The controversy surrounding derogatory remarks on Prophet Mohammed by India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has now spilled over to the online world with a group of hackers issuing a clarion call to Muslim allies to launch a cyber attack on Indian government and business websites.
Artificial Intelligence-powered digital risk protection for CyberSEK on June 10 tapped a tweet that was aimed against the Indian establishment and businesses.
The tweet was made by Malaysia-based hacker’s group DragonForce which called for attacks on Indian government by “Muslim Hackers All Over The World, Human Right Organisations and Activists” under an operation named “OpsPatuk” (Strike Back).
The group has claimed its main objective is to get back at the Indian government over the controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammad. The major controversy has already invited condemnation from the Gulf countries and other Islamic nations and associations.
Darshit Ashara, the principal threat researcher for CloudSEK, cited the example of the Russia-Ukraine conflict where hacktivists have been persistent and resourceful and cautioned the Indian government as well as private entities to take the threat seriously
“We need to start by nullifying the low-hanging fruit that threat actors typically use as initial vectors to initiate attacks. This includes malware logs, misconfigured applications, default passwords, unpatched or outdated servers and other assets, and previously leaked databases being sold on the dark web,” Ashara said.
DragonForce Malaysia, a pro-Palestinian hacktivist group based in Malaysia, owns and runs a forum where they publish announcements and discuss their most recent actions.
The group is also active on Instagram and Facebook while it also engages with members over multiple Telegram channels. For luring new members into its fold, the group also uses Tiktok and Instagram reels as tools for recruitment and self-promotion.
According to the available information, the group’s social media post about cyber attack on Indian government has so far garnered over 2.4 million views.
DragonForce also listed a number of India-related government websites that it has hacked. The group also released a list of websites, including both government and private businesses, which it said could be attacked by its cyber allies.
Among business websites on the hacker’s radar are many Indian government websites like that of companies that deal with logistics and supply chain, educational institutions, technology and software companies, web hosting providers.
In the past, DragonForce was associated with groups like Revolution Pakistan, RileksCrew, T3DimensionMalaysia, UnitedMuslimCyberArmy, CodeNewbie, PhantomCrews, LocalhostMalaysia, HarimauMalayaCyberArmy, GroupTempurRakyatMalaysia — most of which appear to be from Malaysia or Pakistan.
There is a high risk of this operation garnering more support and attention from hacktivists throughout the world.
In light of DragonForce’s aggressive actions and threats, it is critical for Indian businesses and government institutions to safeguard their websites, assets, and endpoints in order to prevent further attacks.
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