CyberCure – Special focus – India

This podcast transcript will give you a summary of the latest news related to cyber intelligence and proactive cyber security in only a few minutes.

In this podcast we will focus on India, India had series of public incidents that might show signs for bigger things happening behind the scenes.

In November 2019 An Indian nuclear power plant suffered a cyber attack. 

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited has confirmed that there was a cyber attack on Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu, India, in September. 

A nuclear power plant with large smoke stack and high power lines.

The nuclear power plant’s administrative network was breached in the attack, but did not cause any critical damage. 

officials had initially denied suffering an attack and officially stated that “Indian nuclear power plants are stand alone and not connected to outside cyber network and internet. Any cyber attack on the Nuclear Power Plant Control System is not possible.”

Investigation by India’s Department of Atomic Energy revealed that a user had connected a malware-infected personal computer to the plant’s administrative network which is disconnected from the operational network that controls the physical devices. 

gorgeous India flag painted on a wood plank texture

This physical isolation of a computer or a local network from the Internet to prevent any outside breach is called an “air gap.” However, this security strategy can leave a nuclear plant quite vulnerable. The statement that was first made either reflects a complacency about the cyber security of Indian nuclear power plants or ignorance of its network’s vulnerabilities.

Air-gapped nuclear facilities can be attacked. Air gaps can be effective against unsophisticated and untargeted cyber threats – but not against targeted attacks.

Some researchers suggest that the attack was caused by a variant of virus, developed by the North Korea-linked Lazarus group. 

India maintains good diplomatic and economic relations with North Korea, so if Pyongyang did sponsor the attack, expect a diplomatic fallout.

While the attack did not cause any critical systems damage or, apparently, affect the reactors, it was revealed that India’s cyber defenses are based on outdated principles like the air gap strategy. officials’ early denials suggested a sense of complacency about cyber defense, which means India’s critical infrastructure is vulnerable to attack.

Not only NASA have problems with cyber attacks.

In September 2019 an Indian spaceship crashed on the moon.

India’s space research agency was warned of a cyber attack in the middle of the landmark moon mission as part of a broader assault by suspected North Korean hackers, cyber security consultants with data on the incidents said.

The space research organisation was one of at least five critical government agencies, including India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, to have been attacked in recent months, security experts claims.

People associated with the agencies opened phishing emails sent by the hackers, potentially unleashing malware into their systems.

Once again agency officials said its core systems were isolated from the attack. “We have an internal network which is 100 percent isolated from the internet,” the official said.

Also in the space agency officials are counting on Air gap strategy to provide them with full protection against cyber attacks without considering the weaknesses of such strategy.

Might it be the crash of the spaceship to the moon was not an accident but an incident ? Is one of India allies is standing behind this cyber attacks ?

proving cyber attacks that are originating from North Korea can be tricky, 

North korea goes great deal hiding its cyber offensive activities.

Like in other stories we cover, there is much unknown and its up to you to decide where the truth is.

That’s it for this podcast, stay safe and see you in the next podcast.

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