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China-backed hackers plan cyber attack on Indian government agencies, companies

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on June 19, 2020 Published on June 19, 2020

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Government agencies, media houses and large companies in India may potentially be the target of a cyberattack by hacking groups with links to China, according to reports.

A cybersecurity firm Cyfirma has warned against a potential cyberattack from hacking groups in China in retaliation for the violent clashes between armed forces in India and China earlier this week, LiveMint reported.

The firm has gathered information based on conversations happening on the dark web. The dark web is a part of the internet that is used for multiple illicit activities as it is not indexed by search engines and activities on the dark web are often hard to trace.

Cyfirma had observed conversations on Chinese hacker forums in Mandarin and Cantonese s about “teaching a lesson to India,” about 9 to 10 days ago, the report said.

The conversations named several media houses that have been critical of the Chinse Army apart from other major Indian companies and several government agencies.

The firm traced the list back to their sources and found links to two hacking groups, Gothic Panda and Stone Pand. These groups are known to have a direct affiliation to PLA (People’s Liberation Army), the firm said as per the report.

The firm has reported the same to India’s cybersecurity agency, the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and the companies whose names were on the list, the report said.

Amid the ongoing India-China tensions, Indian intelligence agencies have also red-flagged 52 mobile apps with ‘links to China’ over security concerns according to a report by the Hindustan Times.

According to the agencies, these apps end up extracting a large amount of data from Indian users and send it to servers outside the country raising cybersecurity concerns, the report said.

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Published on June 19, 2020
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