india-now-faces-threat-of-chinese-cyberattacks

Context: Cert-In has issued an advisory regarding a possible cyber attack in the country.

Background:

  • Earlier Cyber Security firm Cyfirma has warned about a potential cyberattack from China amidst the border standoff.
  • The company informed CERT-In regarding the possibility of an attack by Chinese government-backed hackers based on inputs received from chat rooms on the Dark web ( part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines).

Earlier Attacks:

  • India has been targeted by Pakistan-backed hackers after the abrogation of Article 370.
  • In 2019, CERT-In informed Parliament that over 24 websites related to central ministries and state governments were hacked till May. 
  • In November 2019, a malware was found on one of the systems of Nuclear Power Corporation of India’s Kudankulam plant, alleged to be linked to North Korean agencies.

Advisory by CERT-In:

  • A potential phishing attack would be carried out for extracting critical information of users via emails, SMS, and messages on social media by proliferating free COVID test messages.
  • It will be done using an ID that will mimic a government organization like "ncov2019@gov.in".
  • Guidelines for users - 
    • Don’t open or click on attachments in unsolicited emails.
    • Don’t submit your critical personal or financial information on unknown websites or links.
    • Encrypt or protect the sensitive document stored in the internet-facing machines to avoid potential leakage.
    • Scan for and remove suspicious email attachments.
    • Ensure the scanned attachment is its “true file type" i.e. the extension matches the file header.
    • Be aware of phishing domain, spelling errors in emails, websites and unfamiliar email senders
    • Beware of emails offering prizes, rewards etc..
    • Use safe browsing tools, filtering tools in your antivirus firewall and update spam filters regularly.
    • Report any unusual activity immediately to incident@cert-in.org.in with relevant logs.

Conclusion:

  • State-backed cyber attacks have become a common weapon of retaliation for powerful countries that do not want to get into physical wars.
  • The Chinese hacker groups are suspected to be involved in recent cyberattacks on Australian servers, post their support for an investigation for finding the origin of COVID-19.
  • Hence India must be extra cautious for protecting its critical infrastructure as other countries' experience shows the scale and extent of the attacks these hackers can pose.

CERT-In:

  • The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team is an office under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. 
  • It was formed in January 2004.
  • It is the nodal agency to deal with cybersecurity threats like hacking and phishing. 
  • It strengthens the security-related defense of the Indian Internet domain.

 

Phishing:

  • It is a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.

Source:

https://www.livemint.com/news/india/india-now-faces-threat-of-chinese-cyberattacks-11592589128323.html

https://www.livemint.com/technology/tech-news/govt-warns-about-phishing-attack-what-you-should-do-to-stay-safe-11592734664122.html

Image Source: Livemint