Defence forces on alert after Chinese cyber attack

What is alarming for security agencies is that cyber attack was carried out from China’s People’s Liberation Army HQ.

Published: 12th June 2016 09:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2016 09:20 AM   |  A+A-


NEW DELHI: A cyber attack on government and commercial organisations in India by Chinese military’s western headquarters, which oversees India, has raised alarm bells in the corridors of South Block. An alert has been issued to the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force that a Chinese Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) group called Suckfly, based in Chengdu region, is targeting Indian organisations. India’s defence establishment is its prime target.

Suckfly is involved in carrying out cyber espionage activities by sending out a malware called Nidiran.

According to the alert, Suckfly has stolen certificates from legitimate software developing firms in South Korea and is using them to camouflage its attacks. “Sensitive information from targeting computers and networks is exfiltrated, and this information is being used to undermine the national security and economic capabilities,” the alert issued from the Ministry of Defence states.

APT is a network attack in which an unauthorised person gains access and stays there undetected for a long period of time. The intention of an APT attack is to steal data instead of causing damage to the network or organisation.

“It has successfully carried out cyber espionage by infecting computers of both government and commercial houses of India involved in e-commerce, finance, healthcare, shipping and technology. Targeting of military personnel cannot be ruled out, keeping in mind the sensitive nature of data being handled by them,” the alert adds.

What is alarming for security agencies is that the cyber attack was carried out from the headquarters of China’s People’s Liberation Army. Chengdu Military Command is in charge of security along India’s eastern sector in the Tibet region, including Arunachal Pradesh. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had visited Chengdu Military Command during his visit to Beijing in April.

Indian Army headquarters issued an alert note last week (prepared by its Cyber Security Division) to all command headquarters, formations and locations. A similar note has been sent by the IAF and Naval headquarters to their respective commands.

Amidst increasing incidents of cyber attacks on Indian defence establishments, a proposal for a dedicated tri-service command for cyber security requires a push, according to a defence official.

After a 2012 cyber attack by Chinese hackers, who managed to penetrate the commuter systems of the Navy’s Visakhapatnam-based Eastern Command, where the country’s first indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant is undergoing sea trial, a draft proposal for setting up a cyber command was prepared after talks with all three service chiefs.

Stay up to date on all the latest The Sunday Standard news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp