Crucial details of Army officers such as their IC numbers — that serve as the identity within the Army — dates of commissioning, birth, individual login IDs and possibly, even the details of locations of postings are likely to have been leaked when the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts PCDA (O) website was “compromised” on March 31. The Army has issued an advisory to its officers to immediately change their email IDs and remain vigilant for the “phishing mails” that they may receive on the “compromised” email IDs.
The advisory, which was issued by Army Headquarters Wednesday evening, has been sent to all formations across the country. The PCDA (O) website, which even displayed obscene messages, has been “out of order” since March 31 and the authorities said that an investigation has been ordered. Sources within the Army confirmed that the data has been “missing in parts”.
While the Army maintained that it is too early to arrive at any conclusion as to whether the website could have been hacked by anti-national elements, PCDA has not given any official word on the incident. “The reason behind the problem can be ascertained only after due investigation,” said an official. “What we know as of now is that the website is down and cannot be accessed. It needs to be checked with the PCDA(O) authorities to find what exactly is the case,” he said.
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According to sources, initially it became clear that the site was down and some obscene messages were posted for some time. But a day or two later the message showed that the data could not be retrieved. The PCDA (O) holds not just the information about salary but also of the allowances. “The information on these allowances can reveal where the officer is currently posted and what exactly is the profile. Information about junior-most to senior-most officers is held by these servers and so the security is crucial,” said an officer.