Indian cyber offensive

As the investigation and security sector is rapidly evolving, the threats of data breaches have increased two-folds. Today, protection against cybercrime has become an urgent necessity for developing countries like India. The government is now keeping a check on Indian offensive cyber capabilities.

In the wake of the 2020 Mumbai Grid Attack and the 2019 malware attack on the country’s nuclear power plant, India is now discussing a plan to create a power islanding system in several cities. The aim is to protect the critical infrastructure such as the electricity grid from potential cyberattacks by the adversaries.

The process of digiatlising the global power grid has made it more and more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Hence, the islanding systems are a better option, for they feature generation capacity and have the ability to separate the main grid from the other smaller grids in case of an outage. This will help in halting the growing cyberattacks on the critical infrastructures.

Meanwhile, smart microgrids that run on a mix of battery and rooftop solar power and can isolate smaller areas, commercial and industrial complexes, etc. during the power outage, would also do the trick.

A study shows that Indian offensive cyber capabilities have made a modest progress. Despite being a third-tier country, it also has potential strengths in some parameters as compared to the other countries.

As per a UK think tank, India’s major fight is against Pakistan, rather than China. The India-Pakistan conflict is decades old. Pakistan has launched disinformation campaigns to denigrate India internationally over the ongoing conflicts in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and the government’s treatment of Muslims. It even played an important role in the ongoing farmers’ protest, to create a sentiment of fear in India.

Prominent Twitter handles were trying to infuse a pro-Khalistan campaign, while using the Indian names for the conspiracy. Nearly, 308 Twitter handles that originated out of Pakistan and were trying to mislead the protesters and create a situation of law and order, were caught by Indian officers.

To curb the influence and growing dissatisfaction amongst people regarding the government and Sikh separatist movement, Indian group APT C-35 was brought into action. The group used mobile baits that counterfeited into Sikhism, and even attacked Pakistan on multiple occasions. They used an EHDevel malicious code framework to attack the adversaries.

Similarly, Srivastava Group of India also played an important role in targeting Pakistan through social media disinformation campaigns. Malware attacks on the adversaries were launched by Indian private actors such as Aglaya, Phronesis, and Dark Basin etc.

India knows that it faces major cyber threats from China, also known to be the world’s biggest digital adversary. As a result, the country is now working on developing a cybersecurity policy, while aiming to compensate for its weaknesses by partnering with the global players in offensive cyber building.

The APT C-35 group not only attacked the Pakistani businessmen in China, but also posed a huge threat to China’s interference in the internal matters of India. These Indian groups have raised the bar for the sophistication of attacks as the country continues to invest in the cyber operations to get ahead of its adversaries.

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