerability that may be leveraged against the nation at any big event.

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