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Our cyber exposure

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Our banks, stock exchanges, nuclear installations and the like mustn’t find themselves in Chinese crosshairs. We need fortification

On 12 October 2020, Mumbai suffered its worst blackout in decades, disrupting hospitals, railway services, businesses, and even college exams. All this while, the reason was thought to be a grid failure caused by “technical problems" during maintenance work. Now, a much more sinister design has been revealed.

On 12 October 2020, Mumbai suffered its worst blackout in decades, disrupting hospitals, railway services, businesses, and even college exams. All this while, the reason was thought to be a grid failure caused by “technical problems" during maintenance work. Now, a much more sinister design has been revealed.

According to a report put out by US-based Recorded Future, which analyses internet use by state actors, that snap-off was the handiwork of a China-sponsored cyber-attack group called Red Echo, which penetrated about a dozen “critical nodes" across our power grid; it was an e-salvo fired at India in the wake of border hostilities in Ladakh some four months earlier. This is shocking. It exposes glaring gaps in our vigilance. Not only were Chinese agents able to target our critical infrastructure, the breach went either undetected or undisclosed. Either way, the government cannot afford to take this lightly. It should review our cyber-defences and assure us that it is working against such external threats. Our banks, stock exchanges, nuclear installations and the like mustn’t find themselves in Chinese crosshairs. We need fortification.

According to a report put out by US-based Recorded Future, which analyses internet use by state actors, that snap-off was the handiwork of a China-sponsored cyber-attack group called Red Echo, which penetrated about a dozen “critical nodes" across our power grid; it was an e-salvo fired at India in the wake of border hostilities in Ladakh some four months earlier. This is shocking. It exposes glaring gaps in our vigilance. Not only were Chinese agents able to target our critical infrastructure, the breach went either undetected or undisclosed. Either way, the government cannot afford to take this lightly. It should review our cyber-defences and assure us that it is working against such external threats. Our banks, stock exchanges, nuclear installations and the like mustn’t find themselves in Chinese crosshairs. We need fortification.

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