India’s actions should follow words on cybersecurity
Published: Feb 06, 2020 10:03 PM

Photo: IC

China's tech giant 360 Security Technology announced on Wednesday that it had captured a cyberattack of advanced persistent threat (APT) launched by Indian hackers, who used the novel coronavirus as a lure to target China's medical sphere that is battling the epidemic.

With over 560 million internet users, India is the world's second-largest online market, ranking only behind China. 

India reported cyberattacks against its Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant and Indian Space Research Organization in 2019. It is sorry to see a victim of cyberattacks undermine cybersecurity.

With suspected Indian background, a group called BITTER has launched continuous APT attacks since March 2019 targeting China's government agencies and Chinese organizations, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The group's main targets, as dis-closed in 2016, are government, the arms industry, and nuclear industry. The attacks against China were listed as one of the deadly cyberattacks conducted by the most dangerous APT hacker group in 2019.

At the crucial juncture of fighting the coronavirus, if such APT attacks have nailed it, the consequence would be disastrous: China's most advanced medical technology and data of our high-end medical equipment could be stolen and maliciously used. What's worse, those hackers with evil intentions could create more fear related to the virus, and thus disturb the social order.

This has warned us that cybersecurity is important at any time. Thanks to the secure cyberspace, the Chinese government can announce the latest updates in a timely manner about the coronavirus through the internet and thus help people upgrade their knowledge of prevention, which has contributed to the slowing spread of the virus.

China needs secure cybersecurity to share new information and data with other countries without any delay, so that China can substantially assist the rest of the world in pre-venting and controlling the epidemic.

China has been a main victim of APT attacks, with its cybersecurity under constant threats from the US, Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia.

The already hard battle against the epidemic would be fiercer if China's cybersecurity is endangered, especially with hacker attacks targeting the country's medical system. Consequently, it won't be just China but the entire mankind who will suffer ultimately.

Such being the case, China must strengthen its efforts to enhance cybersecurity, update security technologies, and mend flaws in time. In the meantime, international cooperation on cybersecurity should also be improved as no country can resist the viciousness of invisible enemies all by itself in the internet era.

In November 2019, New Delhi called for global cooperation to address threats that cybersecurity faces. "We need to arrive at a global understanding if not a global regulation, in order that the cyberspace remains open, safe and secure," Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said.

We wish India could keep in mind its words.

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