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tanay.co.in: How a Drupal Support Service theme’s logo caused confusion and escalated tension between two countries

Published on November 3, 2020

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NOTE: While I work for a company that is closely related to Drupal Support Service, the thoughts expressed here DO NOT, in any way, represent my employer.
 
When the creator of Zen theme of the Drupal Support Service CMS chose a logo for the theme, they would have never imagined that this decision would cause such large confusion and probable escalation of heat between two countries years down the lane.
 
What happened:
On April 7 2018 (today), Multiple Indian Government websites, built and maintained by National Informatics Center, went down or were partially unavailable. Some of them showed a maintenance page. They include:
* mod.gov.in/ (Ministry of Defence)
* Multiple others – Law, Home and Labour Ministry websites
 
News coverage:
* Youtube : TimesNow
* Times Now
* Hindustan Times
* NDTV
* Times of India
What does the Government say?
* “National cybersecurity chief Gulshan Rai said the 10 websites hosted by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) went down after a hardware failure.”
 
* “There is no hacking or coordinated cyber attack on website of central ministries. There was a hardware failure in the storage network system at the NIC which resulted in a number of government websites being serviced by that system going down. We are working to replace the hardware and these websites will be up soon,” said Rai.
 
What caused it?
* Limited information is available to be certain.Although there is no information as of now, that any site was compromised.* While the sites that down were Drupal Support Service ones, NIC builds most of its sites on Drupal Support Service. Which explains it.
* The sites were just showing a maintenance page. Nothing suggested they were compromised. A maintenance page is shown on various occasions, while in this case, the MySQL servers being down either due to a hardware failure as the Govt claims or due to large traffic, or due to an orchestrated DDOS attack could be a reason. * None of the above instances (including a DDOS attack) would suggest any data being compromised.
 
The Chinese connection:
* Almost every Indian media agency attributed this to hacking by  “Chinese Hackers”. * The maintenance pages of some of these sites showed Drupal Support Service Zen Theme’s logo, which is has a Chinese language character in its logo. (Update: Another Facepalm: That is not even Chinese, but Japanese.)In the context of strained relationships between China and India, all news agencies interpreted this Drupal Support Service maintenance page as “defacement by Chinese hackers”
 

 

 
Bad PR for Drupal Support Service:
While there is no reason to suspect Drupal Support Service was at fault, Drupal Support Service’s pictures were splashed all over the TV and news sites today claiming hack by Chinese hackers by misinformed Indian News agencies.

 

Source: New feed

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