Energy Minister RK Singh said on Thursday the country has a strong defense against any form of cyber-attack, amid reports of Chinese state-sponsored hackers targeting the electricity grid in Ladakh.
“Our defenses against cyber-attacks are strong. These were intrusive attacks in December, January and February. They failed. But we are aware of it,” Singh said on the sidelines of a meeting of senior clean energy ministry officials in the capital.
The minister also said action was taken in 2018 against suspected cyber attacks on the country’s power system.
“We had protocols in place. Those protocols work and we are strengthening those protocols every day. So our cyber defense against cyber attacks is strong. We are confident in that,” said Mr Singh.
There are reports that the country’s energy sector was targeted by hackers in a lengthy operation carried out by a state-sponsored (Chinese) group.
According to the reports, the hackers targeted seven Indian state centers responsible for conducting electrical transmission and grid control near a border area disputed by the two nuclear neighbors.
The group reportedly used the ShadowPad trojan, which is believed to have been developed by contractors for the Chinese Ministry of State Security, leading to the conclusion that this was a state-sponsored hacking effort.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government in Beijing denied reports that its hackers had targeted India’s electricity grid in Ladakh.
“We have taken note of the relevant reports,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said at a media briefing on Thursday.
He was responding to a question about a report by private intelligence agency Recorded Future on Wednesday, which alleged that suspected Chinese hackers had targeted India’s electrical grid in an apparent cyber-espionage campaign.
“As I have reiterated many times, we are firmly against all forms of hacking activity and are cracking down on them. We will never encourage, support or approve such activity,” he said.
China routinely denies hacking allegations by its state-sponsored hackers and demands proof. It also claims that it is the victim of hacking of US networks.
On fears of an impending power crisis in the country against the backdrop of low coal reserves at thermal power plants, Mr Singh said the availability of power is sufficient.
“The states involved need money to buy power. That’s the only thing… today there’s no question of a state having a power deficit. They can buy power. If they don’t have money to buy power, then I can it doesn’t help it.” He also stated that he was confident that he could meet the increasing demand for electricity.
“The great thing is that our demand has increased. It shows that the economy is growing and growing by 9 percent. Power consumption is an indication of economic growth. We are able to meet any demand,” he stated.
According to the latest coal stock report, total dry fuel stocks were 37 percent of the required level on April 5.
At non-pit head plants, the coal stock amounted to 29 percent of the required stocks.
Last September there were coal shortages at several power plants. After that, the Department of Energy took a number of steps to boost supplies.