China launched "probing cyber attacks" on India's power grid in strategically located Ladakh thrice since December 2021 but did not succeed because safeguards were in place to thwart such intrusions, Union Power Minister R K Singh said on Thursday.
Amid reports of Chinese state-sponsored hackers targeting the power grid, the Ministry of External Affairs asserted India has systems in place to safeguard critical infrastructure.
According to the reports, the hackers targeted seven Indian state centres responsible for carrying out electrical dispatch and grid control near a border area contested by the two nuclear neighbours.
The group reportedly used the trojan ShadowPad, which is believed to have been developed by contractors for China's Ministry of State Security, leading to the conclusion that it was a state-sponsored hacking effort.
Asked about the reports at a media briefing here, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "We have seen the reports. There is a mechanism in place so that our critical infrastructure remains resilient in such cases...We have systems in place to safeguard critical infrastructure."
Responding to a question by journalists, Bagchi, however, added cryptically, "I don't have any information that we have raised the issue with China."
Speaking on the sidelines of a clean energy ministerial meet in the national capital, Power Minister R K Singh acknowledged attempts were made by China, but added India's defences against such intrusions were strong.
"Our defence against cyber attack is strong. These were probing attacks in December, January and February. They did not succeed. But we are aware," he said.
The minister also said action was taken way back in 2018 against suspected cyber attacks on the country's power supply system.
"We had put protocols in place. Those protocols are working and we are strengthening those protocols every day. So, our cyber defence against cyber attack is strong. We are confident about that," Singh asserted.
Meanwhile, in Beijing, Chinese government denied reports that its hackers targeted the Indian power grid in Ladakh.
"We have noted the relevant reports," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a media briefing on Thursday.
He was responding to a query about a report by private intelligence firm 'Recorded Future' on Wednesday that claimed suspected Chinese hackers targeted the Indian power grid in an apparent espionage campaign.
"As I repeated many times, we firmly oppose and crack down on all forms of hacking activities. We will never encourage, support or condone such activities," he said.
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