It is just not cricket where India and Pakistan share a terse relationship, as the rivalry between the two nations moves across several other playgrounds as well. A US-based security firm FireEye is reporting that it has caught a Pakistani cyber security firm named Tranchulas — which has previously helped its home country prepare for cyber warfare — stealing information from Indian government and defense establishments. Also Read - Huawei 'shocked, amused' by espionage accusations
First reported by EconomicTimes, the Pakistani group in question used US hosting services to attack on the Indian establishments. In 2013, whistleblower Edward Snowden had leaked documents, which revealed the existence of surveillance programs such as PRISM. These were operated by the National Security Agency (NSA), wherein the intelligence organization either asked top US tech companies including Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Amazon among others to turn over users’ data, or simply found backdoors to get access to it anyway. Also Read - Beware! Russian hacking group hides links to malware control servers in Britney Spears' Instagram posts
Indian government, however, is denying any suspicious activity or prior knowledge about these attacks. “It is incorrect. We have only seen cases of website hacking. However, they hold only public data,” said Dr. Gulshan Rai, director-general of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (ICERT). Also Read - Rising number of SMBs target of cyber espionage: Kaspersky
An Indian official though confirmed that they had been the target of cyber spy. “We have seen many such attacks targeting Indian government and defense establishments, but in cyber space it is very hard to ascertain the actual source.”
FireEye says that Tranchulas employed what seems to be a form of phishing attack wherein it sent Indian government officials emails containing malicious software. To disguise its vicious emails as genuine, important notices, the firm used keywords such as `Sarabjit Singh’, Devyani Khoragade’, `Salary hikes for government employees’ among others as the subject line. When contacted by the FireEye, Tranchulas CEO Zubair Khan neither confirmed nor denied its involvement in the cyber espionage.