Indian Hackers Defend State Interests amid Surge in Attacks on Government Entities
Ethical hacking in India has made large strides, but the fears attached with the word ‘hacker’ still seem to be intact. Today, several Indian hackers with programming and coding skills are supporting state interests. Both nation-states and non-state actors with significant capabilities are together shaping India’s cyber threat landscape.
In the wake of new cyber threats, several individual hackers have emerged in different Indian states to support the country’s interests. These interests range from countering internal dissent and challenging established powers through advanced cyber operations, to digital surveillance for gaining financial and other similar advantages.
Throughout time, the continued incidents of cyberattacks have brought the underground community of Indian hackers into the forefront. Pune-based Amit Vikram Tiwari’s case is one such illustration. The Indian hacker rose to prominence during the FBI’s investigation of Romanian Hacker Marcel Lazăr Lehel, popularly known as Global Hacker ‘Guccifer’.
Tiwari, who was the owner of two hacker-for-hire websites – www.hirehacket.net and www.anonymiti.com, offered services for breaking into email accounts for a reasonable price range of $250-$500. He was approached by corporate, individuals and even companies for his services. A data suggests that he hacked into more than 1,000 different accounts. The Indian hacker had clients in the US, Romania and China and accepted payments through Western Union and Paypal.
Likewise, there have been incidents where ethical hackers were hired in India for executing cyber operations. The Indian Cyber Army, an Association of Ethical Hackers & Resource Center, had been set up to meet the long term security challenges faced by the government and agencies in the digital sphere.
The organisation aims to bridge the gap between the latest changes and innovations in cyberspace while reducing cyber crimes and attacks. Over time, the group hacked the Pakistan cyber army’s website and official data, exposing the name, address and details of the workers to the CBI.
Another group called Mallu Cyber Soldiers Hackers Group emerged in 2015 to support the state’s interests. Formed by the union of hackers of Kerala, this group consisted of Indian hackers that shut down hundreds of Pakistani and ISIS websites. Their FB page lists the number of websites hacked by this group.
Likewise, Kerala Cyber Warrior is another group consisting of Indian hackers that aims to keep Indian cyberspace safe and secure. They became majorly active post the 26/11 attack and have hacked more than 700 websites of Pakistan to date.
Hacking-as-a-service (HaaS) has witnessed a surge in India as government, companies and individuals have become the major targets in the past decade. As the perceptions, concept and reasons for hacking are changing, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the Indian hackers could soon become the mainstream of businesses in the country and abroad.