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India’s NIC network is one of the targets of Chinese-backed hackers who snoop on governments, according to a report.

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News Tech: Attacks by a hacking group purportedly supported by the Chinese government have targeted governments, NGOs, news outlets, and think tanks worldwide, including India’s National Informatics Centre (NIC). Emails were sent to these targets, and once opened, the login information was stolen.

The China-sponsored hacking group spoofed organisations such as the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Amnesty International, the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), Radio Free Asia (RFA), the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and other global government, think tank, and humanitarian organisations that “fall within the strategic interests of the Chinese government”.

RedAlpha, an organisation that oversees the Indian government’s larger IT infrastructure and services, frequently spoofs the login pages for NIC. In just one year, the hacking squad weaponized at least 350 websites.

The gang has also targeted specific individuals and organisations within the Tibetan and Uyghur communities directly, according to a research by the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future.

“In late 2019 and early 2020, the group likely shifted away from older infrastructure TTPs exhibited in public reporting, such as the registration of domains through GoDaddy and hosting on Choopa (Vultr) and Forewin Telecom infrastructure,” the report revealed.

The researchers observed RedAlpha consistently register domains spoofing Taiwanese or Taiwan-based government, think tank, and political organisations. “Notably, this included the registration of multiple domains imitating the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de facto embassy of the United States of America in Taiwan, during a time of increasing US-China tension regarding Taiwan over the past year,” they said.

Over the past few years, RedAlpha’s activities has grown to include credential-phishing efforts impersonating foreign governments in various nations. According to a representative for the Chinese government, the nation opposes all cyberattacks and “never encourages, supports, or conspires” to engage in such action.

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