Around 2,000 Indian websites were hacked in June-July 2022 alone. This is one of the most serious cyberattacks on India in the recent past.
Following this, Amit Wadhwa, DCP of the Ahmedabad Cyber Police, wrote a letter to the Indonesian and Malaysian governments as well as to Interpol. In this letter, two cyber groups “Dragonforce Malaysia” and “Hacktivist Indonesia” were held responsible for hacking 2000 Indian websites, while manipulating electronic gadgets installed in Indonesia and Malaysia.
These two groups have also appealed to the rest of the world’s hacker groups to hack the websites operating from India. These groups also posted the personal information of suspended Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nupur Sharma on the website. Apart from the Andhra Pradesh Police, the personal details of many Indian leaders have also been made common. It was the first open case of hatred towards India and cyberattacks from these two Muslim-majority countries in the Far East. Obviously, this development happened after this irresponsible statement by Nupur Sharma and Muslim groups from Indonesia and Malaysia carried out these cyberattacks in retaliation.
In a June article, a well-known website called Threat Post said that Radware, through a new advisory, pointed out that a hacktivist group called Dragonforce Malaysia, with the help of several other groups, was scanning, indiscriminately defined and denied multiple websites. in India. He is also said to have launched off-duty attacks. He called his campaign “OpsPatuk”. Advanced threat actors have been implicated in these attacks. The intention of the group was to breach the network and leak sensitive data.
Dragons Force Malaysia is an anonymous hacktivist group. It is associated with political objectives. Their social media channels and website forums are open. Thousands of people follow her and watch her. In the past, this Malaysian group has launched attacks against organizations and government entities in the Middle East and Asia. His favorite target has been Israel and he has carried out several serious attacks against Tel Aviv and Israeli organizations.
Like Anonymous and Low Orbit Ion Cannon, Dragonforce arms its own open source DoS tools – Slowloris, DDoSTool, DDoS-Ripper, Hammer, etc. – in choreographed and engaging website defenses. Experts say this group is unsophisticated, but given their attacks, it seems foolish to consider them childish and amateurish. Dragonforce Malaysia and its allies have proven their ability to adapt and evolve with the threat landscape over the past year. Radware fears that Dragonforce Malaysia will continue to launch new reactionary campaigns based on its social, political and religious affiliations in the near future. As a result, further attacks by Dragon Force Malaysia against India are to be feared.
The International Counterterrorism Institute (ICT) released the report titled “Islamic State Support for Hacktivists in Southeast Asia.” He said hacktivism activities have increased in Southeast Asia, including defacement of websites, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and information leaks. One group using this tactic is the United Cyber Caliphate (UCC), which operates with the support of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
ISIS has increased cyber activity in Southeast Asia due to the loss of its main territory in Iraq and Syria due to its physical expansion in the region. The presence of poverty, unemployment and Salafist ideology in Southeast Asia has led ISIS to find supporters in this region. This is enough to incite sectarianism among the young people of this region.
The report says cyber development in Southeast Asia has been rapid but cyber security is weak. Taking advantage of this, any knowledgeable person can use this area for cyber attacks. With society’s growing reliance on login techniques and the presence of a group of hacktivists, these elements will pose a real threat for years to come.
The Ansar Khilafat Army, an IS-backed hacktivist group, is part of the UCC collective. The group was first run from closed Telegram groups in June 2018. In this, it declared itself to be one of the working groups within the UCC collective. Linguistic analysis revealed that the origin of this group is Indonesian.
Considering all the facts, it is known that the Far East has now become a new ground for cyber attacks against India. Statements like Nupur Sharma’s also help these groups streamline their activities and influence vulnerable youth. The growing hatred of India in the Far East, the rise of new cyber-hacktivists and support for the Islamic State is a disturbing combination. This is a new front where India will have to wage a new war.
(The author is a recognized expert in cybersecurity and information warfare and holds a PhD in artificial intelligence)
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