A Pakistan based cyber security firm has been stealing crucial government and defence information from India, according to a recent report.
IT firm FireEye stated that Pakistan based Tranchulas cyber security firm, has been helping Pakistani government prepare for cyber warfare and has been sending malicious emails to Indian government officials. The firm used terms like 'Devyani Khobragade’, ‘Salary hike for government employees’, and Sarabjit Singh’ in the subject line to entice government officials to open these mails.
Once the attachment was opened, a malware would infect the computers and collect data and send it back to the attackers. The firm used a Pakistani based virtual service provider- VPSNOC, which leased US hosting services to control the attacks. FireEye has reported the information after a thorough two year long investigation.
However, the Indian government, is denying any suspicious activity or prior knowledge about these attacks. Dr. Gulshan Rai, director-general of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (ICERT) stated, “It is incorrect. We have only seen cases of website hacking. However, they hold only public data.”
A senior officer from the Indian intelligence bureau has however agreed that they were under cyber threat. He said on condition of anonymity, “We have seen many such attacks targeting Indian government and defence establishments, but in cyber space it is very hard to ascertain the actual source.”
Manish Gupta, senior vice president at FireEye said in a statement, “They are essentially penetrating Indian government accounts to find out what the Indian government is up to. They are also targeting defence organizations. Some of the things that could be important to them could be what kind of weapons does India have, where are these weapons deployed, how many people are deployed in these regions, what is the organization structure, are there any military exercises planned.”
India has been trying to improve its cyber defence capabilities after the Snowden leaks about NSA surveillance. According to reports, Cyber attacks on Indian websites have increased by 40 percent in the last 2 years. The Indian government has taken measures to improve security and has launched its own secure servers earlier this month.