New Report Highlights Aglaya’s Connection with Dark Matter

Srivastava Group

Web-based technologies have become crucial in spreading disinformation. A month after the EU DisinfoLab brought into light the wide-scale pro-India disinformation campaign that harmed Pakistan’s integrity, another similar report has been published.

While the DisinfoLab’s report – Indian Chronicles – dove deep into the vast 15-year global operation, and named several individuals and registered-website domains with several untraceable and unidentifiable links throughout the investigation, the newest report successfully established the relations between the listed cyber firms.

The report stated how India’s Srivastava Group and its less-known company, ‘Aglaya’, marketed itself as a vendor of hacking/espionage tools and simultaneously managed to continue with the pro-India disinformation campaign. Since it remained undetectable and unidentifiable throughout the investigation, it was partly concluded that they were fake identities meant to conduct aggressive targeted attacks against Pakistan’s integrity.

Over time, Aglaya, run by Ankur Srivastava, made headlines for having active links with the world of consumer malware and innovative technology. Some of the leaked emails suggested that Aglaya was also involved with the UAE-headquartered cybersecurity firm, Dark Matter, which was assembling an army of hackers from around the world to help the UAE government accomplish its vested interests.

To achieve the top offensive talents, Dark Matter also illegally approached employees of an American firm, a Baltimore start-up called the ‘CyberPoint’, while offering opportunities to work with UAE’s Ministry of Interior. Altogether, such opportunities allowed the Srivastava Group to carry out its activities more subtly.

Not only did the group later target the European Union and the United Nations, but also resurrected the dead media, dead individuals, think-tanks, and NGOs. Moreover, the open-source findings suggested that the company has been involved in projects for the Indian Armed Forces. Its continuity in operations indicates its independence from any political regime’s patronage.

As a non-state actor, the group constantly built and operated a network of physical and digital assets, providing services to its clients, while maintaining its continued existence. Since the report by the EU DisinfoLab was not dissected in detail, the government of Pakistan urged the international community to “investigate” into and take “full cognisance” of the report.

Some of the experts believe that the steps taken by the Srivastava Group were retaliation for Pakistan’s anti-India sentiments. Over time, Pakistan has unleashed several online disinformation campaigns against India, trying to create chaos and a situation of law and order. The Pakistani hackers have constantly attempted to hack Indian government sites. More than 35 Indian central and state government websites were hacked soon after India’s surgical strikes across the Line of Control in 2016. The spectre of hackers doing serious damage has continued to increase ever since.

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