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Updated March 2nd, 2021 at 10:54 IST

China rages as US report accuses it of cyber attack on India's power grid; mum on RedEcho

China has refuted reports that it had initiated cyber attacks against India's power grid and also claimed that it is 'firmly opposed' to such practices.

Jay Pandya
China
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China on Monday refuted reports that it had initiated cyber attacks against India's power grid resulting in massive power outages and also claimed that it is 'firmly opposed' to such irresponsible and ill-intentioned practices. Recorded Future, a Massachusetts-based company that studies the use of the Internet by state actors, in its recent report details the campaign conducted by a China-linked threat activity group RedEcho targeting the Indian power sector.

'China a staunch defender of cybersecurity'

This has raised suspicion whether last year's massive power outage in Mumbai was a result of the online intrusion. The activity was identified through a combination of large-scale automated network traffic analytics and expert analysis, PTI reported. 

Speaking at a press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, "As a staunch defender of cybersecurity, 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."

In New Delhi, the Ministry of Power on Monday said there is no impact on operations of Power System Operation Corporation (POSOCO) due to any malware attack and that prompt actions are taken on advisories issued against such threats. Responding to the findings of the study, the ministry said, "There is no impact on any of the functionalities carried out by POSOCO due to the referred threat. No data breach/ data loss has been detected due to these incidents."

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It further said, "Prompt actions are being taken by the CISOs (chief information security officers) at all these control centres under operation by POSOCO for any incident/advisory received from various agencies like CERT-in, NCIIPC, CERT-Trans etc."

The CERT-in (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) is the nodal agency to deal with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing. However, the ministry did not mention the Mumbai outage in its statement. On October 12, a grid failure in Mumbai resulted in massive power outages, stopping trains on tracks, hampering those working from home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and hitting the economic activity hard.

The New York Times, in a report, said that the discovery raises the question about whether the Mumbai outage was meant as a message from Beijing about what might happen if India pushed its border claims too vigorously. The US company's report came as the armies of the two countries began disengagement of troops locked in over an eight-month-long standoff in eastern Ladakh.

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(With agency inputs)

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Published March 2nd, 2021 at 10:54 IST

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