Cyber Review - July 2023
Anurag Sharma, Senior Research Associate, VIF


“Bharat emerging as trusted global electronics manufacturing partner”: EAM Dr S Jaishankar.

On 31 July 2023, Dr S. Jaishankar, Bharat’s External Affairs Minister (EAM), spoke at "Semicon-India 2023" and emphasised the nation’s importance in developing crucial and emerging technologies and semiconductors. International partnerships and opportunities with like-minded nations, including those with the United States (US), Japan, and Australia, are essential.

Considering Bharat’s belief in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, a panel discussion was held on “International Collaboration for Trusted and Resilient Semiconductor Supply Chain”. With an emphasis on Bharat’s position as a significant player in semiconductor research, manufacturing, talent interchange, clean energy transitions, and crucial mineral exploration, the panellists discussed the possibility of international alliances in advancing the semiconductor sector.[1]

‘India AI’ and Meta signed MoU to foster advancements in AI and emerging technologies.

On 26 July 2023, ‘India AI’— an Independent Business Unit (IBD) under Digital India Corporation (Bharat) and Meta (Bharat), signed an MoU to establish a framework for collaboration and cooperation between ‘India AI’ and Meta in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and emerging technologies. “Bharat is at the forefront of adopting digital technologies, and AI and emerging technologies will play a pivotal role in expanding the advantages of technology to a broader population. Under the collaboration with Meta, the joint research and development endeavours will tackle large-scale challenges by leveraging cutting-edge AI technologies like Llama and other open-source solutions,” said CEO of ‘India AI’— Abhishek Singh.

Both organisations— ‘India AI’ and Meta, can also think about creating a Centre of Excellence (CoE) to support the emerging technology startup ecosystem for AI. The partnership will concentrate on creating datasets in Bharatiya languages to enable translation and huge language models, prioritising low-resource languages. It will do this by leveraging Meta’s AI research models, such as LlaMA, Massively Multilingual Speech (MMS), and No Language Left Behind (NLFB). Through massive language models, generative AI, cognitive systems, and translation models, this project will promote social inclusion, enhance the delivery of government services, and stimulate innovation.[2]

DoT launched Bharat 6G alliance to drive innovation in next-gen wireless technology

On 03 July 2023, the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) announced the foundation of the Bharat 6G Alliance (B6GA), a collaborative platform comprised of public and commercial corporations, academics, research institutions, and standards development organisations. B6GA will form alliances and synergies with other 6G global alliances, promoting international collaboration and information sharing.

With the grant of ₹ 240.51 crores under the Telecom Technology Department Fund (TTDF), two agreements were signed for the B6GA project—

  • 6G THz testbed with Orbital Angular Momentum (OAM) & Multiplexing through a consortium of SAMEER, IIT Madras, IIT Guwahati and IIT Patna, and
  • Advance Optical Communication (AOC) testbed with consortium members such as IIT Madras, IIT Delhi, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Delhi, Signalchip Innovations, Signaltron Systems Pvt Ltd, Sasmos het Technologies Ltd, SFO Technologies Pvt. Ltd, ERNET India, Quanfluence Private Ltd, Sterlite Technologies Limited, Nav tech, Tejas network.

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resonant call for including Jan Anusandhaan in the new phase of Amrit Kaal, the Government of Bharat is steadfastly working to ensure digital and mobile inclusivity throughout the nation and the empowering of ordinary citizens through the last mile of the digital revolution and rapid proliferation of mobile and digital services. This effort has the support of startups, industry, academia, and R&D institutes.[3]

Mallox Ransomware is targeting unsecured MS SQL Servers

In an advisory issued on 25 July 2023, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) reported that Mallox Ransomware targets unprotected MS SQL Servers and uses them as an access point into the ICT infrastructures of victims. The threat actor group initially gained access to the victims’ network infrastructure using brute force methods on publicly accessible MS SQL instances.

Mallox ransomware, like other ransomware threats, uses the double extortion strategy to compel victims to pay the ransom money: it takes data before encrypting an organisation's files and then threatens to publish the stolen material on the leaked site as leverage to encourage victims to pay the ransom fee. Securing the SQL server instances is essential to prevent Mallox Ransomware attacks.[4]

CERT-In and MeitY organised a Digital Bharat dialogue on “Safe and Trusted Internet- Cyber Security for Digital Nagriks and Digital Enterprises”

On 05 July 2023, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) organised a dialogue on safe and trusted Internet— cyber security for digital nagriks and enterprises. The objective of the dialogue was to brainstorm ideas among relevant stakeholders, key government officials, and industry entities responsible for creating awareness, sensitising the digital nagriks and developing a roadmap for addressing the issues and challenges faced by the digital nagrik and digital enterprises.

The discussions were held with a key focus on the proactive cyber security measures that can be taken to ensure a Safe & Trusted Internet for digital nagriks & enterprises, including the following:

  1. Safe usage of digital devices for digital services.
  2. Online frauds, scams and internet crimes targeting end users.
  3. Cyber-attacks and threats impacting end users & enterprises.
  4. Risks associated with social media and safety measures.
  5. Securing digital identities and privacy.
  6. How to report and get help from Government agencies.
  7. How the agencies need to provide support to digital nagrik.
  8. Cyber hygiene and best practices for safe Internet usage by digital nagriks and digital enterprises.

“The Digital economy is increasing its contributionto the GDP. The Internet connectivity and the number of users isincreasing rapidly. As the digitalisation is going to intensify, theempowerment will increase but at the same time threats also willincrease. The Government of India is focussed on open, equallyaccessible, safe & Trusted Internet. The safe & trusted Internet can bebuilt only by proactive partnership of all the stakeholders,” said Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State (MoS) for Electronics & IT and Skill Development &Entrepreneurship.[5]


DDoS attack targeted Israel’s largest oil refinery website

The website of BAZAN Group— Israel’s largest oil refinery in Haifa Bay, was inaccessible from most parts of the world as threat actors hacked into the Group’s cyber systems. The inbound traffic was timed out with HTTP 502 errors to the BAZAN Group’s websites— and The website was nevertheless accessible from Israel, probably due to BAZAN imposing a geoblock to stop an ongoing cyber-attack.

Through a Telegram channel, an Iranian hacktivist group— "Cyber Avengers”, also known as "CyberAv3ngers, claimed to breach the computer network of BAZAN. The Group Cyber Avengers also released screenshots of BAZAN’s SCADA systems, software programs used to monitor and control industrial control systems. The screenshots showed the "Flare Gas Recovery Unit" and "Anime Regeneration System" designs— a petrochemical splitter section, and PLC code.[6]

Indonesia blocked Musk’s ‘’ under curbs on porn and gambling

The Indonesian Ministry of Communications and Informatics (C&I) announced that Elon Musk's website had been blocked because the domain had previously been used by websites that violated the country's tough rules against pornography and gambling. In Indonesia, ',' formerly known as Twitter, has been blocked. The government's move meant that Indonesians could not access the platform, which reportedly had around 24 million users among a population of 270 million. “We spoke with representatives from Twitter/ and they will send a letter to us to say that will be used by Twitter,” said Usman Kansong, the Director-General of Information and Public Communication at the Ministry of C&I.[7]

Two ambulance services in South England were affected by a cyber-attack

South England's two ambulance agencies, South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) and South-Western Ambulance Service (SWAS), which cover 12 million people, were hit by a cyber-attack. Both ambulance services have been denied access to patient e-records. Both services lost access to their electronic patient records on July 18, 2023. This was due to a cyber-attack on the supplier's computer systems, a Swedish company called Ortivus. “Patients were not being affected directly, but ambulances were turning up without their usual levels of medical history, such as allergies, significant health incidents and medications. The standard of care was still very high but that incidents might be taking longer to deal with. Crews are on the road without important information about the people they have been called to see,” said Alison Moore, Health Service Journal’s ambulance correspondent.
The South-Central Ambulance Service Trust attends incidents in Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hampshire and Buckinghamshire, along with non-emergency coverage for Sussex and Surrey, whereas the South-Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust covers Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire and the Isles of Scilly.


[1]“India emerging as trusted global electronics manufacturing partner: EAM Dr S Jaishankar at Final day of Semicon India 2023”, Press Information Bureau-Ministry of Electronics and IT, 31 July 2023, available from:
[2]“India AI and Meta, India sign MoU to foster advancements in AI & Emerging Technologies”, Press Information Bureau-Ministry of Electronics and IT, 26 July 2023, available from:
[3]“DoT Launches Bharat 6G Alliance to Drive Innovation and Collaboration in Next-Generation Wireless Technology”, Press Information Bureau-Ministry of Communications, 03 July 2023, available from:
[4]“Mallox Ransomware targeting unsecured MS SQL Servers”, CERT-In, 25 July 2023, available from:
[5]“Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) organized Digital India Dialogue on “Safe & Trusted Internet - Cyber Security for Digital Nagriks& Digital Enterprises”, CERT-In, 05 July 2023, available from:
[6]Sharma, Ax. “Israel’s largest oil refinery website offline after DDoS attack”, Bleeping Computer, 30 July 2023, available from:
[7]Llewellyn, Aisyah. “Indonesia blocks Musk’s under curbs on porn, gambling”, Al-Jazeera, 26 July 2023, available from:

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