Amid the ongoing tensions between India and Canada, the cybersecurity domain has seen a surge in activity, with hackers getting involved.
On September 21, the hacktivist group known as ‘Indian Cyber Force’ announced their upcoming campaign, ‘Operation Canada’ (OpCanada), slated to begin on September 24.
This comes just days after the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security issued a significant cybersecurity warning, citing growing concerns over the vulnerability of its digital infrastructure.
Cybersecurity tensions have risen against the backdrop of the ongoing geopolitical tensions between India and Canada, stemming from a diplomatic conflict after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged the potential involvement of the Indian government in the June murder of a Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.
Reasons to Launch the OpCanada Campaign – Indian Cyber Force
“Respected world wide authorities and citizens, We have recently seen Canada government’s allegations and anti India politics really crossed the limits,” read the latest tweet by the Indian Cyber Force hackers.
This message was concluded with links to defaced websites by them. This included the following URLs with error or the likes –
- https://bristoldental.ca/ICF.html – Displayed a message accusing Canadian officials of crimes.
- https://hearclearcanada.ca/ICF.html – Displayed a 404 Error message.
A defacement attack on the above first link spoke about Canadians accusing Indian Intelligence without proof.
Threats and Claims in the Name of OpCanada
The twitter account of the hacktivist collective, Indian Cyber Force has been flooded with targeted websites and screenshots of samples allegedly stolen from Bangladeshi and Canadian organizations among others.
Until September 21, 2023, the twitter account of the hacktivist group was targeting the websites of organizations in Bangladesh.
After the operation against Bangladesh under the campaign OpBangladesh, the hacktivists have begun posting clear screenshots of photo IDs and links to stolen data from Canadian websites as part of OpCanada.
The above screenshot is taken from the Twitter account of CyberForceX which contains passport images stolen from Canadian cyber attacks.
Besides exposing passports, the hackers named Canada Manufacturing, and another tweet that shared a Telegram link to their channel and noted a 24GB file size suggesting the amount of data in their possession.
The Telegram page of Indian Cyber Force says, “We are Present Where, There Is Vulnerability. Country of Shree Ram. Jai Hind Hai Bharat,” further stressing the need to secure systems, especially against software vulnerabilities.
Another tweet by the hackers read that they exfiltrated the personal data of Canadian citizens, credit cards, driver’s license, loans, bank statements, SIN & email, phone, and addresses. In the ongoing OpCanada campaign, hackers also stole signature samples and photos of the residents of Canada.
#OpCanada and the Threat by Hackers
Seeing the increased cyber attacks on Canadian digital assets, the website of the government of Canada – Canadian Centre for Cyber Security released an advisory early on September 15.
It read, “Since 13 September 2023, the Cyber Centre has been aware and responding to reports of several distributed denial of service (DDoS ) campaigns targeting multiple levels within the Government of Canada, as well as the financial and transportation sectors.”
However, this alert was a response to the threat posed by Russian state-sponsored cybercriminals. “In July 2022, the Cyber Centre assessed that Russian state-sponsored cyber threat actors would almost certainly continue to perform actions in support of the Russian military’s strategic and tactical objectives in Ukraine,” the alert added.
Canada has been battling a series of Distributed Denial of Service attack that sends enormous traffic to a network or website at once and disrupts its services since years.
In the recent past, due to several reasons, the hacktivist collective, Indian Cyber Force has been on its toes leaving warning notes and opposing new rules and sanctions by the Canadian government impacting people.
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