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Indian Agencies Gear Up Against Cyber Threats to G20 Summit



Indian Agencies Gear Up Against Cyber Threats to G20 Summit

NEW DELHI: In a bid to ensure the uninterrupted proceedings of the upcoming G20 Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi, multiple Indian security agencies are working tirelessly to prevent potential cyberattacks on the event’s main website and critical information infrastructure. With a rising concern over cyber threats, authorities are meticulously monitoring the activities of hackers, particularly those backed by Pakistan and the pro-“Khalistani” outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), who are reportedly engaged in spreading disinformation about the Summit.

Vigilance on High Alert

Sources familiar with the ongoing developments have disclosed that a coalition of agencies, including the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC), I4C (Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre), Delhi Police, Intelligence Bureau (IB), Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), National Investigation Agency (NIA), and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), are working collaboratively to counter any potential cyber threats. This joint effort encompasses scouring the dark web, monitoring social media platforms, and employing dedicated teams of experts to identify vulnerabilities within the G20’s cyber-security apparatus. The primary goal is to thwart potential ransomware attacks, phishing attempts, and denial of service attacks during the event.

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Stringent Measures in Place

A cybersecurity expert, who chose to remain anonymous, stated, “Big events such as G20 are always susceptible to cyberattacks with an aim to damage the image of the Summit or the host country. But foolproof cybersecurity has been created and every activity is being watched. We are even ready to foil technically advanced hacking attacks such as entering the security systems or accessing the CCTV footage of the G20 event and meeting venues.” This assurance comes in light of past incidents where G20 Summits have fallen victim to hacking attempts. Notably, spear phishing attacks occurred during the Paris G20 Summit in 2011, while the Hamburg G20 Summit in 2017 faced targeted hacking. The 2014 G20 meeting in Brisbane witnessed the leak of private data belonging to G20 attendees.

Sophisticated Disinformation Campaigns

Adding to the complexity of the situation, reports indicate that Pakistani spy agency ISI is engaged in a substantial campaign aimed at tarnishing New Delhi’s image. According to  reports  anti-G20 propaganda originating from Pakistan through social media platforms and online campaigns, indicating a deliberate effort to disrupt the event.

Recently CloudSEK researchers noticed concerning insights into a recent hacktivist campaign that targeted over 1,000 Indian websites as part of their Independence Day campaign ( on August 15) under the hashtag OpIndia.

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The campaign, orchestrated by hacktivist groups from various countries, utilized tactics such as DDoS attacks, defacement attacks, and user account takeovers, echoing the patterns previously highlighted in CloudSEK’s hacktivists warfare report. The report also reveals a significant spike in hacktivist attacks during the first quarter of 2023 with India emerging as the primary focus of attacks, closely followed by Israel, Poland, Australia, and Pakistan.

The hacktivist campaign on Independence Day, driven by political and religious motives, focused on vulnerable websites with lower security measures and digital infrastructure across sectors including Government, Education, BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance), and small businesses. Government and BFSI sectors bore the brunt of DDoS attacks, whereas Education and Small businesses suffered bulk defacement attacks and access panel takeovers.

As the world anticipates the G20 Leaders’ Summit, Indian security forces remain committed to upholding airtight cybersecurity measures, determined to safeguard the integrity of the event and its proceedings.

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