GT investigates: Hacking China’s medical institutes at COVID-19 outbreak, targeting aerospace firms during China’s space missions – Cyberattacks from India disclosed

Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

Evil flower in South Asia, lure of beauty, ghost war elephants roaming the Himalayas … To many people, these fantastic code names could only be heard in thrilling hacker movies. 

It turns out that they are real groups from India with possible intelligence background and state support. Investigations conducted by several of China’s leading cybersecurity companies have revealed a sophisticated network: they have constantly attacked defense and military units as well as state-owned enterprises in China, Nepal and Pakistan over the past few years, and such attacks are on the rise under new disguises of international trendy topics. 

These groups are normally known as Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) organizations made up of hackers with government support which focuses on persistent network attacks against specific targets. APT organizations are spread in the world, with many having been active in attacks against key infrastructure and government departments for years. 

Chinese cybersecurity analysts and diplomatic relations observers often mention that the next world war will be fought not on the ground, or in the air or under water, but virtually in the cyberspace. 

China has been victims of cyberattacks for many years and the rising attacks from India once again revealed the severity of the situation and the urgency to speed up building of a cybersecurity safeguard system.

Cyberattacks from South Asian regions, mainly India, target China's key industries. Graphic: Feng Qingyin/GT

Cyberattacks from South Asian regions, mainly India, target China’s key industries. Graphic: Feng Qingyin/GT

Accurate attacks with varying tactics 

India is a country that might be overlooked as a threat by the world intelligence community. Even other countries in South Asia may not be fully aware of its advanced cyber capabilities. 

“Since March, we have detected several phishing activities targeting government, defense and military units, as well as state-owned enterprises in China, Pakistan, and Nepal,” Antiy Labs, one of China’s renowned cybersecurity companies, said in a statement sent to the Global Times. 

The organization behind the attacks is from India and its activities can be traced back to as early as April 2019. So far, more than 100 phishing counterfeit websites created by the…