Mumbai suffered a massive power outage in October, which stopped trains and shut down hospitals for hours at the peak of the Covid crisis.
According to a report by New York Times, a new study has said that China may have targeted power facilities across India last year in the middle of hostilities at the border. Mumbai suffered a massive power outage in October, which stopped trains and shut down hospitals for hours at the peak of the Covid crisis. the outage, as per the report, may have been linked to these activities by a Chinese threat activity group, which the government has been informed about.
China-linked threat activity group RedEcho, according to the report, targeted the Indian power sector and the activity was identified through a combination of large-scale automated network traffic analytics and expert analysis. It said that he links to the Mumbai power cut “provides additional evidence suggesting the coordinated targeting of Indian Load Despatch Centres”.
Alongside the Ladakh tensions, which escalated in June with the clash at Galwan Valley in which 20 Indian soldiers died, Chinese malware was flowing into systems that manage power supply across India.
Recorded Future, a US-based company that studies the use of the internet by state actors, pieced the flow of malware together. Most of the malware was never activated, it found out. And because Recorded Future could not get inside India’s power systems, it could not examine the details of the code itself, which was placed in strategic power-distribution systems across the country.
The report said that since early 2020, Recorded Future’s Insikt Group observed a large increase in suspected targeted intrusion activity against Indian organisations from Chinese state-sponsored groups.
“From mid-2020, Recorded Future’s midpoint collection revealed a steep rise in the use of infrastructure tracked as AXIOMATICASYMPTOTE, which encompasses ShadowPad command and control servers, to target a large swathe of India’s power sector. 10 distinct Indian power sector organisations, including four of the five regional load dispatch centres 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 targets identified include two Indian seaports,” the report stated.
Recorded Future said that there was a “clear and consistent pattern of Indian organizations being targeted in this campaign through the behavioural profiling of network traffic to adversary infrastructure”.
A total of 21 IP addresses linked to 12 Indian organizations in the power generation and transmission sector – classified as critical — were targeted.
The report says that media reports had previously linked the October power outage in Mumbai to malware at a Padgha-based State Load Despatch Centre. “At this time, the alleged link between the outage and the discovery of the unspecified malware variant remains unsubstantiated. However, this disclosure provides additional evidence suggesting the coordinated targeting of Indian Load Despatch Centres,” said the report.
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