New Delhi (Sputnik) — Barely three days before India's unveiling of Defense Expo 2018 in the southern state of Chennai, the defense ministry's website was hacked. In 2016, India had identified hackers by the name of ‘Chinese Military Western Headquarters' and 'Suckfly', based out of China's Chengdu region, as potent cyber threats to government establishments. However, this is the first cyber attack on the Indian defense establishment in the last three years.
"Action was initiated after the hacking of the MoD website (http://mod.nic.in). The website shall be restored shortly. Needless to say, every possible step required to prevent any such eventuality in the future will be taken," Nirmala Sitharaman said in a tweet soon after the website had been hacked.
Action is initiated after the hacking of MoD website (https://t.co/7aEc779N2b). The website shall be restored shortly. Needless to say, every possible step required to prevent any such eventuality in the future will be taken. @DefenceMinIndia @PIB_India @PIBHindi— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) April 6, 2018
The question of cyber attacks on defense establishments was raised in the Parliament earlier this month in which defense ministry Nirmala Sitharaman had replied, "The classified information of the tri-service are well-guarded. To mitigate cyber threats, all the three Services have established their respective Cyber Emergency Response Teams (CERT). Further, adequate safeguards have been instituted in the form of cyber audits, physical checks and policy guidelines to ensure a robust cyber posture of armed forces."
Sitharaman had also informed that the overall threat to Cyberspace has increased, although no cyber attacks on defense establishments had been reported in the last three years.
The Indian defense ministry and other government websites have been facing a persistent threat from hackers for the past two years. In 2016, India had issued a red alert against cyber attacks on government and commercial organizations by ‘Chinese Military Western Headquarters.' An alert was also issued to the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force that a Chinese advanced persistent threat group called Suckfly, based in Chengdu region, was targeting Indian organizations and the Indian defense establishment was its prime target.