Chinese hackers are planning attacks on Indian telecom, pharma companies
Amid heightened border tensions between India and China, hackers associated with the latter are gearing up to target critical Indian establishments. According to a report from cyber intelligence firm Cyfirma, they are planning cyberattacks against organizations across multiple strategic sectors, including pharma, telecom, and media, as well as several government-owned websites. Here's all you need to know about it.
Increased discussions to "teach India a lesson"
Speaking to Moneycontrol, Cyfirma's founder Kumar Ritesh revealed that the discussions on "the border situation and teaching India a lesson" have increased in Chinese hacking communities in the last week. The researchers at the company scoured through these communities and found that hacking groups have been primarily talking about targeting Indian government's websites, media, telecom companies, pharma companies, and smartphones, construction, and tire companies.
Several big names are being targeted
Ritesh said that a "target list" of companies is doing round on the dark web forums and it mentions several big names, including media houses like The Times of India, Republic TV, NDTV, Hindustan Times, X-TV, Aaj Tak and Dainik Jagran. Among others, the list mentions Reliance Jio, BSNL, Airtel, Cipla, Sun Pharmaceutical, Micromax, Intex Technologies, MRF Tires, Apollo Tires, and L&T.
These government sites could also be targeted
Along with the companies, the list mentions the websites of Ministry of Foreign affairs, Ministry of Defense, and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as the prime targets for cyber-attacks.
Two China-sponsored groups could carry out the attacks
The Cyfirma report suggests two hacker groups, Gothic panda and Stone panda, could carry out the attacks. Both are known to have close ties with the People's Liberation Army. As for the type of attacks, Ritesh explained, "Cybercriminals are looking at the defacement of websites using weaknesses in the web application, data exfiltration, denial of service, impersonating companies' website and launching malicious phishing campaign."
This comes as India continues to boycott Chinese products
The risk of cyber-attack comes as calls to boycott Chinese products continue to surge following the martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers during the Galwan Valley clash on Monday night. Reportedly, DoT has asked BSNL to not use Chinese equipment, Confederation of All India Traders has announced to boycott 3,000 Chinese products, and Indian Railways has also terminated a contract awarded to a Chinese firm.