Suspicious emails sent to Union govt. officials, warning of email ‘deactivation’

The email was sent from an address purporting to be from the Ministry of External Affairs; the inbox has since been shut down

Published - July 10, 2024 01:28 am IST - NEW DELHI

Image used for representational purpose only.

Image used for representational purpose only. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Suspicious emails went out to officials in the capital’s Central secretariat complex, where a number of Ministries and departments are housed. A copy of the email was shared by the Central Secretariat Service Forum, an association representing CSS officers, on X (formerly Twitter). The CSS Forum urged the government, including the National Informatics Centre, which operates Union government officers’ email services, to take action.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology did not have an immediate response on whether there was an investigation underway into the email. The message appeared to be sent from an email tied to the Ministry of External Affairs, although a test email sent to that address shows that the inbox has been shut down.

The Hindu reviewed identical copies of the same email sent to other officers. The message features an impersonation of a government email ID — email-govs.online — but as of this report, that domain name has not been registered in the first place; it is unclear if the link redirects to a different URL than the one displayed in the message.

Union government departments have, in recent months, issued warnings to officials to avoid responding to emails that impersonate senior officials in their respective hierarchies, in a wide-ranging series of financial scam attempts. In 2021, hijacked government email addresses were used to send phishing emails to government employees, prompting a warning from the NIC to avoid clicking on these links. 

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