Highlights

  • Cyber crime onslaught against India over suspended BJP leaders' remarks
  • Hacking attacks over comments regarding Islamic Prophet Mohammad
  • DragonForce from Malaysia, 1877 from Iraq, One Hat from Indonesia under lens

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Revealed: who's behind hack attacks on India over Islamic Prophet Mohammad row

Islamic Prophet Mohammad row: one of the groups which has claimed responsibility for the hack attacks is DragonForce, a hacking collective based in Malaysia which has been associated with Pakistani hackers in the past.

Over 500 Indian websites attacked. From government agencies, to universities and schools; from police, to agricultural bodies - the hack attack has been indiscriminate.

The sudden cyber onslaught has been sparked by comments regarding Mohammad, who is considered a Prophet, or messenger of Allah, by followers of Islam. The comments were made by BJP leaders Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal who have since been suspended.

After a diplomatic storm, the Indian government is now worrying about cyber tsunamis. So, who is behind all these attacks?

ALSO WATCH | Al Qaeda threatens India over Islamic Prophet Mohammad controversy, weeks after comment on hijab ban

One of the groups which has claimed responsibility for the hack attacks is DragonForce. It is reportedly a hacking collective based in Malaysia, and is very active on social media. DragonForce has launched an anti-India campaign called 'OpsPatuk' or 'strike back'. The hackers have apparently published social media credentials, and bank usernames & passwords of Indians. DragonForce has been associated with Pakistani hacking groups in the past.

Another group whose name has emerged is 1877. It is apparently a grouping of Iraqi hackers who seem to have partnered with DragonForce for OpsPatuk. 1877 group attacked the ICAR website, among others.

Then there is One Hat Cyber Team, a group of hackers who apparently belong to Indonesia. The One Hat Cyber Team hacked the website of Thane Police, and demanded an apology over the Mohammad controversy.

The targets of these cyber criminals have been varied. Some of the websites which were attacked include those of the Indian embassy in Israel, the Maharashtra Judicial Academy, Thane Police, National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and Institute of Science, Nagpur.

Cyber crime is turning out to be a major threat for India. The country saw 1.8 crore cyber attacks and threats in the first three months of 2022, as per US-based cyber security firm Norton. Between January and March, India saw almost 60,000 phishing attempts, and over 30,000 tech support scams, according to the Norton study.

To fight off hacking attempts, website owners must examine vulnerabilities and plug loopholes. This would include fixing issues like default passwords, and unpatched or outdated servers.

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