Chinese cyberattacks on Indian satellite systems, informs US-based think tank

Washington: – It is being revealed that China, who was scheming on the Ladakh and Arunachal borders and posing challenges in the Indian Ocean, had opened another front in space, against India. Between 2007 and 2018, China launched cyberattacks on Indian satellite communication. This has been exposed by a thinktank monitoring the Chinese activities in the space sector. But the ISRO chief clarified that none of the ISRO satellites and related equipment have been affected due to any cyberattacks.   

A US-based thinktank, China Aerospace Study Institute, has published a 142-page report regarding the Chinese moves and activities in the space. The report lists the Chinese actions, over 13 years, carried out to weaken the Indian space missions and defence systems. The report says that China had launched consistent cyberattacks on the Indian satellite and related systems between 2012 and 2018. But the report elaborates only about the cyberattack in 2012. It is noted that a cyberattack had been launched from the Chinese network computers on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in 2012. The report claims that China had gained complete control over the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with this cyberattack.   

The extent of losses suffered by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the attack is not known. But the report notes the reaction given by ISRO Chief Dr K Sivan. There is a permanent threat of cyberattacks on Indian satellite communications. No risk has been realised on these systems to date. The ISRO chief said that ISRO has an isolated system that is not connected to the internet so that it cannot be affected by any cyberattacks. ISRO Propulsion Complex is situated at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu, where Liquid, Cryogenic and Semi-Cryogenic engines are tested. Nearly two years ago, US space agency NASA and ISRO signed a special cooperation agreement regarding JPL. As per the report of the think tank, China has a lot of counter space technology.

With the help of this technology, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army can target any enemy satellite systems even up to the Geosynchronous Orbit from the earth. The report also informs that China has the technology to render any of the enemy satellites useless. India had tested Anti-Satellite (A-Sat), about one and a half years ago, for the security of its space missions and satellite systems. Following this test, India has the option of ‘Kinetic Kill’ to render the enemy satellites useless. All the countries had welcomed this Indian achievement, except China, who had criticised the development. Before this, in 2007, China had launched an anti-satellite missile to destroy its own satellite. The Chinese action had been criticised from all around the world, saying that the security of the satellites has come under threat.   

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