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The All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), New Delhi Cyber Attack of November 2022: Is there a Chinese Connect?

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Cyber Secure India

All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), New Delhi, India was in the news in late November 2022, for a Cyber Attack that targeted them affected the hospital’s outpatient and inpatient digital services, including smart laboratory, billing, report generation and the appointment system. The Institution faced the cyber-attack on November 23, paralysing its servers. A case of extortion and cyber terrorism was registered by the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit of the Delhi Police on November 25.

Subsequently, the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), Delhi cybercrime special cell, Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre, Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and National Investigation Agency (NIA), and Other National Cyber Agencies carried out investigation of the high-profile incident.

Internet services to the institution were blocked as per the recommendations of the investigating agencies. The AIIMS have over 100 servers hosted with different types of Application with the storage machines. There were 40 physical and 60 virtual servers with a score of IPs hosted or subscribed. Of the complete assets, five physical servers were successfully infiltrated by the hackers, as per the preliminary investigation. “The damage would have been far worse but is now contained. Data in the five servers have been successfully retrieved now,” said the personnel from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to news agency ANI.

In another news article published in Indian Media; the IFSO unit of Delhi Police has sought information has written to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking details from Interpol about the IP addresses of email IDs from China and Hong Kong. CBI being India’s nodal agency for Interpol matters. This after the investigative agencies have established that the hack of the server of AIIMS-Delhi is suspected to have been originated from China and Hong Kong. News agency PTI has reported that further details have been sought on the matter from companies in China and Hong Kong.

These forms of attack are only a ‘Tip of the Iceberg’; and cyber experts have warned that this form of Cyber Attack are more on the offing from rogue state/non-state agencies on India, to sabotage the initiatives of Government of India. It is also a known fact, that India will be hosting the G-20 event in the final Summit at New Delhi among other events in September 2023, with delegates from 43 countries will in India during the complete year long event. This then has made the Hospitality, Transport, Medical, Industrial, Administration Functionaries of India vulnerable to Cyber Attacks.

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