G20: How India is Combating Pak-China Cyber Threat & What is ‘Zero Trust’ Model to Prevent Such Attacks
G20: How India is Combating Pak-China Cyber Threat & What is ‘Zero Trust’ Model to Prevent Such Attacks


A security official stands guard near a G20 Summit logo installed at Shangri-La Hotel as part of preparations for the upcoming summit, in New Delhi

A security official stands guard near a G20 Summit logo installed at Shangri-La Hotel as part of preparations for the upcoming summit, in New Delhi

G20 Summit: The Indian government has stationed Cyber squads at ITC Maurya where US President Joe Biden would be staying

With less than 24 hours to the G20 Summit, India has upped its security measures, both on the ground and online, to combat any threats coming from foreign lands. The government has also raised cyber security measures around significant infrastructure, including government websites, in view of the cyber threats originating from China and Pakistan.

A senior officer has reportedly said that the agencies are working overtime to keep a check cyber warriors from China and Pakistan who are trying to undermine India ahead of G20. India has raised the level of alertness around its critical infrastructure including government websites keeping cyber threats in mind, a report in NDTV said.

“Zero Trust” model

India has implemented “zero trust” policy, which mandates constant monitoring of all IT assets, in all participating hotels prior to summit.

Under this approach, every device and person accessing private networks will require robust authentication and authorisation. The approach also mandates that no person or device is considered reliable for accessing resources until their identity and authorisation are confirmed.

Therefore, this strategy replaces the conventional mentality of “trust but verify” with “never trust, always verify.”

Apart from critical infrastructure, the level of alert has also been raised at 28 hotels where VVIPs and delegates would be staying. Cyber squads have been stationed at ITC Maurya where US President Joe Biden would be staying.

The arrangements are being done after a meeting in the Home Ministry where the history of cyberattacks during G20 Summits were discussed by the security agencies.

Banking and Finance Sector on Alert

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an advisory to all banks regarding hacker groups targeting the banking and finance sector for the G20 summit. The ministry has cautioned the sector against malicious threat and asked them to closely monitor their IT infrastructure for such attempts.

“In view of the above, Banks are requested to closely monitor their IT infrastructure for such attempts as they are likely to intensify in the coming days,” MHA’s advisory said.

Sources said that multiple agencies are working together to protect India’s cyber infrastructure, and so far, nothing major has been done by these groups except attacking a few government websites.

Tackling misinformation

The security agencies are fending off an increase in misinformation tactics, mostly directed towards Jammu and Kashmir.

Data from the cybersecurity section, a division of the Home Ministry, reveals that social media trolls from China and Pakistan are also creating a web of lies to cast doubt on India’s hosting of G20 in New Delhi.

Recently, pro-Khalistan group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) floated several websites ahead of the G20 Summit to dent India’s global image. A top official aware of the developments said various websites having addresses similar to the official G20 website have been floated by Khalistani groups.

The websites, featuring content against India, threaten to fuel anti-India agenda beginning Thursday when the G20 Summit kicks off. The official added that various videos have been uploaded by SFJ against India.

Hacking Groups Launch Operations

The Indian security agencies have stepped up the security cover after some hacktivist groups have announced their intentions to target Indian organisations. Recently, Indonesian hacktivist groups, including Ganonsec and Jambi Cyber Team, announced their intentions to target Indian organisations on their Telegram channel and launched a campaign named ‘OpIndia’, to disrupt India’s digital infrastructure.

FalconFeedsio, a cyber threat intelligence platform, has reported on the escalating threat on social media site X. In a post on September 7, the platform shared the screenshot of the Telegram message which read: “We invite all Muslim hackers and hacktivists. You join our Operation India. Are you ready to join #OpIndia? Date:- 9 and 10 September 2023. “Same Date on G20 summit”. Great #Team_Herox #ACEH_ABOUT_HACKED_WORLD #GanoSec_Team. Soon.”



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