India’s second largest government-owned hydrocarbon producer hit by a major cyberattack, hackers demand 196 bitcoins in ransom
Oil India Limited(OIL) is a state-run hydrocarbon explorer headquartered in the north-eastern state of Assam. OILsays it has been hit by a major cyberattack, with hackers demanding 196 bitcoins in ransom.
- Earlier, suspected Chinese hackers had reportedly targeted the Indian power grid near the Ladakh border.
AdvertisementThe state-run Oil India Limited (OIL) has been hit by a major cyberattack that has compromised some of the servers of the company. The ransomware attack has hit the company’s headquarters in Assam.
According to media reports, the hackers have demanded 196 bitcoins as ransom. At the current prices (approx. ₹31.35 lakh per bitcoin), that is a little more than ₹61 crore.
According to a statement from the company’s spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika, while the breach is serious and the virus is severe, the company has disabled the affected systems as a precautionary measure.
This should help the company prevent the virus from spreading to other servers, especially when the vector used for the cyberattack is still under investigation.
Hazarika also added that the cyberattack has not had any impact on the company’s day-to-day operations so far and that the drilling activities are ongoing without any interruptions.
Other Indian infrastructure under attack, too
This is not the first Indian infrastructure company to bear the brunt of cyberattacks, nor will it be the last. However, of late, suspected state-backed hackers were reportedly behind the attack on the Indian power grid.
According to a report by a threat intelligence firm Recorded Future, the Chinese cyber campaign against the Indian power grid could be a part of an espionage operation. The report adds that this could have been an attempt to collect critical data for positioning China for future activities against India.
“The prolonged targeting of Indian power grid assets by Chinese state-linked groups offers limited economic espionage or traditional intelligence gathering opportunities,” said the Recorded Future report.
Earlier in 2021, Record Future also discovered that a Chinese malware had been found pervading the Indian power grid months after the Galwan valley clashes broke out in 2020.
At the same time, Mumbai, India’s financial capital and amongst the worst-hit regions during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, suffered a city-wide blackout. This forced hospitals across the city to switch to emergency generators to keep critical life support systems functioning.
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