Mumbai, Mar 02, 2021: The power outage in Mumbai, that had blacked out most of India’s financial capital on 12 October, seems to be turning into a political battle months later, after a report suggested that the reason behind the outage might have been more than just a technical failure.
Following a study by Recorded Future – an intelligence provider for enterprise security – that claimed to reveal details of “a cyber campaign conducted by a China-linked group, named RedEcho,” the power outage by many is being seen as China’s attempt to threaten Indian amid the ongoing stand-off between the two nations.
While the Maharashtra government has launched an investigation into the matter, the Centre has said that there has been no evidence of China’s role in the matter so far.
WHAT THE CENTRE SAYS
Union Power Minister RK Singh, while speaking to CNN-News18, said that while there has been no evidence of a possible Chinese involvement, there have been attempts to hack the cyber systems.
“As far as the Chinese hand is concerned, we don’t have any evidence of a Chinese hand in the Mumbai incident. But there were some cyber attacks or some hacking attempts at some of our load dispatch centres in November. Our teams got wise to the attacks and they informed our centres. Those centres carried out the audits,” Union Power Minister RK Singh told CNN-News18.
“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,” the ministry said.
The ministry further added that prompt actions were being taken by the chief information security officers (CISOs) at all the control centres under operation by POSOCO for any incident/advisory received from various agencies like CERT-in, NCIIPC, CERT-Trans and the likes.
“NCIIPC informed through mail on 12 February about threat by RedEcho through malware Shadow Pad that ’Chinese state-sponsored threat actor group known as RedEcho is targeting Indian Power sector’s Regional Load Dispatch Centres along with State Load Dispatch Centres’,” the ministry added.
WHAT THE MAHARASHTRA GOVERNMENT SAID
After the report was released, the Maharashtra government took cognisance and a preliminary report by the Maharashtra Cyber Cell was submitted to Home Minister Anil Deshmukh by state’s power minister Nitin Raut.
According to Deshmukh, the report’s findings state that there is evidence which suggests there might have been a cyber-sabotage attempt.
“The inquiry report has given an indication that a malware was infected into the MSEB servers. However, we can’t say which county is behind this at this point of time,” Deshmukh said on Monday, as quoted by The Indian Express.
WHAT CHINA SAYS
Responding to comments on China trying to bully India with cyber attacks amid the border tensions, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that such claims were “irresponsible”
In a statement shared by the spokesperson of Chinese Embassy in India on Twitter, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said: “As staunch defender of cyber security, China firmly opposes & cracks down on all forms of cyber attacks. Speculation & fabrication have no role to play on the issue of cyber attacks. Highly irresponsible to accuse a particular party with no sufficient evidence around.”