Tag Archives: Cyber

VIF News Digest: National Security – Defence Studies & Terrorism, 16-30 June 2022

DEFENCE

  • Joint Military Exercise “Ex SAMPRITI-X” concludes.
  • Extension of entry age: Agnipath Scheme.
  • Agnipath – Raksha Mantri approves 10% reservation of jobs for Agniveers in Indian Coast Guard, Defence Civilian posts & 16 DPSUs.
  • Multinational Peacekeeping Exercise “Ex Khaan Quest -2022” culminates.
  • India and Australia discuss ways to enhance defence cooperation during bilateral talks.
  • Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile successfully flight-tested.
  • IAF to participate in tactical leadership programme with Egyptian Air Force.
  • Indian Air Force conducted the Capstone Seminar at Air Force Auditorium, New Delhi, marking the culmination of the first Warfare & Aerospace Strategy Program (WASP).
  • India and Malaysia decide to enhance defence cooperation.
  • INS Satpura to participate in RIMPAC-22.
  • Indigenously-developed Laser-Guided ATGM successfully tested.
  • High speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) was successfully flight-tested.
  • India and & Saudi Arabia discuss ways to enhance bilateral defence cooperation.
  • India delivers 6 tons of medical assistance to Afghanistan.
  • Fourth India-Japan Cyber Dialogue.

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

Africa
Somalia
  • Security forces killed at least 67 al-Shabaab terrorists in a foiled attack in Galgaduud region.
Nigeria
  • Security forces killed 47 Boko Haram terrorists and rescued a Chibok girl in Borno.
Afghanistan
  • IS-KP claimed responsibility for Karte Parwan Gurudwara attack in Kabul.
Pakistan
  • Pakistan remained on FATF’s ‘grey list’.
  • China blocked India-US’ joint move to designate deputy chief of LeT as terrorist under the UNSC sanctions.

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

Jammu and Kashmir
  • NIA officials searched multiple locations in the UT of J&K in ‘J&K Terror Conspiracy’ case.
  • Security forces killed three terrorists in two separate CT operations in Pulwama and Baramulla.
  • NIA officials searched multiple locations in the UT of J&K and arrested a terrorist in ‘TRF Conspiracy’ case.
  • “Security forces have eliminated 118 terrorists, mostly of LeT, since January 2022”: claimed J&K Police.
  • NIA officials searched multiple locations in the UT of J&K and arrested four OGWs from Pulwama.
  • Security forces killed four HM terrorists in two CT operations in Anantnag and Kulgam.
Left-Wing Extremism
  • NIA officials arrested a Maoist in connection with ‘Edakkara Maoist’ case.
  • Three CRPF personnel attained Veergati in Maoist attack in Odisha.
  • NIA officials raided multiple locations in Telangana and arrested three Maoists in ‘Peddabayalu CPI (Maoist) recruitment’ case
Islamic Extremism (excluding J&K)
  • Two Islamic extremists beheaded a tailor in Rajasthan over his support to Nupur Sharma’s statement on Prophet Mohammad.
Khalistan-inspired Extremism
  • Ahead of political roadshow, Khalistan slogan found at Sangrur temple gate.
Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs)
  • NIA officials searched two locations in West Bengal in case of ‘Seizure of FICN at Kolkata’.
  • NIA filed chargesheet against four FICN traffickers in case of ‘Seizure of FICN and Gold at IGI Airport New Delhi’.
Human-Trafficking
  • NIA officials searched a location in Uttar Pradesh and arrested a human-trafficker.

DEFENCE

Joint Military Exercise “Ex SAMPRITI-X” concludes.

The aim of the exercise was to strengthen the military relations between the two countries. The exercise also provided an opportunity to the contingents from both the Armies to understand each other’s tactical drills and operational techniques as well as to share their experience on Counter Insurgency/ Counter Terrorism, Peace Keeping and Disaster Relief Operation under the United Nations mandate. Senior officers of both the Armies conveyed their appreciation to the participating contingents for achieving the objectives of the Exercise.
For more information: Click here to read…

Agnipath Scheme.

Consequent to the commencement of the AGNIPATH scheme, the entry age for all new recruits in the Armed Forces has been fixed as 17 ½ – 21 years of age.Cognizant of the fact that it has not been possible to undertake the recruitment during the last two years, the Government has decided that a one-time waiver shall be granted for the proposed recruitment cycle for 2022. Accordingly, the upper age limit for the recruitment process for Agnipath scheme for 2022 is increased to 23 years.
Reference: Click here to read…

Raksha Mantri approves 10% reservation of jobs for Agniveers in Indian Coast Guard, Defence Civilian posts & 16 DPSUs.

Raksha Mantri has approved a proposal to reserve 10% of the job vacancies in Ministry of Defence for Agniveers meeting requisite eligibility criteria. The 10% reservation will be implemented in the Indian Coast Guard, defence civilian posts and all the 16 Defence Public Sector Undertakings – Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) Limited, Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders (MDL), Mishra Dhatu Nigam (Midhani) Limited, Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited (AVNL), Advanced Weapons & Equipment India Ltd. (AW&EIL), Munitions India Limited (MIL), Yantra India Limited (YIL), Gliders India Limited (GIL), India Optel Limited (IOL) and Troop Comforts Limited (TCL). This reservation would be in addition to existing reservations for ex-servicemen.Necessary amendments to relevant recruitment rules will be undertaken to implement these provisions. The DPSUs will be advised to make similar amendments to their respective recruitment rules. Necessary age relaxation provision will also be made to enable recruitment of Agniveers to the above posts.
Reference: Click here to read…

Multinational Peacekeeping Exercise “Ex Khaan Quest -2022” culminates.

The Multinational Peacekeeping Exercise “Ex Khaan Quest -2022” culminated at the Peace Support Operations Training Centre in Ulaanbaatar at Mongolia.The exercise conducted from 06 June to 20 June 2022 provided a platform for mutual learning and sharing best practices amongst the armies from 16 Nations. The Indian contingent consisting of personnel from the LADAKH SCOUTS participated in the field training as well as the Command Post exercise. A number of training activities were organised during the course of the exercise, which included mock tactical operations as per United Nations (UN) mandate, combat discussions, training of staff & command appointments; as part of a combined UN brigade, in order to enhance multinational interoperability.
Reference: Click here to read…

India and Australia discuss ways to enhance defence cooperation during bilateral talks.

Raksha Mantri and Australian Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Defence Mr Richard Marles held a bilateral meeting in New Delhi on June 22, 2022. The two Ministers reviewed the existing defence cooperation activities which have been increasing despite challenges of COVID-19 pandemic and discussed ways to enhance further cooperation. The Ministers reviewed the defence and security pillars of the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
They welcomed the growing diversity and frequency of defence exercises and exchanges between the two countries and undertook to build upon operational engagements through the India-Australia Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement.
Both Ministers committed to give fillip to the India-Australia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Defence Research and Materiel Cooperation, which will meet in Australia later this year. This JWG is a crucial mechanism for boosting ties between defence industries.
Both Ministers welcomed the plan to commence the landmark General Rawat Young Officer Exchange Programme in the latter half of 2022, which was announced during the virtual summit meeting between the Prime Ministers of the two countries on March 21, 2022.
The Ministers reviewed strategic challenges and the regional security situation and reaffirmed their shared objective of an open, free, inclusive, prosperous and rules-based Indo Pacific region. They looked forward to India’s participation in Australia’s Indo Pacific Endeavour exercise in October 2022.
For more information: Click here to read…

Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile successfully flight-tested.

Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM) was successfully flight-tested by Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Navy off the coast of Odisha on June 24, 2022. The VL-SRSAM, a ship borne weapon system, is meant for neutralising various aerial threats at close ranges including sea-skimming targets.The launch of the system was conducted against a high speed aerial target mimicking aircraft, which was successfully engaged.
For more information: Click here to read…

IAF to participate in tactical leadership programme with Egyptian Air Force.

Indian Air Force would be participating in Tactical Leadership Programme at Egyptian Air Force Weapon School from 24 Jun – 24 Jul 22 in Egypt (Cairo west Airbase) with three Su-30MKI aircraft, two C-17 aircraft and 57 IAF personnel (including C-17 contingent). It is a unique exercise with Air assets in a Large Force Engagement environment, simulating various conflict scenarios.
For more information: Click here to read…

Indian Air Force conducted the Capstone Seminar at Air Force Auditorium, New Delhi, marking the culmination of the first Warfare & Aerospace Strategy Program (WASP).

The Indian Air Force conducted the first Warfare & Aerospace Strategy Program (WASP) culminating with a Capstone Seminar at Air Force Auditorium, New Delhi on 24 Jun 2022. This Capstone Seminar showcased the learning objectives of WASP and helps the IAF leadership to validate the desired outcomes from the program. The participants presented papers on contemporary topics concerning application of air power in recent conflicts and the changing doctrinal precepts that establish the dominant role of air power in national security.

The WASP was conceptualised by the IAF with the purpose of creating a pool of mid-career air power practitioners with strategic acumen and a deep understanding of warfare history and theory. It aims to enhance the doctrinal vision of the participants and cultivate their aptitude for effective arguments on strategy.
For more information: Click here to read…

India and Malaysia decide to enhance defence cooperation.

Raksha Mantri (RM) held a Video Conference with Senior Defence Minister of Malaysia, YB Dato ‘Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein on June 27, 2022. A wide range of issues concerning bilateral, regional and defence industrial cooperation were discussed during the meeting.

Both Ministers expressed the intent to further boost the already strong India-Malaysia Defence cooperation. The two Ministers discussed the existing defence cooperation activities and framework, and ways to further enhance them under the existing Malaysia India Defence Cooperation Meeting (MIDCOM) framework. The next MIDCOM is scheduled to be held in July 2022, and it was decided to use this platform for a deeper engagement in defence.

Shri Rajnath Singh highlighted the areas in which Indian Defence industries could assist Malaysia. He suggested a visit of senior officers from Malaysia to India to get a first-hand experience of the facilities and products of Indian Defence industry.

The Malaysian Senior Defence Minister expressed the need for inducting women personnel in peace keeping missions. Both sides agreed to engage each other on this issue. It was also agreed to upgrade capability for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. Raksha Mantri also invited Senior Defence Minister of Malaysia to visit India at an early convenient date to discuss closer and strategic defence ties.
For more information: Click here to read…

INS Satpura to participate in RIMPAC-22.

INS Satpura entered Pearl Harbour in Hawaii Islands on 27 Jun 22 to participate in RIMPAC-22. INS Satpura and one P8I maritime patrol aircraft from the Indian Navy are participating in one of the largest multilateral Naval Exercises, the US Navy led biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise 2022. The exercise spanning over six weeks of intense operations and training is aimed at enhancing interoperability and to build trust among Navies of friendly foreign countries. 27 countries are participating in the current edition of the multi-dimensional exercise.
For more information: Click here to read…

Indigenously-developed Laser-Guided ATGM successfully tested.

Indigenously-developed Laser-Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) was successfully test-fired from Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Army on June 28, 2022.

The all-indigenous ATGM employs a tandem High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead to defeat Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) protected armoured vehicles. The ATGM has been developed with multi-platform launch capability and is currently undergoing technical evaluation trials from 120 mm rifled gun of MBT Arjun.
For more information: Click here to read…

High speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) was successfully flight-tested.

ABHYAS – High speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) was successfully flight-tested from on June 29, 2022. The performance of the aircraft at low altitude including sustained level and high manoeuvrability was demonstrated during the test flight. The air vehicle was launched using twin under-slung boosters which provide the initial acceleration to the vehicle. It is powered by a small gas turbine engine to sustain a long endurance flight at high subsonic speed. The target aircraft is equipped with Micro-Electromechanical Systems-based Inertial Navigation System for navigation along with the Flight Control Computer for guidance and control along with Indigenous Radio Altimeter for very low altitude flight and Data Link for encrypted communication between the Ground Control Station and Target Aircraft. The vehicle is programmed for fully autonomous flight.
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India and & Saudi Arabia discuss ways to enhance bilateral defence cooperation.

Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Defence for Strategic Affairs Mr. Ahmed A Aseeri called on Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar in New Delhi on June 30, 2022. They discussed ways to enhance defence cooperation between the two countries. The Deputy Minister briefed the Defence Secretary about the 5th meeting of India – Saudi Arabia Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation (JCDC) that was held on June 29, 2022.

During JCDC the meeting, the two sides reviewed the progress made in military-to-military engagements, including joint exercises, expert exchanges and industry cooperation. It was decided to identify new avenues and examine areas of mutual interest for Joint Venture in order to enhance defence industry cooperation. Enhancing the scope and complexities of the existing joint naval exercises and expanding bilateral exercises in other domains were also discussed.

It was agreed to hold the next meeting of JCDC in Saudi Arabia on mutually convenient dates in 2023. The JCDC is the apex body between the Defence Ministries of India and Saudi Arabia to comprehensively review & guide all aspects of bilateral defence cooperation.
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India delivers 6 tons of medical assistance to Afghanistan.

India supplied the seventh batch of medical assistance on 30June 2022, consisting of 6 tons of essential medicines to Afghanistan, as part of India’s ongoing humanitarian assistance. The same was handed over to the Indira Gandhi Hospital, Kabul. In the wake of recent tragic earthquake, India, as the first responder, supplied almost 28 tons of earthquake relief assistance in two relief flights. These relief consignments were handed over to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), UN World Food Program (WFP) and the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS). Furthermore, India is in the process to ship more medical and wheat assistance to Afghanistan in coordination with the UN agencies on ground.
For more information:
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Fourth India-Japan Cyber Dialogue.

The Fourth India-Japan Cyber Dialogue was hosted by India virtually on 30 June 2022. The Indian Delegation was led by Smt. Muanpuii Saiawi, Joint Secretary, Cyber Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), while the Japanese delegation was led by Mr Yutaka Arima, Ambassador in-charge of Cyber Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

Both sides discussed important areas of bilateral cyber cooperation and reviewed the progress achieved in the areas of cybersecurity and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) including 5G Technology. Both sides exchanged views on latest developments in cyber domain and mutual cooperation during cyber consultations at the United Nations and other multilateral and regional fora.
For more information: Click here to read…

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

Africa
Somalia
Security forces killed at least 67 al-Shabaab terrorists in a foiled attack in Galgaduud region.

On 17 June 2022, Somalia’s Galmudug State forces killed 67 al-Shabaab terrorists and wounded several others in a foiled attack in Bahdo area in Galgaduud region. According to the Information Minister of Galmudug— Ahmed Shire, “local residents and regional forces repulsed the attack by al-Shabaab terrorists in the region. The security forces personnel arrested a suicide bomber who was about to detonate a Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) on security forces and villagers.”
For more information: Click here to read…

Nigeria
Security forces killed 47 Boko Haram terrorists and rescued a Chibok girl in Borno.

On 12 June 2022, security forces had gun-battle with terrorists while clearing their enclave in Gazuwa in Bama Local Government Area of Borno and eliminated at least 47 Boko Haram terrorists. The security forces also rescued Mary Dauda, one of the Chibok girls abducted in 2014. “The rescued mother and child are currently in military custody, receiving medical and rehabilitation attention. Also, on 06 June 2022, troops rescued five abducted victims who were kidnapped by terrorists,” said Defence Headquarters’ spokesman— Maj Gen Bernard Onyeuko.

However, Boko Haram terrorists and their families continued to surrender before Nigerian troops in the North-East part. “Cumulatively, a total of 57,004 of Boko Haram terrorists and their families have surrendered comprising of 12,547 males, 17,027 females, and 27,430 children,” added Maj Gen Onyeuko.
For more information: Click here to read…

Afghanistan
IS-KP claimed responsibility for Karte Parwan Gurudwara attack in Kabul.

On 18 June 2022, the Islamic State-Khurasan Province (IS-KP) terrorists carried out an attack on Gurudwara in Kabul in which two people, including a Sikh community member, were killed. In a statement released on its Amaq website, the IS-KP claimed the responsibility of the attack and called it a targeted attack on Hindus and Sikhs and the ‘apostates’ who protected them in ‘an act of support for the Messenger of Allah’.
For more information: Click here to read…

Pakistan
Pakistan remained on FATF’s ‘grey list’.

On 17 June 2022, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s President— Marcus Pleyer had announced that Pakistan would remain on ‘grey list’ of nations that do not take full measures to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. The announcement gave a blow to Pakistan’s newly elected government, which said it has mostly complied with the FATF’s tasks set for Pakistan. “An onsite inspection by FATF team in Pakistan would be done before October 2022. However, FATF is praising Pakistan for implementing the organisation’s action plans— a clear indication that Pakistan is moving closer to getting off the ‘grey list’”, said FATF President Pleyer.
For more information: Click here to read…

China blocked India-US’ joint move to designate deputy chief of LeT as terrorist under the UNSC sanctions.

At the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), China blocked a joint move by India and the United States (US) to enlist Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)’s deputy chief— Abdul Rehman Makki as a global terrorist, by placing a ‘technical hold’ on the proposal.

China’s move was in the similar fashion which it had adopted to repeatedly block the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief— Masood Azhar, under the UNSC’s al-Qa’ida and ISIL Sanctions Committee, before finally relenting in May 2019 in the face of international pressure.
For more information: Click here to read…

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

Jammu and Kashmir
NIA officials searched multiple locations in the UT of J&K in ‘J&K Terror Conspiracy’ case.

On 24 June 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials searched 14 locations in the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in districts of Srinagar, Baramulla, Pulwama, Anantnag, Budgam, and Kathua, in connection with the ‘J&K Terror Conspiracy’ case.
The case— RC-05/2022/NIA/JMU relates to terror conspiracy hatched by Pakistan-based commanders of terrorist organisations for furthering terror activities, including targeted killings of minorities, security forces personnel, and attacking religious pilgrimages, including Holy Sri Amarnathji Yatra, Shri Maa Vaishno Devi Yatra.
For more information: Click here to read…

Security forces killed three terrorists in two separate CT operations in Pulwama and Baramulla.

On 21 June 2022, security forces eliminated three terrorists in two separate counter-terrorism (CT) operations in Pulwama and Baramulla districts of the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). In first operation, security forces carried out a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in Tulibal village in Sopore area of Baramulla district and killed an unidentified terrorist.

In other CT operation on the same day, security forces killed two terrorists in Tujjan area in Pulwama district. According to police reports, one of the slain terrorists was identified as Majid Nasir of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
For more information: Click here to read…

NIA officials searched multiple locations in the UT of J&K and arrested a terrorist in ‘TRF Conspiracy’ case.

On 22 June 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials searched 11 locations in the Union of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K)’s Srinagar, Kulgam, Pulwama and Ganderbal districts and arrested a terrorist— Mudasir Ahmed Dar, from Kulgam.

The case— RC-32/2021/NIA/DLI relates to the activities of The Resistance Front (TRF), which is an off-shoot terror group of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), for radicalising, motivating, and recruiting youth from
J&K to undertake terror activities in the Valley and other parts of India. Mudasir was involved in providing logistic support and transportation of arms and ammunition.
For more information: Click here to read…

“Security forces have eliminated 118 terrorists, mostly of LeT, since January 2022”: claimed J&K Police.

Compared to the previous year, security forces have eliminated 63 more terrorists in 2022. “Since January 2022, security forces killed 118 terrorists, including 32 foreign terrorists. Out of 118, 77 terrorists were belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and 26 were of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM),” said Inspector-General of Police (IGP) (Kashmir)— Vijay Kumar. Since 15 June 2022, 17 terrorists have been killed in the Valley.
For more information: Click here to read…

NIA officials searched multiple locations in the UT of J&K and arrested four OGWs from Pulwama.

On 20 June 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials searched seven locations in Pulwama district of the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and arrested four Over-Ground Workers (OGWs)—i) Sahil Ahmed Khan, ii) Jahangir Ahmed Dar, iii) Shahid Ahmed Shergojri, and iv) Inayat Gulzar Bhat, for harbouring Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists in the Valley and arranged transportation and logistic support for them.

The case— RC-02/2022/NIA/JMU relates to the activities of JeM, in which two terrorists were eliminated by security forces at Chewa Kalan in Pulwama on 11 March 2022.
For more information: Click here to read…

Security forces killed four HM terrorists in two CT operations in Anantnag and Kulgam.

On 14 June 2022, acting on an intelligence input, a joint team of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) police, Indian Army’s 1 Rashtriya Rifles, and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) launched a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in Mishipora-Kujjar village of Yaripora area in Kulgam district and killed two Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM) terrorists.

In another counter-terrorism (CT) operation on the same day, security forces killed two HM terrorists in Hangalgund, Kokernag area of Anantnag district. “One of the slain terrorists was involved in the killing of Rajni Bala— a teacher from Samba who was assassinated at Gopal Pora Kulgam on 31 May 2022,” said Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Range— Vijay Kumar.
For more information: Click here to read…

Left-Wing Extremism
NIA officials arrested a Maoist in connection with ‘Edakkara Maoist’ case.

On 24 June 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials arrested Iyyappan G aka Hari, from Tamil Nadu, in connection with ‘Edakkara Maoist’ case.

The case— RC-02/2021/NIA/KOC pertains to membership and conduct of training camp for cadres of CPI (Maoist), including arms training, flag hoisting, and celebrations of CPI (Maoist)’s formation day during the last week of September 2016 in Nilambur forest of Malappuram district in Kerala.
For more information: Click here to read…

Three CRPF personnel attained Veergati in Maoist attack in Odisha.

On 21 June 2022, three Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel attained Veergati (fell in the battle) in a Maoist attack in Patadhara Reserve Forest in Bheden block in Nuapada district in Odisha. “It was suspected that Maoists had prior information regarding the movement of the forces; all of a sudden, they (Maoists) opened fire on the forces,” said a police officer on anonymity basis.
For more information: Click here to read…

NIA officials raided multiple locations in Telangana and arrested three Maoists in ‘Peddabayalu CPI (Maoist) recruitment’ case.

On 23 June 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials carried out search operations in three locations in Telangana’s Ranga Reddy, Medak and Secunderabad districts, and arrested three Maoists— i) Dongari Devendra, ii) Dubasi Swapna, and iii) Chukka Shilpa.

The case— RC-02/2022/NIA/HYD relates to the conspiracy and recruitment of one college student by the operatives of Chaitanya MahilaSangham (CMS)— a frontal organisation of CPI (Maoist).
For more information: Click here to read…

Islamic Extremism (excluding J&K)
Two Islamic extremists beheaded a tailor in Rajasthan over his support to Nupur Sharma’s statement on Prophet Mohammad.

On 29 June 2022, two Islamic extremists— Mohammad RiyazAkhtari and Gaus/Ghouse Mohammad posed as a customer while entering a tailor shop and beheaded the tailor— Kanhaiya Lal over his social media post supporting former BJP spokesperson— Nupur Sharma’s remarks on Prophet Mohammad.

The duo extremists shot a video of killing of Kanhaiya Lal, and also threatened Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in another video, which went viral on social media platforms. Soon, police traced and arrested both extremists from Rajsamand district, 61 km from Udaipur in Rajasthan. Prohibited orders were imposed under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) across Rajasthan for a month and mobile internet services had been suspended for 24 hours followed by the incident.
For more information: Click here to read…

Khalistan-inspired Extremism
Ahead of political roadshow, Khalistan slogan found at Sangrur temple gate.

On 19 June 2022, ahead of the political road show of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to be taken out by Delhi Chief Minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, the ‘Khalistan slogan’ and ‘26 January 2023 referendum’ was found painted at the gate of a Kali Devi temple in Sangrur.

The proscribed organisation— Sikh for Justice (SFJ)’s legal advisor— Gurpatwant Singh Pannun uploaded a video on social media and informed that “the AAP formed government in Punjab with the support, including financial, of pro-Khalistan Sikhs. The Khalistan Referendum votes will be polled on 26 January 2023 and if AAP government tried to take any step against it, they will be reminded about the assassination of former Punjab CM Beant Singh. The only solution of Punjab is Khalistan.”
For more information: Click here to read…

Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs)
NIA officials searched two locations in West Bengal in case of ‘Seizure of FICN at Kolkata’.

On 26 June 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials carried out search operation at two locations in Golabgunj and Sultangunj in Kaliachak Police Station area in Malda district of West Bengal.

The search operation was related to the case— RC-08/2020/NIA/DLI, in which high quality Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs) of worth ₹ 3,46,000 were recovered from possession of two FICN traffickers— i) Senaul SK, and ii) Akramul, near Calcutta Sports Journalists’ Club, Maidan Tent, Kolkata. During the search operations, NIA officials seized digital devices, including mobile phone, SIMs, and other incriminating materials.
For more information:
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NIA filed chargesheet against four FICN traffickers in case of ‘Seizure of FICN and Gold at IGI Airport New Delhi’.

On 24 June 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a chargesheet before the NIA Special Court (New Delhi) against four Fake Indian Currency Note (FICN) traffickers— i) Mohammad Shahjan (Uttar Pradesh), ii) Amir ul-Haq (Delhi), iii) Abdul Wahid (Delhi), and iv) Amandeep Singh (Punjab), in a case related to the seizure of the FICN and Gold at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in New Delhi.

In case— RC-05/2022/NIA/DLI, the custom officials seized FICNs worth ₹ 10 lakhs and 175 gms of Gold from Mohammad Shahjan who had arrived from Ras al-Khaimah airport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). According to the investigation, Shahjan conspired with other FICN traffickers, including Amir ul-Haq and Amandeep Singh. Abdul Wahid used to provide logistic support and arrange funds for visa and air tickets of the ‘human couriers’ involved in smuggling of FICN and gold to India.
For more information:
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Human-Trafficking
NIA officials searched a location in Uttar Pradesh and arrested a human-trafficker.

On 22 June 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials searched a location in Deoband in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh and arrested a human-trafficker— Mazid Ullah (resident of Myanmar) in the conspiracy of illegal trafficking of Rohingya and Bangladeshi Muslims into India.
The search operation was related to the case— RC-05/2021/NIA/GUW, in which NIA officials seized digital devices, including mobile phones, SIM cards and memory sticks, and other incriminating materials.
For more information:
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VIF Cyber Review: January 2022

NATIONAL

MeitY invites applications under the Chips to Start-up (C2S) programme

In line with Prime Minister Modi’s vision of India being next Semiconductor hub, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) invited applications from 100 academia, Research & Development (R&D) organisations, Start-ups, and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) under its “Chips to Start-up” (C2S) programme. The C2S programme aims to train around 85,000 qualified engineers in the area of Very-Large Scale Integration (VLSI) and Embedded System Design (ESD) over a period of five years. The programme would be implemented at about 100 academic institutions, R&D organisations across India, including IITs, NITs, IIITs, government/private colleges. The Start-ups and MSMEs can also participate in the programme by submitting their proposals under “Academia- Industry Collaborative Project” (AICP). The project proposals should be submitted at C2S portal— www.c2s.gov.in. The institutions applying under the programme should meet the eligibility criteria defined at the portal and should be in line with the proposals’ guidelines. [1]

“No Siri, Alexa, smart devices in close-door meetings”: Intelligence agencies to Govt officials

The intelligence agencies issued a communication security advisory to government officials to control the leaks of classified information. According to news report, the advisory has asked all government officials not to use WhatsApp, Telegram, etcetera, to share confidential information as private tech companies control data storage servers—located outside the country. The advisory also covered instructions on Video Conferencing (VC) and for government officials opted Work from Home (WFH).

“Officials scan classified documents, store them in their mobile, send and share with others through private applications. New devices pose a big risk for national security and must be avoided while discussing important classified or secret issues by all ministries,” said an official on the basis of anonymity. Some of the guidelines in the advisory includes[2]:

i) During meetings where classified issues are to be discussed, officials keep their smartphones and smartwatches outside the meeting room.
ii) In offices—officers and staff shouldn’t keep various office assistant devices like Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, Google Home, etc.
iii) Digital assistants like Siri and Alexa in smartphones and smartwatches must be switched off while entering a meeting where classified issues will be discussed.

CERT-In issued advisory on “Multiple Vulnerabilities in Apple Products”

On 27 January 2022, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) issued an advisory addressing multiple vulnerabilities in Apple products. The vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to gain elevated privileges, execute arbitrary code, disclose sensitive information, and bypass security restriction on the targeted system. The existence of these vulnerabilities based on improper implementation of input validation logic, path validation logic for symlinks, input sanitisation, memory handling and management, state management, bounds checking, restrictions, and checks. A remote attacker could exploit these vulnerabilities by persuading the victim to open a specially crafted file or an application.[3]

India may see rise in Cyber-Espionage in 2022: claimed Kaspersky

According to the Kaspersky’s Cyberthreats to Financial Organisations in 2022 report, India is among top five targets for cyber-attacks in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, especially the breaches which involves cyber-espionage. The kind of cyber-attacks that are expected to increase are Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) attacks with malicious intent to gather significant geopolitical, business, and military intelligence.

“India’s economy and expected growth are among the key reasons for the elevated level of threat it faces. The only correct response is ‘prevention is better than cure’ – to invest in infrastructure and capabilities aimed at improving cyber-intelligence by improving prediction capabilities,” said Dipesh Kaura, General Manager at Kaspersky (South Asia).[4]

BitCoin Fraud: UP Police booked US-based crypto-exchange for fraud

Uttar Pradesh’s Cyber Crime police booked officials of the United States-based crypto-currency exchange firm—Poloniex, for allegedly cheating a Lucknow-based journalist of BitCoins worth ₹ 5.66 lakh. According to the First Information Report (FIR) registered, the victim—Deepak Gidwani bought BitCoins worth ₹ 50,000 in 2018, but never accessed his account due to little knowledge about the digital assets. After login to his BitCoin account on Poloniex’s platform, Deepak tried to withdraw the money which grew almost 10 times and turned out to be ₹ 5.66 lakh. When he tried to withdraw the amount, Deepak was informed that no transaction can be done as the account is frozen. Freezing is a procedure followed by most financial firms if the account is dormant.

“This clearly looks like a case of cheating by the international crypto-exchange firm. On the victim’s complaint, we have booked senior officials of the company along with the CEO. We are now in the process of writing to the company to furnish the account detail of the victim. We will demand logs of his logins and from where the transactions were made,” said Prof Triveni Singh, Superintendent of Police (SP) Cyber Crime, Uttar Pradesh.[5]

CERT-In issued advisory on “multiple vulnerabilities in Microsoft products”

On 12 January 2022, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) issued an advisory on multiple vulnerabilities in Microsoft products, including Exchange Servers. These vulnerabilities could be exploited by an attacker to access sensitive information, bypass security restrictions, perform a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, escalating privileges, perform spoofing attacks or executing arbitrary codes on the targeted system.[6]

INTERNATIONAL

Cyber Security researchers uncovered new Iranian hacking campaign targeting Turkish users

In newly published report by Cisco Talos, researchers have discovered malware campaign undertaken by the Iranian “MuddyWater” Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) group targeting Turkey-based private organisations and government establishments, including the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK). The campaign utilised malicious PDFs, XLS files and Windows executables to deploy malicious PowerShell-based downloaders acting as initial footholds into the target’s enterprise. Earlier of this month, the US Cyber Command linked “MuddyWater” APT to the Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MIS).

In modus operandi, the malicious documents (maldoc) pretend to be as legitimate documents from the Turkish Health and Interior Ministries, with the attacks starting by executing malicious macros embedded in them to propagate the infection chain and drop PowerShell scripts to the compromised system. The “MuddyWater” used ‘canary tokens’ in the macro code—a mechanism which is being used to track successful infection of targets, thwart analysis, and detect if the payload servers are being blocked at the other end. The canary tokens, also known as honeytokens, are identifiers embedded in objects like documents, web pages and emails, which, when opened, triggers an alert in the form of an HTTP request, alerting the operator that the object was accessed. [7]

Researchers experimented natural silk fibres to generate secure keys for strong authentication

A team of researchers at South Korea’s Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) have utilised natural silk fibres from domesticated silkworms to build an environment-friendly digital security system that is believed to be ‘practically unbreachable’. “The first natural Physical Unclonable Function (PUF) takes advantage of the diffraction of light through natural micro-holes in native silk to create a secure and unique digital key for future security solutions,” said researchers.

The Physical Unclonable Functions or PUFs refer to devices that leverage inherent randomness and microscopic differences in electronics introduced during manufacturing to generate a unique identifier, such as cryptographic keys, for a given set of inputs and conditions. In other words, PUFs are non-algorithmic one-way functions derived from uncopiable elements to create unbreakable identifiers for strong authentication. Over the years, PUFs have been widely used in smartcards to provide silicon fingerprints as a means of uniquely identifying cardholders based on a Challenge-Response Authentication (CAR) scheme.[8]

DPRK’s hackers resurfaced with variant of KONNI RAT malware

A cyber-espionage group with strong ties to Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly known as North Korea, has re-emerged with a stealthier variant of its Remote Access trojan—KONNI RAT to attack political establishments located in Russian Federation and South Korea. Most recent intrusions are orchestrated by the group involved targeting Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) with New Year lures to compromise Windows-based systems with malware. The infections, as with other attacks of this kind, starts with a malicious Microsoft Office document that, when opened, initiates a multi-stage process that involves several moving parts that help the attackers elevate privileges, evade detection, and ultimately deploy the KONNI RAT payload on compromised systems.[9]

Endnotes

[1] India. “MeitY invites applications under the Chips to Startup (C2S) Programme from academia, R&D organisations, startups and MSMEs”, Ministry of Electronics and IT, 16 January 2022, Available from: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1790350. Accessed on 31 January 2022.
[2] “No Siri, Alexa, smart devices in secret meetings: Intel note to Govt officials on tech threats”, Security Today, 27 January 2022, Available from:https://www.securitytoday.in/indian-news/no-siri-alexa-smart-devices-in-secret-meetings-intel-note-to-govt-officials-on-tech-threats/. Accessed on 31 January 2022.
[3]India. “CERT-In advisory CIAD-2022-0005: Multiple Vulnerabilities in Apple products”, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team- Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, 27 January 2022, Available from: https://cert-in.org.in/
[4] “Kaspersky predicts rise in cyber espionage for India in 2022”, Business Standard, 14 January 2022, Available from: https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/kaspersky-predicts-rise-in-cyber-espionage-for-india-in-2022-122011401057_1.html . Accessed on 02 February 2022.
[5]Shekhar, Shashank. “Bitcoin Fraud: UP Police books US-based crypto exchange Poloniex for defrauding Lucknow journalist of ₹5.66 lakh”, 31 January 2022, Available from: https://www.the420.in/bitcoin-fraud-up-police-books-us-based-crypto-exchange-poloniex-for-defrauding-lucknow-journalist-of-rs-5-66-lakh/ . Accessed on 02 February 2022.
[6]India. “CERT-In advisory CIAD-2022-0001: Multiple Vulnerabilities in Microsoft products”, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team- Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, 12 January 2022, Available from: https://cert-in.org.in/
[7]Lakshmanan, Ravie. “Researchers uncover new Iranian hacking campaign targeting Turkish users”, The Hacker News, 31 January 2022, Available from: https://thehackernews.com/2022/01/researchers-uncover-new-iranian-hacking.html . Accessed on 02 February 2022. ; Malhotra, Asheer and Vitor Ventura. “Iranian APT MuddyWater targets Turkish users via malicious PDFs, executables”, CISCO Talos, 31 January 2022. Available from: https://blog.talosintelligence.com/2022/01/iranian-apt-muddywater-targets-turkey.html . Accessed on 02 February 2022.
[8] “Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology Researchers Develop Novel Silk-based Digital Security Device”, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), 24 January 2022, Available from: https://www.gist.ac.kr/_prog/bbs/?mode=V&site_dvs_cd=en&menu_dvs_cd=060208&code=060208&no=203961 . Accessed on 02 February 2022.
[9]Lakshmanan, Ravie. “North Korean hackers return with stealthier variant of KONNI RAT malware”, The Hacker News, 28 January 2022, Available from: https://thehackernews.com/2022/01/north-korean-hackers-return-with.html. Accessed on 03 February 2022.

VIF Cyber Review: December 2021

NATIONAL

Government to set up a unified Cyber Security Task Force by March 2022

Considering the growing threat of cyber-attacks, furthering national security, the Government of India (GoI) is in the process to establish a unified national-level Cyber Security Task Force (CSTF), with a significant focus on the cyber risks emanating from the telecom sector. A sub-department for telecom security will be setup under the unified CSTF, likely by March 2022.

At present, the cyber threats are handled by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), operating under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). As the cyber threats are more dynamic and sophisticated, the government felt the need to have a specialised task force that works on domestic inputs on cyber threats and analyses the information received from allied nations from across the world.[1]

“India is keen to welcome all Semiconductor firms to explore investment opportunities in India”: Minister of State for Electronics & IT

“After India announced a ₹ 76,000 crore Semiconductor scheme, there is an interest level among global semiconductor firms to made investments in India. India is looking forward to having Intel, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Samsung and other technology major firms investing in the country,” said Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology (MoS-IT)— Rajeev Chandrashekhar. The investment-related guidelines will be issued in early January 2022 on modalities of applying for semiconductor incentives, and the applicants will be given about 45-90 days to respond.

In December 2021, the Government of India (GoI) approved the ‘semiconductor scheme’ to promote semiconductor and display manufacturing in India. The scheme is expected to visualise India’s ambitions to be self-reliant in electronics manufacturing and result in at least 35,000 jobs apart from indirect employment for 100,000 people. Under the scheme, incentives will be lined up for firms engaged in silicon semiconductor fabs, display fabs, compound semiconductors, silicon photonics, sensors fabs, semiconductor packaging, and design. In the next four years, the semiconductor incentive scheme will likely bring investments of around ₹ 1.7 lakh crore and provide 1.35 lakh jobs in India.[2]

India-Vietnam signed agreements to strengthen cooperation in the field of Information Technology

During his visit to India on 16 December 2021, Vietnam’s Minister for Information and Communication— Nguyen Manh Hung, met India’s Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MoS IT) & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship— Rajeev Chandrashekhar and exchanged views on several initiatives to strengthen the digital economy and further enhance Information & Communications Technology (ICT) trade and cooperation between India and Vietnam.

Both Ministers signed the India-Vietnam Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which intends to promote active cooperation and exchange between private stakeholders, Governments, and institutions in enhancing capacity building and Public-Private organisations of both nations in the field of ICT. India’s ‘digital government’ initiatives and the fast-emerging technology start-up ecosystem have shown resilience and maturity not only to meet the challenges of this Coronavirus pandemic but are now role models for other developing and less developed countries.[3]

MeiTY organised the ‘25th CISO Deep Dive’ training programme under the Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative

With a vision of strengthening the cyber security ecosystem in Government establishments under India’s Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative, the National e-Governance Division under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) organised a six-day ‘Deep Dive’ training programme for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline Information Technology (IT) officials from various Ministries and Departments, Government and Semi-Government organisations from Central & State governments, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), Banks, and other establishments.

The training programme equipped CISOs with a better understanding of the emerging cyber threat landscape and best practices in cyber security to translate the benefits of secure cyberspace to respective organisations and citizens. “It is expected that the training will provide the necessary exposure to the latest tools and technologies in the cyber security and requirement for legal compliance. The knowledge gained during training can help the CISOs and other participants to prepare Cyber Security Policies (CSPs) and Cyber Crisis Management Plan (CCMP) for respective organisations,” said Tulika Pandey— Director at Cyber Security Division, MeitY.

Highlighting the trend of cyber-attacks in India, Amitesh Kumar Sinha— Joint Secretary, e-Governance at MeitY, informed that “cyber fraudsters are using the COVID-19 pandemic as a cyber-attack vector for their notorious gains. During the COVID-19 time, there has been a surge in cyber incidences. The primary attacks have been phishing attacks to steal information and drop malware.  The attackers devise new strategies to target victims with scams or malware campaigns. This workshop is an opportunity to understand how CISOs and other IT officials should approach this entire problem.”[4]

Joint Parliamentary Committee submitted report on the ‘Personal Data Protection Bill 2019’

On 16 December 2021, the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) submitted their report on the ‘Personal Data Protection Bill 2019’, in both Houses of the Parliament— the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) and the Lower House (Lok Sabha). The JPC report— running over 500 pages has proposed several key amendments. One of the key recommendations of the report is that non-personal data be included in the Bill. “As soon as the provisions to regulate non-personal data are finalised, there may be a separate regulation on non-personal data in the Data Protection Act to be regulated by the Data Protection Authority (DPA),” read the report. Emphasising on the data localisation, the report recommends that no social media platform be permitted to operate in India unless the parent company in-charge sets up an office in India.

Along with consideration on key issues, such as statutory body for media regulation, safety of financial transactions, data localisation, and data breaches, the report recommended that the Bill shall be named as ‘Data Protection Bill 2019’. The Bill is likely to be discussed in the Budget Session of the Parliament.[5]

Indian CERT issued advisory on multiple vulnerabilities in Apache Log4j

On 10 December 2021, The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) issued advisory on multiple vulnerabilities— Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2021-44228, CVE-2021-44832, CVE-2021-4104, and CVE-2021-45046), Denial of Service Vulnerability (CVE-2021-45105) discovered in Apache Java logging library Log4j which could allow a remote attacker to gain full access or control and perform a Denial of Service (DoS) attack on the targeted servers. The vulnerability existed in ApacheLog4j versions due to failure to protect from uncontrolled recursion from self-referential lookups. A remote unauthenticated attacker could exploit this vulnerability by injecting a crafted malicious payload that contains recursive lookup, resulting in a DoS condition.[6]

According to Check Point – a cyber security firm, the Log4j vulnerability prompted to 100 new hacking attempts every minute. The firm had monitored the attempts to exploit the vulnerability on over 40 per cent of corporate networks worldwide. The Apache Software Foundation—which oversees the Log4j code, released a fix for the vulnerability, along with rating the issue “10”— the highest level of seriousness. “This is the third really serious flaw that has affected a wide range of Internet services: Heartbleed in 2012, ShellShock in 2014 and Log4Shell in 2021,” said John Graham-Cumming— Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the Cloudflare.[7]

Separately, Microsoft warned that some nation-state supported hacking groups are using Log4shell. “Multiple tracked nation-state activity groups originating from China, Iran, North Korea, and Turkey, are utilising the vulnerability for activities from ‘experimentation’ to targeted attacks,” read the statement released by the Microsoft.[8]

INTERNATIONAL

UK and US intelligence chiefs discussed enduring combined cyber operations

In the meeting— ‘Cyber Management Review’ hosted at Fort Meade, Maryland, United States (US), Sir Jeremy Fleming— Director, United Kingdom (UK)’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and General Sir Patrick Sanders— Commander of the UK Strategic Command, discussed on the joint commitment to disrupt and deter emerging cyber threats, with General Paul Nakasone— Director, United States (US)’ National Security Agency (NSA) and Commander of the US Cyber Command.

The annual forum enables the UK and US to develop world-class cyber capabilities, improve cyber defences, and impose costs for malicious cyber activity. “We [UK & US] agree that strategic engagement in cyberspace is crucial to defending our way of life by addressing these evolving threats with a full range of capabilities. To carry this out, we will continue to adapt, innovate, partner, and succeed against evolving threats in cyberspace,” read the joint statement released by the UK and US intelligence and defence chiefs.[9]

Japanese firms targeted by Chinese state-backed hackers with ‘Flagpro’ malware

China’s state-supported ‘BlackTech’— a cyber-espionage APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) group has targeted several Japanese companies from various sectors, including defence technologies, media, and communications, using malware— ‘Flagpro’. According to the report submitted by NTT Security, Flagpro malware was deployed against Japanese firms for more than a year since October 2020.

The threat actor deployed Flagpro in the initial stage of an attack for network recce, evaluating the target’s cyber environment, and downloading second-stage malware and executing it. As modus operandi, a phishing e-mail crafted for the target organisation, pretending to be an e-mail from a trustworthy partner. The e-mail carries a password-protected ZIP or RAR attachment that contains a Microsoft Excel file (.XLSM) equipped with a malicious macro. Running this code creates an executable in the start-up directory, the Flagpro.

Flagpro connects to the C2 server via HTTP and sends system ID details obtained by running hardcoded OS commands on its first execution. In response, the C2 server can send back additional commands or a second-stage payload that Flagpro can execute. The BlackTech APT was spotted by Trend Micro researchers in 2017 and is associated with China. The BlackTech APT generally targets Taiwan and occasionally attacks companies in Japan and Hong Kong to steal technology.[10]

Europol’s EC3 arrested a Romanian in connection with a Ransomware affiliate scavenging for sensitive data

In a joint operation with Romanian National Police (Politia Romana) and the United States (US)’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Europol’s European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3) arrested a Romanian national in connection with a Ransomware affiliate targeting high-profile organisations and companies for their sensitive data.

After compromising the network of a large Romanian IT company that delivers services to clients in retail, energy, and utilising sectors, the cyber-criminal has deployed ransomware and stealing sensitive data from the company’s clients in Romania and abroad before encrypting their files. Later, the cyber-criminal asks for a hefty ransom payment in cryptocurrency, threatening to leak the stolen data on cybercrime forums should his demands not be met.[11]

Endnotes

[1]Doval, Pankaj. “Unified cyber security task force by March: Source”, The Economic Times- Telecom, 20 December 2021, Available from: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/unified-cyber-security-task-force-by-march-source/88381159 . Accessed on 23 December 2021.

[2]PTI. “We’ll love to see Intel, TSMC, Samsung, and other semiconductor giants invest in India: MoS IT”, The Economic Times- Telecom, 29 December 2021, Available from: https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/well-love-to-see-intel-tsmc-samsung-other-semiconductor-giants-invest-in-india-mos-it/88556288 . Accessed on 31 December 2021.

[3]Ministry of Electronics & IT, India-Vietnam signs agreement to extend cooperation in the field of Information Technology, Release ID: 1782377 (India, 2021), Available from: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1782377 . Accessed on 20 December 2021.

[4]Ministry of Electronics & IT, MeitY organises 25th CISO Deep Dive Training program under Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative, Release ID: 1782189 (India, 2021), Available from: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1782189 . Accessed on 20 December 2021.

[5]Lok Sabha, Report of the Joint Committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019’, (India, 2021), Available from: https://prsindia.org/files/bills_acts/bills_parliament/2019/Joint_Committee_on_the_Personal_Data_Protection_Bill_2019.pdf . Accessed on 30 December 2021.; Sharma, Mohit. “Joint Committee report on Data Protection Bill tabled in Both Houses of Parliament: Details”, India Today, 17 December 2021, Available from: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/joint-committee-report-data-protection-bill-tabled-houses-parliament-details-1888747-2021-12-17 . Accessed on 30 December 2021.

[6]Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), CERT-In Advisory CIAD-2021-0046: Multiple Vulnerabilities in Apache Log4j, (India, 2021), Available from: https://cert-in.org.in/. Accessed on 31 December 2021.

[7]Tidy, Joe. “Flaw prompts 100 hack attacks a minute, security company says”, BBC News, 13 December 2021, Available from: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-59638308 . Accessed on 31 December 2021.

[8]Microsoft Threat Intelligence Centre (MSTIC), “Guidance for preventing, detecting, and hunting for exploitation of the Log4j 2 vulnerability”, Microsoft, 11 December 2021, Available from: https://www.microsoft.com/security/blog/2021/12/11/guidance-for-preventing-detecting-and-hunting-for-cve-2021-44228-log4j-2-exploitation/ . Accessed on 30 December 2021.

[9]Government Communications Headquarters, UK and US intelligence chiefs commit to enduring combined cyber operations, (United Kingdom, 2021), Available from: https://www.gchq.gov.uk/news/cyber-management-review-2021 . Accessed on 25 December 2021.

[10]Toulas, Bill. “New Flagpro malware linked to Chinese state-backed hackers”, Bleeping Computer, 28 December 2021, Available from: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/new-flagpro-malware-linked-to-chinese-state-backed-hackers/. Accessed on 01 January 2022.

[11]Europol, Arrest in Romania of a ransomware affiliate scavenging for sensitive data, (The Netherlands, 2021), Available from: https://www.europol.europa.eu/media-press/newsroom/news/arrest-in-romania-of-ransomware-affiliate-scavenging-for-sensitive-data . Accessed on 01 January 2022

VIF News Digest: National Security – Defence Studies & Terrorism, 16-31 October 2021

DEFENCE

  • Exercise Yudh Abhyas 21.
  • Inaugural India – UK Maritime Dialogue.
  • Indian Army at Cambrian Patrol Exercise.
  • UK Joint Tri-Service exercise Ex KONKAN SHAKTI.
  • Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of Naval Staff, Royal Navy on a visit to India from.
  • Ambassadors’ Round Table for Def Expo 2022.
  • Chief of Naval Staff, Bangladesh Navy visit to India.
  • Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD).
  • Agni-5, successfully launched.
  • Test of indigenously developed Long-Range Bomb (LRB) successful.
  • India-Israel Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting on bilateral defence cooperation.
  • Meeting of the India-Nepal Bilateral Consultative Group on Security Issues.

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

West Asia
  • Iraq: Islamic State terrorists killed at least 11 people in an attack in Diyala province.
Africa
Somalia
  • Army killed four al-Shabaab terrorists in Bakool region.
Afghanistan
  • IS-KP could be able to attack US in six months, claimed Pentagon official.

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

Jammu and Kashmir
  • NIA arrested 12 OGWs in ‘J&K terrorism conspiracy’ case.
  • Security forces killed four LeT terrorists in Shopian and Kulgam districts.
  • NIA searched seven districts of J&K in ‘JeI terror funding’ case.
  • NIA Special Court sentenced four HM terrorists in ‘JAKART case’.
Left-Wing Extremism
  • STF killed a Maoist in Bihar.
  • Police eliminated three Maoists in Telangana.
  • NIA conducted searches at four locations in Bihar in ‘Arms Recovery’ case.
Islamic Extremism
  • NIA filed supplementary chargesheet against an al-Qa’ida terrorist in AQIS module case.
  • NIA court convicted 9 SIMI terrorists in Patna Serial Blast cases.
  • NIA filed a charge sheet against IS terrorist in ‘ISIS Delhi Amroha module’ case.
  • NIA officials arrested an IS terrorist from IGI Airport in Delhi.

CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

  • Indian Army & Amity University to jointly set up a CoE in Engineering, Innovation, and Technology.

DEFENCE

Exercise Yudh Abhyas 21.

The 17th Edition of Indo – US joint training exercise “EX YUDH ABHYAS 21” commenced at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska (USA) on 15 October 2021 with an opening ceremony that saw the unfurling of the National Flags of both countries amidst playing of the National anthems, “Jana Gana Mana” and “The Star Spangled Banner”. 300 US Army soldiers belonging to First Squadron (Airborne) of the 40th Cavalry Regiment and 350 soldiers of 7 MADRAS Infantry Battalion Group of Indian Army are participating in the exercise. The 14 days training schedule includes activities on joint training in a Counter Insurgency / Counter Terrorism environment under United Nations mandate. Click here to read…

Inaugural India – UK Maritime Dialogue

India and UK held their inaugural maritime dialogue in a virtual format on 18 October 2021, as agreed in the India-UK Roadmap 2030 for future relations adopted at the Virtual Summit between the two Prime Ministers in May 2021. The consultations, which were led by the two Foreign Ministries, involved exchanges on cooperation in the maritime domain, Indo-Pacific and regional/ multilateral cooperation. Click here to read…

Indian Army at Cambrian Patrol Exercise

A team from 4/5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) which represented the Indian Army at the prestigious Cambrian Patrol Exercise at Brecon, Wales, UK from 13th to 15th October 2021 has been awarded Gold medal. Ex Cambrian Patrol organised by the UK Army is considered the ultimate test of human endurance, team spirit and is sometimes referred as the Olympics of Military Patrolling among militaries in the world. The Indian Army team participated in the event and competed against a total of 96 teams which included 17 international teams representing Special Forces and prestigious Regiments from around the world. Click here to read…

UK Joint Tri-Service exercise Konkan Shakti.

The maiden India – UK Joint Tri-Service exercise Ex KONKAN SHAKTI is scheduled in India from 21 – 27 Oct 21. The maritime component of the exercise, to be conducted off the west coast of India, is scheduled to be held in two phases. The harbour phase is planned at Mumbai from 21 – 23 Oct 21, while at sea, the exercises will be conducted from 24 – 27 Oct 21. The naval linkages between India and the United Kingdom is one of antiquity and, over a period, it has grown substantially in terms of interoperability and synergy. The exercise will also see participation by IAF aircraft that include Jaguars, SU-30 MKI fighters, AWACS, AEW&C and Flight Refuelling Aircraft. The land phase of the exercise is being conducted between Indian Army and UK Army at Chaubatia Click here to read…

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of Naval Staff, Royal Navy on a visit to India from.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of Naval Staff, Royal Navy is on a three day official visit to India from 22-24 Oct 21. Adm Radakin interacted with Adm Karambir Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff on 22 Oct 21. Amongst other naval bilateral cooperation issues, the Chiefs emphasised on collaborative mechanisms towards ensuring peace and security in the region. He is also scheduled to visit Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command (at Mumbai) wherein he would interact with VAdm R Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command. Adm Radakin would also embark HMS Queen Elizabeth, Flagship of UK CSG 21. Click here to read…

Ambassadors’ Round Table for Def Expo 2022

In a major outreach to the friendly foreign countries as also to the defence manufacturing industries of the world, Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh chaired the Ambassadors’ Round Table for Def Expo 2022, in New Delhi on October 25, 2021. The Round Table was aimed to brief the Ambassadors of foreign missions about the planning, arrangements and other details of Def Expo 2022, which will be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat between March 10 and 13, 2022. More than 200 delegates, including Ambassadors, Heads of Missions and Defence Attaches attended the Round Table, reflecting the growing global interest in the Indian Defence space. Click here to read…

Chief of Naval Staff, Bangladesh Navy visit to India

Chief of Naval Staff, Bangladesh Navy, is on an official visit to India, from 23 – 29 Oct 21. At New Delhi, Admiral Shaheen Iqbal will interact with the Chief of Naval Staff, in addition to the Chief of Defence Staff and other high ranking Gol officials. During the bilateral interactions, issues relating to joint cooperative efforts like Coordinated Patrol along International Maritime Boundary Line, bilateral exercise BONGOSAGAR, conduct of naval training and reciprocal visits of delegations would be discussed. Click here to read…

Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD).

First conducted in 2018, the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) is the apex international annual conference of the Indian Navy. The aim of each successive edition of the IPRD is to review both opportunities and challenges that arise within the Indo-Pacific. IPRD 2021 is being held as a three-day online event from 27to 29 October 2021. This year’s IPRD will focus on eight specific sub-themes under the broad theme of “Evolution in Maritime Strategy during the 21st Century: Imperatives, Challenges, and, Way Ahead”. Click here to read…

Agni-5, successfully launched

A successful launch of the Surface to Surface Ballistic Missile, Agni-5, was carried out on October 27, 2021 at approximately 1950 hrs from APJ Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha. The missile, which uses a three-stage solid fuelled engine, is capable of striking targets at ranges up to 5,000 kilometres with a very high degree of accuracy. The successful test of Agni-5 is in line with India’s stated policy to have ‘credible minimum deterrence’ that underpins the commitment to ‘No First Use’. Click here to read…

Test of indigenously developed Long-Range Bomb (LRB) successful.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Air Force (IAF) team jointly flight tested indigenously developed Long-Range Bomb (LRB) successfully from an aerial platform on October 29, 2021. The LR Bomb, after release from the IAF fighter aircraft, guided to a land-based target at a long range with accuracy within specified limits. Click here to read…

India-Israel Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting on bilateral defence cooperation

India-Israel Joint Working Group (JWG) on Bilateral Defence Cooperation has agreed to form a Task Force to formulate a comprehensive Ten-Year Roadmap to identify new areas of cooperation. This was decided at the 15th JWG meeting held on October 27, 2021 in Tel Aviv, Israel. The meeting was co-chaired by Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar and the Director General of the Israel’s Ministry of Defence, Maj Gen (Retd) Amir Eshel.

The JWG is the apex body between the Ministry of Defence of India and Israel’s Ministry of Defence to comprehensively review and guide all aspects of Bilateral Defence Cooperation.
The two sides reviewed the progress made in Military to Military engagements including exercises and industry cooperation. The Co-chairs were also appraised on the progress made by the Sub Working Groups (SWG) on Defence Procurement & Production and Research & Development. Click here to read…

Meeting of the India-Nepal Bilateral Consultative Group on Security Issues

The Fourteenth Meeting of the India-Nepal Bilateral Consultative Group on Security Issues (BCGSI) was held in Bengaluru on 28 October 2021. The delegations comprised officials from respective Ministries of Defence, Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, Directorates of the Indian Army and the Nepal Army and from the National Disaster Management Authority.

Discussions covered issues relating to mutual security concerns, training and capacity building requirements of defence forces of Nepal, cooperation in disaster management, requirements of Nepal Army for various defence stores, exchange of experts/instructors, exchange of high level and functional level visits, joint expeditions and adventure sports activities and information sharing. Click here to read…

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

West Asia
Iraq
Islamic State terrorists killed at least 11 people in an attack in Diyala province

On 26 October 2021, Islamic State (IS) terrorists attacked and killed at least 11 people in the predominantly Shiite village of al-Rashad in northeast of Baqouba in Diyala province in Iraq. According to officials, IS terrorists had kidnapped two villagers earlier and later raided the village when their demands for ransom were not met. Several other villagers were injured in the attack. Attacks on civilians have become a rare situation in Iraq since IS was largely defeated in 2017, but the group remained active through sleeper cells in many areas. Click here to read…

Africa
Somalia
Army killed four al-Shabaab terrorists in Bakool region

On 20 October 2021, Somali National Army (SNA)’s 60th Division killed four al-Shabaab terrorists and injured several others in a gun-battle near the town of Wajid in Bakool region. “SNA carried out a counter-terrorism (CT) operation based on an input that al-Shabaab terrorists are punishing the local residents,” said Wajid’s District Commissioner—Mohamed Moallim Yusuf. Click here to read…

Afghanistan
IS-KP could be able to attack US in six months, claimed Pentagon official

In an assessment, the United States’ Intelligence Community and Pentagon claimed that Islamic State in Afghanistan or Islamic State-Khurasan Province (IS-KP) in six months. On 26 October 2021, Colin Kahl— Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, informed that “Afghanistan could still pose serious National Security concern for the US even after it ended its two decade-old war in defeat in August 2021.”

In a testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), Kahl said that “it was unclear if the Taliban has the ability to fight IS-KP effectively following the US withdrawal. Islamic State (IS-KP) could have the capability to attack the US in six months or has the intention to do so.” Click here to read…

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

Jammu and Kashmir
NIA arrested 12 OGWs in ‘J&K terrorism conspiracy’ case.

On 30 October 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials arrested two Over-Ground Workers (OGWs)—Ishfaq Ahmed Wani, and Umar Bhat, in ‘Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) terrorism conspiracy’ case. The case is related to a conspiracy to carry-out terrorist activities in J&K, and other major cities in India, by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM), Al-Badr, and affiliated groups, including The Resistance Front (TRF), and People Against Fascist Forces (PAFF).

Earlier, on 29 October 2021, NIA officials raided 08 locations in Srinagar, Sopore, and Baramulla districts, and arrested two OGWs— Amir Ahmad Gojri, and Saddat Amin. Till now, 23 OGWs/sympathisers have been arrested in this case.

In another search operation on 22 October 2021, NIA searched 10 locations in Srinagar, Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama, Anantnag, and Baramulla districts in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and arrested eight OGWs— i) Adil Ahmad War, ii) Manan Gulzar, iii) Hilal Ahmad Dar, iv) Sobhia, v) Rouf Bhatt, vi) Shaqib Bashir, vii) Zamin Adil, and viii) Haris Nisar Langoo. All OGWs have been instrumental in providing logistical and material support to terrorists. Click here to read…

Security forces killed four LeT terrorists in Shopian and Kulgam districts

In two separate counter-terrorism (CT) operations on 20 October 2021, security forces eliminated four Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, including two commanders, in Shopian and Kulgam districts of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Earlier in the day, security forces acted upon an input and carried out Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in Dragad area of Shopian district.

The CASO turned into gun-battle after terrorists opened fire on the security forces personnel. In other joint operation on the same day, security forces eliminated two terrorists, including a LeT district commander—Gulzar Ahmad Reshi, in Kulgam district. Reshi was involved in recent killings of labourers from Bihar at Wanpoh. Click here to read…

NIA searched seven districts of J&K in ‘JeI terror funding’ case

On 27 October 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) searched 17 locations in seven districts—Anantnag, Kulgam, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Budgam, Kishtwar, and Jammu, in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in connection with Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) terror funding case.

The case was registered in February 2021, in connection with separatist activities of JeI, where the JeI operatives have been collecting funds domestically and abroad in furtherance to be used for terrorist activities. Click here to read…

NIA Special Court sentenced four HM terrorists in ‘JAKART case’

In ‘JAKART’ case, on 25 October 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court (Delhi) sentenced four Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM) terrorists— i) Mohammad Shafi Shah aka Doctor aka Dawood aka Nisar (12 years Rigorous Imprisonment [RI] and fine ₹ 15,000), ii) Talib Ali aka Waseem aka Abu Umer (10 years RI and fine ₹ 10,000), iii) Muzaffar Ahmad Dar aka Gaznavi aka Mohammad Ali (12 years RI and fine ₹ 15,000), and iv) Mushtaq Ahmad Lone aka Mushtaq Aalam (10 years RI and fine ₹ 10,000).

The case was registered in 2011 against Mohammad Yusuf Shah, and other HM terrorists for carrying out terrorist activities in India and constantly receiving funds from Pakistan. Through Jammu and Kashmir Affecters Relief Trust (JAKART)—an NGO and frontal organisation of HM, funds were provided to active terrorists and families of slain terrorists of HM in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Click here to read…

Left-Wing Extremism
STF killed a Maoist in Bihar

On 23 October 2021, the Special Task Force (STF) eliminated a Maoist—Pramod Koda, in a gun-battle in Lathia Pahari in Lakhisaari district in Bihar. “Lakhisaari police launched a search and rescue operation based on an input that some Maoists were hiding in the forest area of Bhagatpur after abducting son of a Public Distribution System (PDS) dealer. The STF team encountered Maoists followed by the exchange of fire, in which a Maoist was killed, and rest of the Maoists managed to escape into the forest,” said Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP)- Operation— Sushil M Khopde. An AK-47 rifle was recovered along with the body of slain Maoist. Click here to read…

Police eliminated three Maoists in Telangana

In an exchange of fire with the Maoists, district police, along with ‘Greyhounds’ (elite anti-Maoist special police force) eliminated three Maoists at Venkatapur village in Mulugu district bordering Chhattisgarh. Post-operation, “police recovered multiple arms and ammunition, including a SLR (Self-Loading Rifle), an AK-47 rifle, a machine gun, gadgets, and explosive materials,” said Mulugu Superintendent of Police (SP) G Sangram Singh Patil. Click here to read…

NIA conducted searches at four locations in Bihar in ‘Arms Recovery’ case.

On 28 October 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) searched four locations in Danapur and Chainpur in Patna district, in connection with ‘Arms and Ammunition Recovery’ case in which a Maoist— Parshu Ram Singh had linkages with top Maoist leaders and was providing hand grenades, explosives, and other arms and ammunition for furtherance of terrorist activities in Bihar, Jharkhand, and other States. Click here to read…

Islamic Extremism
NIA filed supplementary charge-sheet against an al-Qa’ida terrorist in AQIS module case

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On 29 October 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a supplementary charge-sheet in the NIA Special Court, Delhi against an al-Qa’ida terrorist— Abu Sufiyan, under Sections 4 & 5 of the Explosives Substance Act, 1908. Earlier, the Charge-sheet was filed against 11 al-Qa’ida terrorists, including Abu Sufiyan, under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A], and the Arms Act on 26 February 2021. Click here to read…

NIA court convicted 9 SIMI terrorists in Patna Serial Blast cases

On 27 October 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court (Patna) convicted nine terrorists of Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), in Patna Serial Bomb blast cases. The nine convicted SIMI terrorists are— i) Imtiaz Ansari, ii) Haider Ali, iii) Numan Ansari, iv) Mujibullah Ansari, v) Umer Siddique, vi) Azharuddin Qureshi, vii) Ahmad Hussain, viii) Mohammad Firoz Aslam, and ix) Mohammad Ifteqaar Alam.

The cases ‘RC-10&11/2013/NIA-DLI and RC-12/2013/NIA-DLI’ related to a series of bomb blasts which took place at Patna Railway Junction and Gandhi Maidaan on 27 October 2013. Click here to read…

NIA filed a charge-sheet against IS terrorist in ‘ISIS Delhi Amroha module’ case.

On 26 October 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge-sheet in the Special NIA Court (Patiala House, Delhi) against an Islamic State (IS) terrorist— Mohammad Shahzad Kamal, under Section 121 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 17, 18, 39, and 40 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A].
The case was registered in 2018 against Mohammad Mufti Suhail and other operatives of Harkatul-Harb-e-Islam (HuHeI) — an Islamist organisation affiliated with IS. Click here to read…

NIA officials arrested an IS terrorist from IGI Airport in Delhi

On 23 October 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials arrested Muhammad Tauqir Mahmood (33 years-old) upon his arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in Delhi from Dammam in Saudi Arabia. Muhammad Tauqir was involved in sending few youths from Bengaluru to Syria to join Islamic State (IS) during 2013-2014. As a dentist by profession, Tauqir was resident in Saudi Arabia in recent years.

Further investigation has revealed that Tauqir, in association with other IS operatives, had raised funds, radicalised, and recruited Muslim youth of a ‘Quran Circle Group’ and allegedly sent them to Syria. Click here to read…

CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

Indian Army & Amity University to jointly set up a CoE in Engineering, Innovation, and Technology

The Army Training Command (ARTRAC) of Indian Army and the Amity University (Uttar Pradesh) inked the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly set up a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for studies in Engineering, Innovation, and Technology, at the premises of the Amity University in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The CoE will focus on emerging areas of science and technology, including Information Warfare (IW), Wireless Communication, Robotics and Automation, Tracking and Surveillance, Supply Chain Management, and many other research areas in the larger domain of defence technology and management. Click here to read…

VIF News Digest: National Security – Defence Studies & Terrorism, 16-31 August 2021

DEFENCE

  • Webinar between India & Malaysia on ‘Indian Defence Industry Global Outreach for Collaborative Partnership’.
  • Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh to launch Defence India Startup Challenge 5.0.
  • Indian Navy undertakes bilateral maritime exercise with Vietnam People’s Navy.
  • ‘Joint guidance for the Australia – India navy to navy relationship’ signed between Indian Navy & Australian Navy.
  • DRDO develops Advanced Chaff Technology for Indian Air Force.
  • Indo-Kazakhstan joint training exercise to commence on 30 August 2021.
  • Commander, US Indo-Pacific Command calls on Chief of Defence Staff.
  • Indian Navy participates in Naval Exercise Malabar.
  • MoD signs Rs 1,350 crore contract for Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare Defence Suites with an Indian company.
  • Indian Navy’s Maiden Exercise with Algerian Navy.
  • BEL to supply of Naval Anti drone system.

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

Africa
Somalia
  • Somali army killed 60 al-Shabaab terrorists in Lower Shabelle.
  • “Al-Shabaab may try to imitate Taliban in Somalia”, warned security experts.
Afghanistan
  • Al-Qa’ida hailed Taliban for ‘liberating’ Afghans.
  • US drone targeted Islamic State terrorists in Kabul.
  • Foreign terrorists of IS-KP and al-Qa’ida entered Afghanistan via Pakistan, cited UN report.
  • Pakistan
    • “Pakistan engineered Taliban’s return to Kabul,” claimed US experts.

    DOMESTIC TERRORISM

    Jammu and Kashmir
    • Security forces eliminated three JeM terrorists in Pulwama.
    • NIA charge-sheeted seven terrorists in narco-terrorism case.
    • Security forces arrested six LeT terrorists from Bandipora.
    • Two HM terrorists were killed in CT operation in Pulwama.
    Left-Wing Extremism
    • Two high-ranking Maoists arrested in joint operations in Jharkhand.
    • Two ITBP personnel attained Veergati in a Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh.
    Islamic Extremism
    • NIA arrested two IS terrorists in ‘IS Kerala module case’ from Kerala.
    • BRICS adopted a new action plan to combat terrorism and terror-financing.
    Khalistan-inspired Extremism
    • Police arrested two ISYF terrorists from Kapurthala and Jalandhar districts.

    CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

    • Ragnarok ransomware threat actors released the ‘master key’ to decrypt infected files.
    • The US and Singapore pledged for deeper cooperation in cyber security.
    • Intelligent Waves won the contract from the USAF’s IW research project.
    • Interpol issued global alerts as cyber criminals target governments with COVID-19 vaccine scams.
    • Hackers stole records of T-Mobile’s 54.6 million customers.

    Defence

    Webinar between India & Malaysia on ‘Indian Defence Industry Global Outreach for Collaborative Partnership’.

    A webinar and expo between India & Malaysia on the theme ‘Indian Defence Industry Global Outreach for Collaborative Partnership’ was held on August 17, 2021. It was organised under the aegis of Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence through Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM). Nine Indian companies, including Bharat Electronics Limited, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers, L&T Defence and Bharat Forge Limited, gave presentations on major defence platforms and products. From the Malaysian side, Aerospace Technology Systems Corporation, AMP Corporation, DEFTECH Unmanned Systems and Innopeak SDN BHD made company presentations.

    Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh to launch Defence India Startup Challenge 5.0

    Three years after the launch of Defence India Startup Challenge 1.0 (DISC), Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), DISC 5.0 was launched in New Delhi on August 19, 2021.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Indian Navy undertakes bilateral maritime exercise with Vietnam People’s Navy

    Indian Navy ships undertook bilateral maritime exercise with Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN) frigate on 18 Aug 21. The bilateral interaction aims to consolidate the strong bond shared by the two navies and would be another step towards strengthening India-Vietnam defence relations. The Indian Naval ships arrived at Cam Ranh, Vietnam on 15 August 21 for harbour phase, the sea phase included surface warfare exercises, weapon firing drills and helicopter operations. This visit also holds special importance as Indian Naval ships celebrated the country’s 75th Independence Day in Vietnam.

    ‘Joint guidance for the Australia – India navy to navy relationship’ signed between Indian Navy & Australian Navy

    The document was signed between the Indian Navy and Royal Australian Navy on 18 August 2021. The document is aligned to the ‘2020 Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ agreed by the Prime Ministers and aims to ensure shared approached to regional and global security challenges. The broad scope of the guidance is focussed on developing mutual understanding, cooperate for regional security; collaborate in mutually beneficial activities and to develop interoperability. The highlights of document include close cooperation in regional and multilateral fora, including Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and Expert Working Groups subordinate to the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus framework.

    DRDO develops Advanced Chaff Technology for Indian Air Force

    Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an Advanced Chaff Technology to safeguard fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) against hostile radar threats. Defence Laboratory Jodhpur, a DRDO laboratory developed the advanced Chaff material and chaff cartridge-118/I in collaboration with High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), a Pune based laboratory of DRDO, meeting qualitative requirements of IAF. The Indian Air Force has started the process of induction of this technology after completion of successful user trials.

    Indo-Kazakhstan joint training exercise to commence on 30 august 2021

    As part of military diplomacy and to strengthen the growing strategic relation with Kazakhstan, the 5th edition of Indo- Kazakhstan Joint Training Exercise, “KAZIND-21” will be conducted at Training Node, Aisha Bibi, Kazakhstan, from 30 August to 11 September 2021. The exercise is a joint training between both the Armies, which will boost the bilateral relations between India and Kazakhstan.
    The Indian Army contingent represented by a battalion of The Bihar Regiment consists of a total of 90 personnel led by a Contingent Commander. The Kazakhstan Army will be represented by a company group.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Commander, US Indo-Pacific Command calls on Chief of Defence Staff

    Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat held a meeting with Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command (US INDOPACOM) Admiral John C Aquilino in New Delhi on August 25, 2021. Issues related to peace & security in the region and bilateral defence cooperation were part of the agenda for the meeting. Admiral Aquilino also held meetings with the Tri-Service Chiefs and Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar. He is on an official visit to India from August 24-26, 2021.

    Indian Navy participates in Naval Exercise Malabar

    Indian Navy is participating in the sea phase of Exercise Malabar 2021 from 26 – 29 August 2021 along with the US Navy (USN), Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).This year marks the 25th edition of Ex Malabar, being hosted by USN in the Western Pacific.The Indian Navy’s participation includes INS Shivalik and INS Kadmatt and P8I patrol aircraft led by Rear Admiral Tarun Sobti, VSM, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet. The US Navy will be represented by USS Barry, USNS Rappahannock, USNS Big Horn and P8A patrol aircraft. The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force will be represented by JS Kaga, Murasame and Shiranui, in addition to a submarine and P1 patrol aircraft. The Royal Australian Navy will be represented by HMAS Warramunga.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    MoD signs Rs 1,350 crore contract for Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare Defence Suites with an Indian company

    Ministry of Defence (MoD) has concluded a contract with Mahindra Defence Systems Limited for procurement of 14 Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Defence Suites (IADS) at a cost of Rs 1,349.95 crore in New Delhi on August 27, 2021.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Indian Navy’s Maiden Exercise with Algerian Navy

    As part of her ongoing goodwill visit to Europe and Africa, INS Tabar took part in a Maritime Partnership Exercise with Algerian Navy ship ‘Ezzadjer’ on 29 Aug 21. The exercise, held off the Algerian coast, saw participation of a frontline Algerian warship, ‘Ezzadjer’.

    BEL to supply of Naval Anti drone system

    Indian Navy has signed contract with Navratna Defence PSU Bharat Limited (BEL) for supply of the first indigenous comprehensive Naval Anti Drone System (NADS) with both hard kill and soft kill capabilities in New Delhi on August 31, 2021.

    INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

    Africa
    Somalia
    Somali army killed 60 al-Shabaab terrorists in Lower Shabelle

    On 17 August 2021, the Somali National Army (SNA) eliminated 60 al-Shabaab terrorists during a foiled attack on two military camps—Sabiid and Anole, in Lower Shabelle in Somalia. “We received intelligence inputs that the terrorists are grouped to attack outside Sabiid and Anole. Our soldiers killed 60 terrorists, including two al-Shabaab commanders,” said the SNA commander—Daud Abukar Abdi.
    On 02 April 2019, Somali security forces and African Union peacekeeping personnel liberated the strategic town of Sabiid.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    “al-Shabaab may try to imitate Taliban in Somalia”, warned security experts

    Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan may encourage other Islamic extremist groups, such as al-Shabaab in Somalia. “Somalia could see a similar development unless the Somali government ends its over-dependence on international security forces. Although al-Shabaab does not possess the military-like power of the Taliban, but nothing would stop them if they chose the similar path,” said former Somali intelligence official Abdulsalam Gulaid.

    According to the Somalia Transition Plan, approved by the government and the African Union Mission in Somalia, AMISOM, the AMISOM peacekeeping forces will gradually transfer security responsibilities to Somali security agencies before the complete pull-out. In July 2021, more than 250 al-Shabaab terrorists had been killed during Somali military operations unaided by AMISOM.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    US drone targeted Islamic State terrorists in Kabul

    On 29 August 2021, a United States (US) drone strike killed a suicide car bomber, affiliated with Islamic State-Khurasan Province (IS-KP) group, who was preparing to strike Kabul airport. Earlier, on 26 August 2021, an IS suicide bomber carried out an operation outside the Kabul airport in which 13 US troops were martyred and several Afghan civilians were killed.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Foreign terrorists of IS-KP and al-Qa’ida entered Afghanistan via Pakistan, cited UN report

    According to the United Nations (UN) Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring report, almost all foreign terrorists of Islamic State-Khurasan Province (IS-KP) and al-Qa’ida have entered Afghanistan via Pakistan, and also, the leaders of these outfits along with those of the Taliban have been living in Pakistan. The report also established ties between IS-KP, Taliban, and al-Qa’ida.

    “The Taliban’s capture of Kabul has invited radical Islamic groups in the region to move into Afghanistan. The ‘creeping aggression’ of Pakistan will soon turn Afghanistan into a breeding ground of terror,” said Mahmoud Saikal, former Afghanistan envoy to the UN.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Pakistan
    “Pakistan engineered Taliban’s return to Kabul,” claimed US experts

    The United States (US) analysts claimed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) provided planning assistance, training expertise, and even the ground advice to the Taliban all through the operations leading up to the capture of Kabul. The US experts cited that in last three months, the Pakistani military waved a surge of new breed of terrorists across the border from sanctuaries inside Pakistan.
    “The Taliban would not be where they are without the assistance of the Pakistanis,” said Douglas London, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Counter-Terrorism chief for South and South-West Asia.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    DOMESTIC TERRORISM

    Jammu and Kashmir
    Security forces eliminated three JeM terrorists in Pulwama

    On 21 August 2021, security forces eliminated three Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists in a counter-terrorism (CT) operation in Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Acting upon inputs, security forces launched Cordon and Search Operation (CaSO) in the forest area of Nagbaeran Tral in Pulwama district. The search operation led to the exchange of fire between security forces and terrorists after latter fired at the security forces.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    NIA charge-sheeted seven terrorists in narco-terrorism case

    On 27 August 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a supplementary charge-sheet against seven terrorists—Showkat Salam Parray, Asif Gul, Altaf Ahmed Shah, Romesh Kumar, Mudasir Ahmed Dar, Amin Allaiaka Hilal Mir, Abdul Rashid, in a narco-terrorism case, in NIA Special Court, Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

    On 11 June 2020, an accused terrorist—Abdul Momin Peer was intercepted Police Naka party at Kairo Bridge, Handwara. Abdul Peer was travelling from Baramulla to Handwara. During search cash amounting to ₹ 20,01,000 and two kilograms of Heroin was seized. The investigation has revealed that seven accused terrorists were involved in conspiracy for procuring and selling narcotic substances and generating funds in the J&K in close association with terrorist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM).
    For more information:
    Click here to read…

    Security forces arrested six LeT terrorists from Bandipora district

    Security forces, on 24 August 2021, arrested six Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists from Bandipora district in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and recovered arms and ammunition from their possession. The arrested terrorists have been identified as MuzaffarMohiuddin Lone, Mohammad Amin Lone, RizwanQadir Lone, Imtiyaz Ahmad Lone, Javaid Ahmed Lone, and Mohammad Saleem Khan.

    “The preliminary investigation revealed that the arrested terrorists were providing shelter, logistics, and other support to the other active LeT terrorists in Bandipora district,” said a police official on the condition of anonymity.
    For more information: Click here to read…
    Two HM terrorists were killed in CT operation in Pulwama

    On 20 August 2021, security forces killed two Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM) terrorists in an exchange of fire in the Pampore area of Awantipora in Pulwama district, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). “Both terrorists were part of the hit squad of HM responsible for killing civilians in South Kashmir. An AK-47 rifle, and a pistol was recovered from the operation site,” said J&K Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Left-Wing Extremism
    Two high-ranking Maoists arrested in joint operations in Jharkhand

    In a joint anti-Naxal operation on 19-20 August 2021, the Jharkhand and Bihar police arrested two high-ranking Maoists—Ramesh Ganjhu and Pradyuman Sharma, from Chatra and Hazaribagh districts respectively.
    Ganjhu was involved in several ambushes against security forces in the past two decades across Jharkhand and Bihar. Pradyuman Sharma was arrested during a combing operation in forested area in Hazaribagh district.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Two ITBP personnel attained Veergati in a Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh

    On 20 August 2021, two Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel—Assistant Commandant Sudhakar Shinde, and Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Gurmukh Singh, attained Veergati in a Maoist attack in Narayanpur district in Chhattisgarh.
    “A squad from the Kadameta camp of the 45th Battalion of the ITBP, had gone on an area domination operation, when a small group of armed Maoists fired on them. The Maoists escaped with an AK-47 rifle, two bulletproof jackets, and a wireless set belonging to the security personnel,” said Inspector General of Police (IGP) Bastar—P Sundarraj.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Islamic Extremism
    NIA arrested two IS terrorists in ‘IS Kerala module case’ from Kerala.

    On 17 August 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested two Islamic State (IS) terrorists—Mizha Siddeeque and Shifa Harris, from Kerala in connection with ‘IS Kerala module case’. On 05 March 2021, NIA registered a suo moto case against Mohammed Ameen aka Abu Yahya and his associates, under Sections 120-B, 121, and 121-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 17, 18, 188, 20, 38, and 40 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A].
    Investigations revealed that Mohammed Ameen have been running various IS propaganda channels on different social media platforms such as Telegram, Hoop, and Instagram for propagating violent ideology of IS, and radicalisation & recruitment of new members for the IS module.
    For more information:
    Click here to read…

    BRICS adopted a new action plan to combat terrorism and terror-financing

    In the BRICS’s National Security Advisers (NSAs) meeting held virtually on 25 August 2021, the top security officials of the member nations adopted an action plan to boost practical cooperation in combating terrorism and terror financing. In action plan, India raised the issue of cross-border terrorism and activities of groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) which enjoys ‘State-support’ and threaten peace and security of the region. The meeting was chaired by India’s NSA—Ajit Doval.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Khalistan-inspired Extremism
    Police arrested two ISYF terrorists from Kapurthala and Jalandhar districts.

    On 20 August 2021, Punjab police arrested two International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) terrorists—Gagandeep Singh and Gurmukh Singh, from Phagwara and Jalandhar respectively. Police recovered huge cache of live grenades and tiffin bomb, along with pistols and ammunition from their possession.
    During the investigation, Gagandeep Singh revealed that a large weapons consignment had been sent from across the border via drones over the last few months. The major part of the consignment is with his associate—Gurmukh Singh. Swiftly acting on information, police raided the Gurmukh’s house in Jalandhar and arrested him. During the search of Gurmukh’s house, police seized two live hand grenades, a box of detonators, two tubes suspected to contain RDX, one roll of high explosive yellow wire, Indian currency worth ₹ 3.75 lakh, a licensed pistol .45 bore, 14 Indian Passports, a .30 pistol along with two magazines.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

    Ragnarok ransomware threat actors released the ‘master key’ to decrypt infected files.

    In a sudden move, the Ragnarok ransomware group shutdown their cyber-attack and released the master key that can decrypt the files locked with their malware. The threat actor did not leave an explanatory note about the sudden move, however, replaced all the victims on their leak site with a short instruction on how to decrypt the files.
    The Ragnarok ransomware group has been around since January 2020 and claimed dozens of victims after making headlines for exploiting the ‘Citrix ADC vulnerability’ in 2020. The affected companies are of various sectors including manufacturing and legal services, and are based in France, Estonia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Thailand, the US, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Spain, and Italy.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    The US and Singapore pledged for deeper cooperation in cyber security

    On 23 August 2021, the United States (US) and Singapore have signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to strengthen their collaboration on cyber security across defence, financial, and research & development (R&D) sectors. One of these MoUs included an agreement between Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency (CSA) and the US Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to deepen the cooperation in cyber security beyond data sharing and exchanges.
    “Cyber threats do not adhere to borders, which is why international collaboration is a key part of the Biden-Harris administration’s approach to cyber security. The MoU allows us to strengthen our existing partnership with Singapore, so that we can more effectively work together to collectively defend against the threats of today and secure against the risks of tomorrow,” said CISA Director—Jen Easterly.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Intelligent Waves won the contract from the USAF’s IW Research Project

    Technology systems integrator—Intelligent Waves has been awarded an Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP) contract worth USD 8.4 million, for the acceleration and implementation of advanced wireless communications in both continental and outside continental US regions. “We will leverage our combined 5G and information security expertise to help protect the nation’s most critical assets, ushering a next-generation of speed and security for operators in-country and OCONUS,” said Intelligent Waves’ CTO Marqus Hutchison.
    Under the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense – Research & Engineering and the US Air Force Warfare Centre (AFWC), the Defense Department has established the “5G to Next G” program. Intelligent Waves will be tasked with building a localized, private full-scale 5G cellular network with nomadic towers/base stations (5G test-bed) to support secure connectivity between the disaggregated operations centres.
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    Interpol issued global alerts as cyber criminals target governments with COVID-19 vaccine scams

    The Interpol has issued a global alert for Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) attempting to defraud the governments with fake offers to sell COVID-19 vaccines. Some 60 cases in 40 countries around the world emerged where officials in health ministries and hospitals have received scam offers for COVID-19 vaccines approved for distribution in their country.
    Usually claiming to represent a vaccine manufacturer or a government agency facilitating the distribution of vaccines, the scammers are targeting both professional and personal email accounts of potential buyers, as well as making contact via phone.
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    Hacker stole records of T-Mobile’s 54.6 million customers

    After gaining unauthorised access through Brute Force into the T-Mobile network’s testing environments, an unidentified hacker stole data belonging to 54.6 million current, former, or prospective customers, containing Social Security Numbers (SSNs), phone numbers, names, addresses, dates of birth, prepaid PINs, and driver license/ID information. However, the attacker could not exfiltrate customer financial information, credit card information, debit or any other payment information.
    “The bad actor leveraged their knowledge of technical systems, along with specialised tools and capabilities, to gain access to our testing environments and then used brute force attacks and other methods to make their way into other IT servers that included customer data,” said Mike Sievert—T-Mobile’s CEO.
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