Amid the ongoing tensions between India and China at LAC, the government has warned against a large-scale cyberattack on individuals and businesses by hacking groups with links to China. According to the Cert-In, India's national nodal agency for cybersecurity, the hackers may use COVID-19 related directives to carry out large-scale phishing attacks on government organisations, media houses and individuals and steal sensitive personal data and financial information.
"The phishing campaign is expected to use malicious emails under the pretext of local authorities in charge of dispensing government-funded Covid-19 support initiatives. Such emails are designed to drive recipients towards fake websites where they are deceived into downloading malicious files or entering personal and financial information," CERT-In said in a statement.
While the government has said that the attacks will be carried out by "malicious actors", a cybersecurity firm Cyfirma said that the potential cyber attack will be attempted by Chinese hackers in retaliation to the recent violent clashes between Indian and Chinese soldiers at the LAC.
China has a history of orchestrating cyber attacks on other nations. On Saturday, Australia has accused China of a cyber-attack allegedly to avenge the banning of Huawei from the country's 5G network and the international probe against Beijing over coronavirus origin. Australian PM Scott Morrison said that sophisticated "state-based" hack targeted critical infrastructure and all levels of government. The attack has come days after China warned Australia.
Below are some of the incidents of hacking allegedly committed by China
1. In May this year, US officials had claimed that hackers linked to the Chinese government attempted to steal Washington's research into a coronavirus vaccine.
2. In the same month, Chinese hackers allegedly conducted a phishing attack against Vietnamese government officials involved in ongoing territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea.
3. In May 2020, a suspected PLA hacking group carried out a massive cyber attack on government-owned companies, foreign affairs ministries, and science and technology ministries in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Brunei.
4. In March this year, Chinese hackers targeted more than 75 organizations across the world as as part of a large-scale cyber espionage campaign.
5. In May 2013, China hackers stole blueprints to the headquarters of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
6. In 2011, Canadian government claimed that Chinese hackers compromised several departments within the federal government. In 2014, Chinese hackers targeted computer systems within the National Research Council.
7. China has also carried out a cyber attack on the Indian National Security Council. The hackers used botnets, a hacking tool used by Chinese hackers.