Indian government organisations such as Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) and National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) have reported that Chinese hackers have attempted to infiltrate the countrys cyberspace after troops from the two neighbours disengaged from Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh.
NCIIPC’s Threat Assessment group has identified Emissary Panda, also known as APT-27, which is a China-based threat actor that targets foreign embassies for stealing data related to technology, government and defence sectors.
The hackers were attempting to steal data and disrupt the power supply in the state. The attempt was successfully thwarted because CERT-IN has issued an alert and subsequently GENCO blocked the suspected IP addresses and changed the user credentials of all officials operating remotely as precautionary measure, as reported by the local media.
India’s response to these cyber-attacks has been restrained, and in the short term can be considered rational. Attribution remains a problem in the cyber domain, since the Chinese government has repeatedly denied responsibility for these actions.
Unlike with the use of conventional weapons that are the domain of the country’s military, the government can deny its connection to hackers that makes threat of escalation risky.
Another preventative measure put in place is aimed at developing indigenous microprocessors and reducing the dependence on the country’s import of military software.