New Delhi: As India geared up for the much-anticipated G20 Summit here in the capital over the weekend, researchers from homegrown cyber-security company CloudSEK on Friday uncovered a plan by multiple hacktivist groups from Pakistan and Indonesia to launch cyber attacks on India.
CloudSEK’s contextual AI digital risk platform, XVigil, observed that the government’s digital infrastructure is the primary target of hacktivists.
“This orchestrated campaign, known as #OpIndia, is motivated by a complex web of political factors, with many attacks seen as retaliatory strikes in the ongoing hacktivist warfare between nations. The primary attack methods anticipated in this campaign are Mass Defacement and DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks,” the researchers noted.
The ominous call for action was sounded on September 7, when Team Herox, a hacktivist group, issued a message on encrypted messaging platform Telegram.
“They sought support from fellow hacktivist organisations to join forces for a series of attacks scheduled for September 9-10, aligning perfectly with the G20 summit’s timeline,” the researchers informed.
The hacktivist groups have been plotting cyberattacks on both public and private Indian organisations in the past, with tactics ranging from DDoS attacks to compromised account takeovers and data breaches.
“These hacktivists consistently exploit significant political events like the G20 Summit to gain visibility, making the government’s digital infrastructure a prime objective. The coordinated efforts by hacktivist groups from Pakistan and Indonesia to target India’s G20 Summit with planned cyberattacks are a stark reminder of the digital threats nations face,” said Darshit Ashara, Head of Security Research and Threat Intelligence at CloudSEK.
The researchers highlighted a similar insight into a recent hacktivist campaign that targeted over 1,000 Indian websites as part of their Independence Day campaign in August.
The campaign, orchestrated by hacktivist groups from various countries, utilised tactics such as DDoS attacks, defacement attacks, and user account takeovers, echoing the patterns previously highlighted in CloudSEK’s hacktivists warfare report.
The report also reveals a significant spike in hacktivist attacks during the first quarter of 2023 with India emerging as the primary focus of attacks.
“Our mission is to stay ahead of these evolving risks and empower organisations and individuals to fortify their digital defenses,” Ashara added. CloudSEK urged organisations and authorities to remain vigilant and bolster their cybersecurity measures to thwart these malicious activities.