Credit: Representational image

Guwahati: Days after the violent India-China face-off at Galwan Valley, there has been a flurry of activity in the dark web. Cyber Intelligence firm CYFIRMA has confirmed that hacking groups with links to China are planning attacks on various media houses, governmental agencies, telecom operators, and pharmaceutical companies.

According to the cyber intelligence firm, around nine to ten days ago, Chinese hacker forums in Cantonese and Mandarin have started talking about the need to “teach India a lesson.” The main groups behind this rhetoric are “Stone Panda” and “Gothic Panda”. They are both based in China. According to CYFIRMA chairman and CEO, they have a direct affiliation to the People’s Liberation Army or PLA.

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Names of Indian companies listed in these forums which include,

  • Commercial organisations like Jio, MRF Tires, Sun Pharmaceuticals, Airtel, L&T, Apollo Tires, BSNL, Micromax, Cipla and Intex Technologies (objective is allegedly thought to be reputation damage and extraction of sensitive information including trade secrets)
  • Media houses like NDTV, Aaj Tak, Republic TV, Times of India, Hindustan Times, Dainik Jagran and X-TV
  • Governmental sites like Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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According to CYFIRMA chairman and CEO Kumar Ritesh, these groups of hackers are well known for launching cyber-attacks against competing companies and governmental agencies in case of any geopolitical conflict with China. CYFIRMA has also informed CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team) about these discussions.

Chinese hacker groups are suspected of launching a series of cyber-attacks against Australian entities. This is alleged to have been a form of retaliation to the country’s decision to back an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

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