Transport Ministry, NHAI on Alert as CERT-In Warns of Cyber Threat
The ministry, in a statement, said that it received an alert from Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In).
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on Sunday, 21 March, sounded alerts to National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and other such wings to strengthen their IT security systems, reported news agency PTI. This comes after reports of a possible cyber attack on the Indian transport sector.
The alert to India’s transport sector comes just two weeks after a Chinese state-sponsored group known as Red Echo was found to have intruded into the networks of India’s power plants and sea ports.
The union transport ministry, in a statement, said that it received an alert from Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In).
“The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways received an alert from CERT-In regarding targeted intrusion activities directed towards Indian Transport sector with possible malicious intentions. The Ministry has advised departments and organisations under transport sector to strengthen the security posture of their infrastructure,” the ministry said in a statement.
Among those bodies alerted are National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL), Indian Road Congress (IRC), Indian Academy of Highway Engineers (IAHE), State PWDs, Testing agencies and Automobile manufacturers.
In June 2020, the NHAI had reported a cyber attack on its email server, however, it later said that there was no data loss.
Intrusions Into India’s Critical Infrastructure
The alleged intrusion into the networks of 10 assets of India’s power sector and two sea ports by Chinese state-sponsored threat actor ‘RedEcho’ has once again shifted the spotlight on India’s cybersecurity infrastructure and raised questions of its cyber resilience in mitigating such threats.
According to a report in the New York Times, Mumbai’s massive power outage, on 13 October 2020, could have been caused by an attack by a Chinese state-sponsored group. While the Maharashtra government has indicated it could be the result of a ‘cyber sabotage,’ the Union Power Minister has denied such claims.
Nonetheless, it is a fact that India and its civilian, nuclear and defence infrastructure have been subjected to attempted intrusions by state and non-state actors for espionage, information theft, show of strength and strategic posturing.
(With inputs from PTI)
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