Federal Cabinet’s sensitive data vulnerable due to Indian software

ISLAMABAD: The sensitive data of country’s highest decision-making forum, Federal Cabinet, is at risk as the launching of Mobile Device Management (MDM) software to run the portal of the E-Cabinet has been purchased from an Indian IT firm.

Highly placed sources have informed Pakistan Today that National Information Technology Board (NITB) – an attached department of Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom – has reportedly purchased MDM software/application from Chennai-based Indian company, Zoho Corporation, a year before and installed it in the tablets given to Federal Cabinet members.

The sources said that the Government of Pakistan had imposed a ban on Indian developed products, however, in this case, the NITB reportedly showed negligence and purchased MDM solutions from the Indian firm despite a solution similar to this product already available in the global market.

Moreover, the sources said that Zoho MDM application can access mic and camera of every tablet device issued to federal cabinet members.

Earlier, the cabinet division had also found vulnerabilities during the technical audit of the e-cabinet portal but later on, NITB approached Zoho corporation, without doing any due diligence, for improving the system.

The cabinet division had also shown its displeasure to the former permanent ED of the NITB on the reports of weak security and platform performance of the e cabinet portal, the sources added.

Independent technical experts have claimed that the Indian Company can remotely retrieve the sensitive data issued to Cabinet Members and Secretaries.

Source revealed that the NITB does not even have credentials to buy an annual subscription of the allegedly Indian Software.

“The rights to renew the annual subscription or change credentials are with a former employee of NITB who was a third party HR resource who left the service in August 2021,” the sources added.

In the recent annual subscription’s renewal, the said official had given the NITB a very tough time and still has the credentials with him, the sources added.

The sources said that the staff of NITB also approached high ups time and again to address the issue or replace the software but no action was taken by them.

It is pertinent to note that the Cabinet’s portal is used only for the submission of summaries to the Cabinet Members but all the summaries disappear or remove within a few hours’ time.

The NITB has so far provided tablets to the Federal and Sindh Cabinet members and they are also planning to provide e-cabinet services to the KP and Punjab cabinet members as well.

The scribe approached the spokesperson of Ministry of IT, Junaid Imam for comments on this matter. However, despite seeing the query, he chose not to reply till finalization of the report.

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