The Indian news network, TIMESNOW, reported on December 19 that. according to a study by an Indian cybersecurity think tank called Cyber Peace Foundation, Chinese hackers launched covert cyber attacks on millions of Indian online shoppers during the Diwali online shopping season in October and November this year, collecting personal information from Indian consumers by creating “e-commerce scams”.
“According to the Cyber Peace Foundation report, the Chinese hackers who launched the attack on Indian Internet users were registered in Guangdong and Henan provinces. The hackers sent fraudulent links through social media applications such as WhatsApp, which misled people into believing the links were sales on Flipkart (India’s largest e-commerce retailer) and Amazon, and lured Indian Internet users into clicking on them using fake prizes. Indian consumers who clicked on the links not only had their information collected and stolen, but were also tricked into forwarding the links to their own contacts, leading to more people falling for the scam.
“Kumar, founder and chairman of the Cyber Peace Foundation, claimed, “E-commerce scams are not new, but what is worrisome is the repeated covert cyber warfare being waged by Chinese entities in India”. He added that India currently has about 100 million online shoppers, a number that is set to increase, and that cyber attacks are likely to increase as well. “The information gathered through (e-commerce) scams can be used to conduct more such cyber attacks, and in particular can be used to target Internet users in India’s second- and third-tier cities, where there is a low level of awareness of such scams”. The think tank claims that after investigation, they found that all of the fraudulent link domains were registered in the Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Henan and were associated with an organization called Fang Xiao Qing. The fake links are said to be still active and continuing perpetration of the scam.
For some time now, there has been a lot of hype in India in the area of cybersecurity. In June this year, The Times of India misinformed that since 2016, India has become the sixth most hacked economy by China after the U.S., South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Germany and Japan. In August, India’s ZeeNews TV quoted a report released by Indian security agencies that Chinese cyber forces are stepping up their hacking activities against India and collecting sensitive information related to India’s national security.
In response to unfounded allegations of “Chinese hacking” by foreign media, including the Indian media, China’s Foreign Ministry has repeatedly stated that China is a major cyber power and a major victim of hacking attacks. China is a firm defender of cyber security and firmly opposes and combats any form of cyber attacks and theft of secrets.
It is worth noting that in February this year, an article titled “Indian APT group takes advantage of fire to launch targeted attacks on our medical institutions! Heartless! was widely circulated on Chinese social media. The article mentioned that 360 Security Brain captured a case of an attack delivered using memes related to the new corona pneumonia epidemic. The attackers used the epidemic theme as a decoy document to launch an attack on the medical work area fighting the epidemic. Subsequently, they found that the organization that launched the attack belonged to an Indian hacking group.