Chinese Cyber Attacks – UPSC GS3

Chinese Cyber Attacks:
  • U.S. cybersecurity and intelligence firm, Recorded Future has discovered and revealed cyber-intrusion in India by Chinese state-sponsored actors.
  • Chinese state-sponsored actors may have deployed malware into Indian power grids and seaports as border tensions between India and China began escalating.
  • As per the report, an October 12 grid failure in Mumbai may have been caused by the Chinese malware.
Indian Government Stand:
  • Indian government declared that the State-sponsored Chinese hacker groups targeted various Indian power centres.
  • These attacks have been blocked after government cyber agencies warned them about their activities.
  • It also confirmed that no data breach/data loss has been detected due to these incidents.
  • Officials said they had been warned by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s (MeitY’s) Cyber Emergency Response Team (India) (CERT-in) about the threat from a malware called “ShadowPad” in November 2020, and by the NTRO’s National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) in February 2021, of the threats, weeks before the Recorded Future report was released.
Possible evidences of China’s cyber warfare:
  • Surveillance of Indian Individuals:
    • A China-based technology company, Zhenhua Data Information Technology was monitoring over 10,000 Indian individuals. These individuals include politicians, judges, industrialists, bureaucrats among others.
    • Its aim was to collect information about relevant people and track research papers, articles, patents, and their recruitment positions.
  • ShadowPad Malware:
    • In February 2021, a US-based cyber company had published a report about the Chinese group called Red Echo. The report mentioned that Red Echo was using malware called ShadowPad to target India’s power sector.
    • The Ministry of Power has also confirmed the attempts of this ShadowPad malware in the power sector.
    • However, there was no data breach/data loss had been detected so far. Further, the government has also taken action against the threats observed.
  • Stone Panda:
    • A US-based cyber group has informed about a Chinese hacking group Stone Panda. They informed that the Stone Panda is targeting the IT infrastructure of Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India(SII).
    • These companies have developed Covaxin and Covishield. These vaccines are currently being used in the national vaccination campaign against COVID-19.
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