Cyber Security

EXCLUSIVE: Cyber ​​Security Strategy Is The Need Of The Hour, Says Senior PMO Official, Amid China Cyber ​​Attacks Report

EXCLUSIVE: Cyber ​​Security Strategy Is The Need Of The Hour, Says Senior PMO Official, Amid China Cyber ​​Attacks Report
Written by ga_dahmani
EXCLUSIVE: Cyber ​​Security Strategy Is The Need Of The Hour, Says Senior PMO Official, Amid China Cyber ​​Attacks Report

In what may sound alarm bells in the central government, cyber-intelligence firm Recorded Future has identified seven state-owned cargo clearance centers (SLDCs) located in northern India that have faced cyberattacks from China-linked adversaries in recent months. . Most of the activity likely occurred between February 17 and March 22. “In addition, these attacks are in the geographical proximity of the disputed border between India and China.” [Ladakh]said Future Engraving, in its report published on Wednesday.

What becomes of greater concern is that the attacks were likely intended to gather information about critical infrastructure systems, or are prepositional for future activity, according to the report accessed by THE WEEK. The SLDCs are responsible for conducting real-time operations for grid control and electricity dispatch within the respective states.

“Despite the partial troop pullout between India and China in February 2021, prolonged attacks on Indian critical infrastructure continue to raise concerns about pre-positioning activity by Chinese adversaries,” it said.

When contacted, Lieutenant General Rajesh Pant, Cyber ​​Security Coordinator at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), said that the development of recent global events (hybrid war between Ukraine and Russia) has shown the need for a strong strategy. cyber security at the national level to build indigenous cyber defense capabilities. “India is taking all measures to protect itself from active threat actors in cyberspace,” he told THE WEEK. He added that the need of the moment is the development of indigenous capabilities, along with international collaboration with strategic partners to share threat intelligence to protect critical infrastructure.

In hybrid wars, as seen in Ukraine for the first time, the dismantling of power and telecommunications in the target country becomes a key entry point for enemy forces before a military invasion takes place. All future wars will have a cyber component, and India needs to prepare for the future, another senior government official has said.

The most recent cyber activity shows targeting capabilities consistent with previous activity tied to the RedEcho attack group, but there are also some distinct features this time around as “cluster” activity is noted.

In addition to targeting Indian power grid assets, the company also identified the commitment of a national emergency response system and the Indian subsidiary of a multinational logistics company. The government has yet to confirm or deny reports of this security compromise, but there is no denying that a threat exists.

According to the report, analyzed by THE WEEK, India’s power grid organizations have been facing continuous attacks by Chinese state-sponsored groups over the past 18 months. While the Chinese government has strongly denied the accusations more than once, the latest reports again draw attention to the vulnerability of India’s critical infrastructure and the need for a nationwide cyber strategy to keep such threats at bay. .

So far, the Indian CERT has also rejected claims of any “successful” cyber attacks targeting the power grid in Mumbai or hitting any of the power dispatch centers in northern India. The Union Ministry of Energy also denied the Mumbai power outage last year. it was caused by a cyber attack, but attempts continue, according to cyber experts.

This has prompted CERT-IN to institute new mechanisms in recent months to sensitize the electricity sector, dispatch and transmission centers, and other critical infrastructure such as telecommunications to bolster their ability to identify and thwart cyber intrusions.

Recorded Future, meanwhile, said the prolonged targeting of Indian power grid assets by Chinese state-linked groups offers limited economic espionage or traditional intelligence opportunities. But, the indication that it is part of a “long-term strategic priority” for Chinese-sponsored threat actors is a concern that cannot be easily dismissed.

“The goal of intrusions may be to gather a greater understanding of complex systems to facilitate the development of capabilities for future use or to gain sufficient access through the system in preparation for future contingency operations,” the report warned.

In February 2021, Recorded Future highlighted the commitment of 10 organizations in the Indian energy sector, four of the five regional freight forwarding hubs, two ports and other operating assets.

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