Cyber criminals have struck again in Lucknow. This time, they have hacked into the computer network of Balrampur Hospital and fraudulently generated dozens of fake birth and death certificates over the past month and issued it to different people.
The hospital administration, on Saturday, lodged an FIR against unidentified hackers under the IT Act, 2008 at Wazirganj police station. Interestingly, the hospital does not have a gynaecology and obstetrics wing and, hence, not a single birth took place here.
However, the hospital authorities so far have found that at least 41 birth certificates have been issued.
Officers believe that it could be just a tip of the iceberg and are conducting an audit to find out if more fake certificates related to birth or death and any other medical documents were also generated through the hospital system.
Police suspect that this could be a part of an all-India racket which has been hacking into hospital portals across the country and generating fake death and birth certificates online and selling them to people.
Dr M.P. Singh, officer in charge of issuing certificates, said the hospital is connected to the centralised network of portals run by the Civil Registration System (CRS) which works under the chief registrar (birth and death), New Delhi, and keeps the population record of the country.
Dr Singh said, "We have a separate user ID and password. In the past one month, we experienced snags while accessing the system for issuing death certificates. It denied us access every now and then. When we lodged a complaint with the chief registrar office, it told us that there might be some 'suspicious activities' being carried out by using the hospital's user ID and password."
"On August 16, when the portal denied us access again, we contacted computer experts at the health directorate and got a probe done which revealed that the system has been hacked," he added.
Later, an internal audit found that as many as 41 fake birth certificates had been generated through the hospital's user ID in the span of a month despite the fact that the hospital does not take delivery cases.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Manoj Agrawal said, "We have asked other hospitals to report if they are also facing similar problems."
At present, nine district government hospitals and three government-aided medical educational institutions in the city are connected to the CRS portal and allowed to issue birth or death certificates.
Meanwhile, assistant commissioner of police, Chowk, I.P. Singh said, "A case has been registered and a probe is underway to trace the trail of hacking."
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