In the wake of reports that the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) computers were breached by Chinese hackers, Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday ordered a probe into the issue and sought a status report on the cyber security situation in the agency.
The reports had suggested that hackers from China had hacked the DRDO’s computers and carted away electronic files relating to Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the country’s highest decision-making body on security affairs, to a server in Guangdong in China.
“The minister has asked Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma to inquire into the reports of the DRDO’s computers being hacked and submit a report to him at the earliest,” a Defence Ministry official said here. When asked about cyber breach at the DRDO, Antony said: “Intelligence agencies are investigating the matter at this stage and I do not want to say anything else.”
DRDO Denies Report
DRDO spokesperson Ravi Kumar Gupta said in a statement that none of his agency’s computers had been compromised.
“As per available information, no incidence of breach of security of the DRDO’s computers has come to notice,” Gupta said. “Appropriate measures are in place for safety and security of computer systems,” he added.
The reports on the latest cyber security breach claimed that this was the biggest of attacks by hackers and it had come to light this month when the country’s technical intelligence unit, National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), along with private cyber experts, cracked a case.
Among the DRDO organisations that came under attack, the report suggested, included the Hyderabad-based Defence Research and Development Lab (DRDL) that works on India’s missile systems.
This is not the first time India’s highly sensitive defence establishments have come under cyber attack, suspected to be the handiwork of Chinese hackers.
In November 2012, an international cyber security watchdog claimed that computers of DRDO labs and the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Public Information, Infrastructure and Innovations had been hacked and were victims of “suspicious and unwanted” activity.
Also, the computers of the Navy’s Eastern Naval Command based in Visakhapatnam came under cyber attack after one of the officers had used a pendrive that had a Chinese malware.