Is Mumbai power outage a cyber sabotage on India by Chinese hackers

On 2nd of march Maharashtra home minister stated that the Mumbai Power outage on last October was a cyber sabotage on India by Chinese hackers. He also stated a report by a cybersecurity company in Massachusetts, United States. It explained that there is a sudden rise in use of malware by a Chinese group called Red Echo against India during the Mumbai outage on October 2020. During which the India’s power sector was targeted and the New York times also reported the same on Sunday .

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh

The reason behind the attack was clarified as due to the tension prevailed on Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China.

But on contrary Indian government denied cyber sabotage on India’s power system operation corporation (POSOCO) by Chinese hackers. They added that there is no data breach or data loss during the outage.

Power outage

Power outage refers to a certain period of interruption especially of electric current. For a power interruption to be termed as outage there are certain norms.

  1. It must not be a scheduled power cut.
  2. The affected people count should be atleast more than 1000
  3. There must be atleast one hour of outage
  4. The affected person to hour rate must be atleast 1 million. For example
    • 1000 people affected for 1000 hours
    • 1 million people affected for one hour
    • 100000 people affected for 10 hours

All the example above leads to 1000000 or one million person to hour count

Earlier believed causes of power outages

Natural causes due to weather condition is the main cause of most of the outrages. It may be caused due to high winds, lightning, tree branches contacting wirelines, etc. Equipment failure causes due to failure in cables connectors transformers switches etc. Human error happens while digging activities near transformer and other power lines, workers may disturb the electrical lines laid there . Also, in accidents where a transformer or electric post gets damaged outages occur. Scheduled outages causes in maintenance purpose during schedule maintenance where current supply is cut.

Mumbai outage

police helping the commuters to depart as trains stopped suddenly due to outage

“Mumbai power outage occurred on 12th of October 2020 was due to the hackers”, this was the immediate reaction from authorities in Mumbai. The outage affected metropolitan traffic and train systems. It took upto two hours to restore emergency services and it took 12 hours to restore all the affected area. The New York times report said that this attack might be a warning to New Delhi.

Subsequent events after Mumbai outage

US Congressman urges President Joe Biden to ‘stand by India’ in Mumbai cyber sabotage case

The report on Recorded Future Insikt Group said that the POSOCO received a email on threat of a malware called ShadowPad on November 19th 2020.Red Echo, a Chinese state sponsored group created the malware Shadowpad . But Indian ministry totally denied these events.

Later in the evening the Union minister RK Singh concluded that the Mumbai outage was entirely due to human error. There is no evidence available to claim cyberattacks by China or any other country during the outage.

Singh added that two teams investigated the Mumbai outage and concluded the report with the same mentioned above.

Other important outages

The worst outage ever occurred in the northern and eastern part of India during 30th and 31st of July 2012. On 30th the outage affected almost 400 million people. On 31st  it recorded as the largest and worst power outage ever affecting 620 million people which is equal to half of Indian population.

The recent outage happened in the January month of 2021 in Pakistan including its capital Islamabad.


Author : Indhirani K

Featured image source: thefederal.com

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Indhirani K
Hii..This is Indhirani.. working as a content writer intern and delivering the essence of day to day events!!!
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