The National Security Advisor’s office was the target of Chinese hackers, said M.K. Narayanan in an interview to The Times of London.
“People seem to be fairly sure it was the Chinese,” he said.
The attempted hacking took place on December 15, the same day US companies such as Google reported sustained cyberattacks from China.
Narayanan said various government departments received emails with a PDF attachment containing a so-called Trojan virus. Opening the PDF file would have allowed a hacker to remotely access the computer and download files.
“This was not the first instance of an attempt to hack into our computers,” Narayanan said. “It is difficult to find the exact source but [China] is the main suspicion. It seems well founded.”
He added India was cooperating with the US to bolster its cyber defences.
Chinese hackers, who are widely believed to be working on behalf of Beijing, have a record of carrying out repeated attacks against governments around the world including the US, Taiwan, Japan and Ger-many. China seems to see this as a means to test its cyberattack capabilities. The December 15 attacks led Google to issue a warning that it would shut down its Chinese operations.
Beijing has publicly denied any role in the December attacks. “Hacking in whatever form is prohibited by law in China,” said Jiang Yu, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman.
Narayanan told The Times that while he expected China to be an increasing security priority, the main threat for India still came from Pakistan-based militants.
with agency inputs