Report: China Launches Sustained Cyberattack Against India

Top government leaders told NPR that federal agencies are years behind where they could have been if Chinese cybertheft had been openly addressed earlier. Bill Hinton Photography/Getty Images
Bill Hinton Photography/Getty Images

A report at the Hindustan Times on Thursday claimed China is conducting a sustained cyberattack against India as part of the showdown between the two nations that left dozens of soldiers dead in a bloody hand-to-hand battle along the disputed border in Ladakh this week.

According to the Hindustan Times, hackers from the Chinese city of Chengdu, headquarters of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military cyber-warfare unit, are launching distributed denial of service attacks (DDOS) against India’s information and financial infrastructure. The targets include government websites and banks, which would be overwhelmed and forced to shut down by DDOS attacks.

“The attacks began on Tuesday and continued through Wednesday, said people aware of the developments, but they largely proved unsuccessful,” the report said.

A cybersecurity company called Cyfirma warned on Thursday that Chinese hackers are planning cyberattacks against several sectors of the Indian economy, including telecom, media, construction, automotives, and pharmaceuticals. Indian government agencies, including the Ministry of Defense, were also reportedly targeted.

Cyfirma analysts claimed they have monitored online conversations between Chinese hackers about “the border situation” and their desire to “teach India a lesson.” The analysts claimed these hackers belonged to two groups known to work for the PLA.

The Indian Department of Telecom on Thursday advised Indian telecom providers to avoid contact with Chinese companies and prohibit the use of Chinese-built devices on their wireless networks. India’s intelligence community on Thursday published a list of smartphone apps linked to China that were deemed unsafe because they surreptitiously collect data on uses and transmit the information out of the country.

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