Hacktivists Target Over 1,000 Indian Websites on Independence Day

Cybersecurity researchers have warned that hacktivists targeted more than 1,000 Indian websites on Independence Day, using a variety of methods to disrupt and deface websites.

The attacks were carried out by hacktivist groups in various countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other nations. The groups used DDoS attacks, defacement, and user account takeovers to target websites and digital infrastructure across sectors that included government departments, education, BFSI (banking, financial services, and insurance), and small businesses.

DDoS attacks work by directing high volumes of internet traffic towards targeted servers, which can temporarily shut them down. Defacement attacks typically alter the appearance of a website or web page, while access panel takeovers allow cyber criminals to take ownership of online accounts.The hacktivist groups used the hashtag ‘OpIndia’ to coordinate their attacks, which were reportedly motivated by political and religious factors.

“Hacktivism is becoming a proxy for state-sponsored cyberattacks,” said Abhinav Pandey, cyber threat researcher at CloudSEK, a digital risk management company. “Hacktivists use their technical skills and cyber tools to protest and raise awareness about causes they support.”

Pandey warned that hacktivist attacks could become a significant threat to countries in the near future. “The rise in collaboration and easy access to attack tools and data, combined with potential support from state-sponsored hackers, might amplify their impact,” he said.

CloudSEK said it has informed all organisations and companies in India targeted by hacktivists. The company also offered advice on how to protect against future attacks, such as strengthening website security and monitoring for suspicious activity.

The attacks on Indian websites are a reminder of the growing threat of hacktivists. Businesses and organizations should take steps to protect themselves from these attacks, which can disrupt operations and damage reputations.

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