Mumbai, April 11: A former Home Secretary has alleged that some subordinate staff at the ministry would watch pornography in the office and download malware, thus posing a threat to the network security. Speaking at the maiden Finsec Conclave on Wednesday, former Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said, “When I was the Home Secretary almost 8-9 years ago, every 60 days we would find the entire computers compromised.” He said that was so because while the senior officials remained busy with meetings, the subordinate staff had a lot of free time on hand while they waited for post-meeting work, “so what will they (subordinates) do? They go and open the internet and they are on porn sites and so on and so forth, and download all sorts of things that come up with all the malware.”

Pillai, who now chairs the non-profit Data Security Council of India (DSCI), said that the discovery was made after a detailed review. Pillai’s comment follows days after government websites were down for a while. While initial reports had suggested that the websites were hacked, the government had clarified that some technical glitch was the reason for the temporary shutdown.

Referring to the alleged data breach by Cambridge Analytica, Pillai said that the UK company had made a presentation in Delhi a couple of years ago. He said the DSCI had recommended for making it mandatory for company boards to review cybersecurity and show their preparedness in their annual report. He alleged that the same hadn’t happened because certain arms, like the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, SEBI and RBI, “were sitting on it”. He said with the government’s thrust on digital solutions, there had been a “headlong rush” for the same which had “increased the vulnerabilities and made us more insecure”.