In a high profile cyber security threat, Chinese hackers reportedly broke into a top secret video meeting conducted by the Indian government and held it hostage for about 4-5 minutes. According to a report by the Indian Express, it could be neutralised only after a counter-offensive was launched by the Indian cyber security systems.
The link was traced by an Indian cyber patrolling team. It is, however, yet to be determined whether the cyber insurgence was conducted by state forces or international cyber criminals were involved in this. Inside sources, speaking to Express, said, "The message from the hackers was clear: they could turn the tap anytime they want due to our lax cyber security apparatus. The way Chinese hackers hooked up to the most sophisticated and secret link is shocking and shows they could easily exploit vulnerabilities and disrupt critical infrastructure."
The Intelligence Bureau, India's domestic spy agency, which has warned the government against increasing instances of cyber espionage, in a note, reportedly said, "There is no let-up in targeting of a large number of Indian computers for data pilferage. Whereas government has taken several steps to address security concerns emanating from cyberspace, sources of threats to Indian cyberspace have become varied and unrelenting."
It is also being said that the digital platforms and e-services offered by the state and the central government are at high risk of being subjected to cybersecurity threat. A senior government officer said over 8,000 portals and websites of Central ministries and state governments are at high risk of being exposed to attackers. It is to be noted that according to the PMO's note all benefits and subsidy payments by the Centre and the States should be routed through the JAM platform (Jan Dhan Accounts, Aadhaar Identification and Mobile) by the end of 2018.
According to inside sources, post this threat, around seven ministries- Law, Labour, HRD, MEA, Heavy Industries and Public enterprises- will be conducting a mock drill to test the security net on their assets. This is likely to be held on Dec 8.