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Chinese cyberattack on power grid near Ladakh; hackers failed, says minister: Report Chinese Cyber Attack

Chinese cyberattack on power grid near Ladakh; hackers failed, says minister: Report

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 07 Apr 2022, 05:05 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: The government has said Chinese state-sponsored cyber attacks on India's electricity distribution centres were not successful after private intelligence firm Recorded Future reported repeated intrusions in the past eight months, media reports said.

  ''In recent months, we observed likely network intrusions targeting at least seven Indian State Load Despatch Centres (SLDCs) responsible for carrying out real-time operations for grid control and electricity dispatch within these respective states. Notably, this targeting has been geographically concentrated, with the identified SLDCs located in North India, in proximity to the disputed India-China border in Ladakh," the group said, according to NDTV.

According to the report, the attack took place August last year and March.

"In addition to the targeting of power grid assets, we also identified the compromise of a national emergency response system and the Indian subsidiary of a multinational logistics company by the same threat activity group," Recorded Future said, NDTV quoted.

The group said they alerted the government before publishing the report.

"Two attempts by Chinese hackers were made to target electricity distribution centres near Ladakh but were not successful... We've already strengthened our defence system to counter such cyber attacks," Power Minister RK Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Recorded Future is an intelligence firm, considered to be among the world's largest with a specialisation in identifying threats from state-sponsored hackers, the report said.

The firm found that the Chinese hackers were trying to gather information surrounding critical infrastructure systems.

''Given the continued targeting of State and Regional Load Despatch Centres in India over the past 18 months, first from RedEcho and now in this latest TAG-38 activity, this targeting is likely a long-term strategic priority for select Chinese state-sponsored threat actors active within India," it said.

''The prolonged targeting of Indian power grid assets by Chinese state-linked groups offers limited economic espionage or traditional intelligence-gathering opportunities. We believe this targeting is instead likely intended to enable information-gathering surrounding critical infrastructure systems or is pre-positioning for future activity," it added.

''The objective for intrusions may include gaining an increased understanding into these complex systems in order to facilitate capability development for future use or gaining sufficient access across the system in preparation for future contingency operations," Recorded Future said.

In February last year, the group said it had reported the breach of 10 distinct Indian power sector organisations that included four of the five Regional Load Despatch Centres (RLDC), two ports, a large generation operator, and other operational assets, the group stated.

''Recorded Future continues to track Chinese state-sponsored activity groups targeting a wide variety of sectors globally... However, the coordinated effort to target Indian power grid assets in recent years is notably distinct from our perspective and, given the continued heightened tension and border disputes between the two countries, we believe is a cause for concern," it said.