The National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC), which oversees India’ cybersecurity operations in critical sectors, had sounded an alert on 12 February about a Chinese state-sponsored threat actor group known as Red Echo targeting regional load dispatch centres (RLDCs) and state load dispatch centres (SLDCs), the union power ministry said on Monday.
This comes in the backdrop of growing concerns that the country’s power infrastructure could be the next target for crippling India’s economy, given the increased state of hostilities in the Indian subcontinent. This also comes at a time of India involved in the process of disengagement with China, post the border clashes.
State-run Power System Operation Corp Ltd (Posoco) oversees India’s critical electricity load management functions, through the National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC), RLDCs and SLDCs—-drawing comparisons with an air traffic controller. The country has 33 SLDCs, five RLDCs—for the five regional grids that form the national grid—and one NLDC.
A New York Times report citing a study from Somerville headquartered Recorded Future stated that the border clashes with China and the Mumbai power outage “may well have been connected.”
Mumbai practically came to a standstill around 10 am on 12 October by the blackout. The outage that lasted from 2 to 15 hours depending on the locality was caused by a cascade of failures that started with the western grid and ended with the city’s famed islanding network also tripping.
“There is no impact on any of the functionalities carried out by POSOCO due to the referred threat. No data breach/ data loss has been detected due to these incidents,” the statement said.