[Exclusive] Most cyber attacks in India from China, Pakistan; hackers exploit Covid-19, emulate PM CARES  |  Photo Credit: IANS
- Cybercriminals send phishing emails in the form of an important Covid-19 update or under the garb of false cure
- As per a recent PwC report, at least a half dozen fake versions of the ‘PM CARES’ site have emerged to target Indians
- Phishing formS 57% of all attacks, followed by malware attacks at 41%, spear-phishing at 30%, DoS at 20% and ransomware at 19%
New Delhi: A recent report claimed that after the face-off between the Indian and the Chinese troops in the Galwan valley along the LAC in Ladakh, India must brace itself for a spell of cyberattacks from Chinese hacker groups.
While the threat may be real, the pattern is not. India is one of the top five most-targeted countries online and most of these cyberattacks originate from six countries mainly namely China, Russia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Vietnam and North Korea. And attacks have been happening over a period of time.
“Typically inbound attacks on India originate from China, Russia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Vietnam and Korea. Our Cyber Protection Center (CPC) has recorded attacks from these countries over a period of time,” Siddharth Vishwanath, Partner and Leader, Cyber Security, PwC India tells ET Now Digital.
Modus operandi of cyberattacks in India
According to a Niti Aayog report, phishing and social engineering attacks form 57% of all followed by malware attacks at 41%, spear-phishing at 30%, DoS at 20% and ransomware at 19%.
While modes might be consistent over time, their themes keep varying, based on what the user is most likely to fall for.
Currently, Covid-19 pandemic is the hackers’ vulnerability of choice. Vishwanath said piggy-backing on the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the cybercriminals sent phishing emails in the form of an important update’ or under the garb of false cure, false advice, false medication to extract money. Such emails can be malware, trojan, or ransomware aiming to launch an organisation-wide attack.
As per the recent PwC report on ‘COVID-19 crisis, the impact of cybersecurity on Indian organisations’, at least a half dozen fake versions of the ‘PM CARES’ site has emerged to target Indians. According to the Home Ministry officials, over 8,000 complaints were received from Indians at home and abroad who had been fooled into donating to spurious portals.
Coronavirus-themed malware-laden spam emails were used to distribute malware and Trojans, especially the Emotet banking Trojan. Phishing emails were designed as communication from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to steal email credentials.
Cyberattack on India Inc
COVID-19-themed phishing emails targeted manufacturing, finance, transportation, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Attacks on banking, defence and manufacturing sectors were also notably at large. As per PwC study, many Indian organizations saw a 100% increase in attacks between 17 and 20 February 2020. Also, there was a 66% increase in detections by endpoint security systems in March 2020 and a 100% increase in brute force attacks in March 2020 on internet exposed systems, Vishwanath added.
The data breaches cost organizations in India roughly between $100 million to $200 million per year. While in 2019, the average cost of data breaches in India stood at $119 million, as per a PwC report.