Power Minister R K Singh on Thursday said the country has a strong defence against any kind of cyber attacks, amid reports of Chinese state-sponsored hackers targeting power grid in Ladakh.
“Our defence against cyber attack is strong. These were probing attacks in December, January and February. They did not succeed. But we are aware,” Mr Singh said on the sideline of a clean energy ministerial senior officials meet in the capital.
The minister also said that action was taken back in 2018 against suspected cyber attacks on the country’s power supply system.
“We had put protocols in place. Those protocols are working and we are strengthening those protocols everyday. So, our cyber defence against cyber attack is strong. We are confident about that,” Mr Singh said.
There are reports that power sector in the country was targeted by hackers in a long-term operation which was carried out by a state-sponsored (Chinese) group.
According to the reports, the hackers targeted seven Indian state centres responsible for carrying out electrical dispatch and grid control near a border area disputed by the two nuclear neighbours.
The group reportedly used the trojan ShadowPad, which is believed to have been developed by contractors for China’s Ministry of State Security, leading to the conclusion that this was a state-sponsored hacking effort.
Meanwhile, in Beijing, Chinese government denied reports that its hackers targeted the Indian power grid in Ladakh.
“We have noted the relevant reports,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said during a media briefing on Thursday.
He was responding to a query about a report by private intelligence firm Recorded Future on Wednesday that claimed that suspected Chinese hackers targeted the Indian power grid in an apparent cyber espionage campaign.
“As I repeated many times, we firmly oppose and crackdown on all forms of hacking activities. We will never encourage, support or condone such activities,” he said.
China routinely denies allegations of hacking by its state-sponsored hackers, demanding evidence. It also claims that it is a victim of hacking from US networks.
About fears of looming power crisis in the country in the backdrop of low coal stocks at thermal plants, Mr Singh said availability of power is sufficient.
“The concerned states need money to buy power. That is the only thing… today there is no question of any state being power deficit. They can buy power. If they don’t have money to buy power, then I cannot help it.” He also stated that he was confident of meeting the increasing power demand.
“The great thing is that our demand has increased. It shows that the economy is growing and it is growing at 9 per cent. Power consumption is indicative of economic growth. We are capable of handling whatever demand is,” he stated.
According to the latest coal stock report, the overall dry fuel stock was 37 per cent of the required level as on April 5.
At non-pit head plants, the coal stock was at 29 per cent of the required stocks.
In September last year, there were coal shortages at various power plants. Thereafter, power ministry took a series of steps to perk up supplies.