Closely after reports emerged about Chinese hackers targeting the Mumbai power grid, which led to the power outage on October 12, 2020, the latest update claims that the hackers may have targeted 40 substations in Telangana.
According to a report, the Central Electricity Authority alerted the Telangana government that the Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-In) detected Chinese Malware in 40 substations. Consequently, the Telangana government agencies successfully prevented the cyber-attack. The hackers were allegedly targeting the Telangana State Load Dispatch Centre (TSLDC).
Reports suggest that when the Chinese hackers tried communicating with the systems of TSLDC, the Transmission Corporation of Telangana Limited (TS Transco) and Telangana State Power Generation Corporation Limited (TS Genco) were asked to take adequate precautions and to stay alert. TS Transco and Genco CMD D Prabhakar Rao confirmed the cyber-attack alerts to news agencies and informed them that the firewall has been strengthened.
This is the second such instance that Chinese hackers have tried to pull off a stunt like this. On October 12, 2020, Mumbai faced massive power outages leading to disruption in the city. A month after the power outage, the Maharashtra cyber department suspected a malware attack could be behind the power outage. Reports then emerged that Chinese hackers were behind the attack.
However, Union Power Minister RK Singh on Tuesday informed that the Mumbai power outage was due to “human error” and there is no proof that Chinese hackers caused the power failure. However, US-based Company – Recorded Future — recently reported that Chinese government-linked hackers were targeting the Indian power grid system using malware. China rejected the allegations made by the US firm.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that Union Power Minister has sought details about the incident. “We must not politicise this issue. The Union Power Minister has said that we must remain alert,” Deshmukh said.
A 100-page provisional report filed by the Maharashtra cyber department confirms the malware attack behind the blackout, and it adds that they found 14 Trojan horses and 8GB of unaccounted data in the system. The investigators claimed that unidentified sources installed the malware in the Maharashtra State Electricity Board by unverified sources.