Indian cyberspace saw a surge of 300% cyber attacks in the year 2020, government reveals in the Parliament.
During the pandemic year, a total of 11,58,208 cyber-attacks were reported across the country. In 2019, 3,94,499 were reported. Many cyber experts believe the increase in the attacks could be credited to the increased online activity during the lockdown in most parts of the country. No further details were provided by the ministry about these cyber attacks.
The data was provided by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In).
The statement by the government comes in wake of the events earlier this month when an American cyber company Recorded Future revealed that a China-backed hacker group targeted India’s power grid and other significant establishments causing a power outage in Mumbai. ShadowPad malware was used in the attack by the pro-Chinese hacker groups.
In a response to a question about the cyberattacks on India’s power grid and vaccine manufacturers the Union minister of state for home affairs, G Kishan Reddy told Parliament, “CERT-In receives inputs from its situational awareness systems and threat intelligence sources about malware infections in networks of entities across sectors. Whenever any incident comes to notice of CERT-In, it issues alerts and advisories to the entities concerned and sectoral CERTs for remedial measures.”
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He also added that regular audit is done of all the government websites and applications to check for any vulnerabilities and threats. It has been a common practice prior to the hosting and after the hosting as well. The central government has also impaneled with cybersecurity organizations for support and implementation of the information security best practices.
Cybercriminals have been looking for newer ways to breach the systems with the increase in cyber activities last year. However, a lack of awareness amongst the common user about phishing, malware attacks, and other cybersecurity practices prompted the attacks. Experts believe that cybercrimes will increase in the coming days as the state and non-state actors get involved.
The Indian government has established a Cyber Crisis Management Plan that will be implemented by all the departments of the Central and State government. Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre) is also established by the Indian government for the detection of any malware and to generate awareness about existing and potential cybersecurity threats. It also provides free tools for malware removal.