Amid concerns over rising Chinese hacker attacks on India's critical infrastructure, Telangana electricity officials received alerts from the Central Electricity Authority about a Chinese-origin malware entering about 40 sub-stations and thwarted the purported cyber attack on time.
The CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team), after an authentic information received from a trusted source, alerted Telangana state electricity officials concerned to take preventive measures as a Chinese-based threat group command and control servers were trying to establish communication with Telangana SLDC, The Times of India reported, adding the malware had already entered 40 sub-stations.
The Telangana SLDC, which manages power supply in the state, said the state agencies immediately sprung into action and removed all malware in these substations after the alert from the central agency. The state officials have strengthened the firewall. Servers IPs that tried to establish content were blocked by the SLCD, while temporarily suspending remote operation.
"Telangana is one among seven states that Chinese hackers tried to communicate with the power systems," Telangana Tansco and Genco Chairman and MD D Prabhakar Rao told the daily.Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Company had also faced a similar malware attack in April 2019. The latest cyber attack comes amid heightened concerns over a significant rise in Chinese trying to hack Indian facilities.
A report by Recorded Future, a Massachusetts-based company that studies threats to the internet by state actors, has said a Chinese threat group called 'RedEcho' targeted Indian power sector facilities. It also said that a massive power outage in Mumbai in 2020 could also have been the result of the Chinese cyber campaign.
Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut also said the blackout in Mumbai last year was "carried out by Chinese hackers". "10 distinct Indian power sector organisations, including 4 of the 5 Regional Load Despatch Centres (RLDC) 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 included 2 Indian seaports," the Recorded Future report said.