cyber attacks: Chinese hackers step up attacks on Indian shores–Economic Times–08.08.2017

A leading Indian infrastructure company recently discovered to its dismay that its IT systems were compromised, with hackers gaining remote access to some of the most sensitive information for a fairly long period of time.

While no official complaint has been made by the company, the attack might just be proverbial tip of the iceberg, and cyber-security experts engaged by the firm say Chinese hackers were behind the breach. Several Indian companies and some government institutions have seen an increase in cyber attacks originating in China, say industry trackers.

Like in the case of the infrastructure company, these attacks are often carried out through difficult to-trace proxy servers in North Korea, Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia. Unlike a normal attack, the Chinese breaches tend to exploit vulnerabilities of Indian IT systems and “just observe.”

Experts say some of the sectors, including India’s defence industries, may be vulnerable against such attacks. Often, many Indian companies and government institutions aren’t even aware of the hack unless they rope in a cyber expert to conduct an investigation. They also lack proper operating procedures, such as examining employees of defence or public sector units.“Often, cyber attacks originating from neighbouring countries are relayed through VPN and proxy servers in eastern Europe, Africa, North Korea and Russia. These attacks are very sophisticated, well planned and targeted toward specific sectors and companies,” said Amit Jaju, partner of EY’s forensic technology & discovery services.

“While China, Pakistan and Iran have dedicated teams of cyber hackers (with immunity), it would be difficult to pinpoint in today’s world where the cyber-attack emanated from. All the modern machines – aircraft, warships, tanks and cars – run on cyber technology.

The power generation and distribution grids, banking as well as oil and communication industries are the most vulnerable today against potential attacks,” said D Sivanandhan, former Director General of Police, Maharashtra.

Some experts believe that Chinese hackers may even use social media platforms, such as Facebook, to create, change and manipulate opinions of Indians just as they do domestically.

“The fear is not only that hackers would obtain information illegally or access defence data but also that they may manipulate public opinion….through a targeted propaganda over social media and other modes of mass communication,” said Tushar Ajinkya, Partner, DSK Legal.

via cyber attacks: Chinese hackers step up attacks on Indian shores

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