Refuting reports stating that China had initiated cyber attacks against India’s power grid resulting in massive power outages, Beijing on Monday claimed that it is ‘firmly opposed’ to such irresponsible and ill-intentioned practices.Speaking at a press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, “As a staunch defender of cyber security, China firmly opposes and cracks down on all forms of cyber attacks.”
“Speculation and fabrication have no role to play on the issue of cyber attacks, as it is very difficult to trace the origin of a cyber attack. It is highly irresponsible to accuse a particular party when there is no sufficient evidence around, China is firmly opposed to such irresponsible and ill-intentioned practice,” Wang added.
A report by a US-based cybersecurity firm claimed that Chinese-state sponsored groups, had targeted the power sector in India with malware. This came months after the clash between troops of the two nations in Galwan valley in June 2020.
The New York Times had on Sunday published a report based on the findings of the report.
According to the NYT report, the new study lent weight to the idea that the Mumbai blackout could be a “part of a broad Chinese cyber campaign against India’s power grid, timed to send a message that if India pressed its claims too hard, the lights could go out across the country.”
The Massachusetts-based cybersecurity company Recorded Future’s study reported that a Chinese state-sponsored group has been seen systematically utilising advanced cyber intrusion techniques to gain access to nearly a dozen critical nodes across the Indian power generation and transmission infrastructure.“Since early 2020, Recorded Future’s Insikt Group observed a large increase in suspected targeted intrusion activity against Indian organizations from Chinese state-sponsored groups, the study said.
“From mid-2020 onwards, Recorded Future’s midpoint collection revealed a steep rise in the use of infrastructure tracked as AXIOMATICASYMPTOTE, which encompasses ShadowPad command and control (C2) servers, to target a large swathe of India’s power sector,” the report said.
According to the report, ten distinct Indian power sector organizations, including four of the five Regional Load Despatch Centres (RLDC) responsible for the operation of the power grid through balancing electricity supply and demand, have been identified as targets in a concerted campaign against India’s critical infrastructure. Other identified targets include two Indian seaports.