Critical Information of over 6,000 businesses in India, including ISPs, telecom providers and banks, is reportedly selling for 15 BTC on the darknet. The data was leaked after an unknown cyber attack.
Also Read: Bitconnect: Ponzi Scheme or Fever Dream?
Seqrite, an Indian antivirus vendor and security brand Quick Heal Technologies claims the Indian internet registry suffered a cyber attack. However the data leaked due to the attack was trivial, says the registry’s parent organization.
Indian Internet Registry Says Its Security Is ‘Robust’
As the bitcoin price soars, there isn’t a day where the news does not include the cryptocurrency.
While some see blockchain technology as the future of Internet security and identity, decentralized and mostly-anonymous currencies like bitcoin have made illegal transactions even easier.
Following the incident, National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) issued a statement condemning the darknet advertisement put up by the hacker. They added that the Indian registry did not suffer from a serious breach.
A NIXI spokesperson said: “There has been no serious security breach of it IRINN system, as it has a robust security protocol in place. The hacker has no capacity to cause any damage or initiate distributed denial of service to any entity who has been allocated Internet resource through IRINN System.”
Why Bitcoin Is Popular for Hackers Targeting Businesses
Seqrite researchers saw an advertisement on the darknet where a hacker was selling the sensitive information of 6,000 Indian businesses for 15 BTC (approximately 42 lakhs in Indian currency, or $84,045 USD).
The researchers pretended to be interested buyers and the advertiser supplied screenshots that showed the data came from the Indian Registry for Internet Names and Numbers (IRINN). IRIN is the issuer of the IP addresses, which is overseen by NIXI.
As Bitcoin is decentralized and “pseudonymous“, it is difficult to connect transactions to real-life identities. Criminals such as ransomware attackers and online drug sellers have been making the most of this feature, often targeting large corporations. The volatile BTC price can make their trade even more lucrative.
Darknet Hacker Breaches India Registry Security
In the NIXI statement issued to the media, they mentioned:
“There was an attempt to penetrate the system and hackers were able to collect some basic profile information of the contact persons of some of the affiliates which were displayed by him on the darknet.”
According to reports, the same hacker is providing important details such as login credentials and contractual business documents for an additional cost.
Quick Heal has sent a report relating to the breach to Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC) and other government bodies. The hacker also claimed to have access to APNIC. Quick Heal has urged these organizations to update their security protocols to avoid further breach or damage.
‘Government Has Been Warned’
Rohit Srivastwa, senior director at Quick Heal, responded to the reporters indicating that government has been warned:
“We have alerted the government authorities well within time. If someone gets control over this massive data that is currently up for sale on the darknet, the above-mentioned organizations and enterprises can get affected.”
In response, NIXI stated: “Existing security protocol of NIXI is robust and capable of countering such attacks. However, following this breach, security protocol has been further strengthened and review of existing infrastructure has also been initiated.”
The Indian officials seemed doubtful on the implementation of their own regulations. This could indicate the country is not fully ready to combat an advanced cyber attack.
What should countries do to better protect citizens’ and businesses’ data? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via Pixabay, NIXI, Trak.in