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Indian Naval Computers Targeted in Chinese Cyber Attack: Report

A cyber attack on India's naval computer systems has delivered classified information to Chinese IP addresses, the Indian Express reported on Sunday (see GSN, June 26).

The navy's Eastern Naval Command, which oversees the testing of India's first ballistic missile submarine as well as maritime activities in the South China Sea and the development of a new submarine base, was the victim of the attack. It is not yet clear how much sensitive information was lost in the attack, which involved a computer bug that clandestinely infiltrated the naval computers and then transmitted data back to Chinese computers.

Indian officials said it was "premature at this stage" to disclose the type of information that was targeted in the attack. A naval investigation into security lapses that allowed the cyber attack to take place is understood to have wrapped up and a minimum of six officers are expected to be disciplined.

"An inquiry has been convened and findings of the report are awaited. It needs to be mentioned that there is a constant threat in the cyber domain from inimical hackers worldwide," the Indian Navy said in response to questions from the Sunday Express.

The security lapse that let in the computer virus could have involved the prohibited connection of flash memory drives to the navy's standalone computers, informed insiders said. India's armed forces maintain their classified information in computers that are not hooked up to the Internet (Manu Pubby, Indian Express, July 1).

Meanwhile, the Indian army is preparing for another test launch of its nuclear-ready Agni 1 ballistic missile, the New Indian Express reported (see GSN, April 12).

The missile launch from Wheeler Island is slated to occur at any point between July 8 and 14. "After that, two other variants of Agni will be tested and the [Defense Research and Development Organization] is planning for the second test of Agni 5 in early next year," DRDO chief V.K. Saraswat told the newspaper.

The test had earlier been planned for May but was put off as a result of challenges relating to the meshing of tracking computers and other systems with the missile.

In the years since the Agni 1's first flight test a decade ago, a number of enhancements have been made to the nuclear-capable missile's flight path flexibility and its re-entry capabilities, a military scientist said (Hemant Kumar Rout, New Indian Express, July 2).

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