IP addresses not evidence of hacking: expert

Updated: 2012-07-02 18:49


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India's naval computers in and around Visakhapatnam, the nation's Eastern Naval Command's headquarters, have been reportedly broken into by hackers allegedly from China, The India Express reported on July 1.

The computers were found infected with a virus that allegedly collected and transmitted confidential files and documents to Chinese IP addresses, the newspaper said.

The alleged way of leaking information is feasible, but IP addresses cannot be used as evidence of where the hackers come from, said Tang Lan, a cyber studies expert with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

Hackers' IP addresses can change, and it is difficult to precisely trace their original countries, Tang told the Global Times.

If India believes Chinese hackers are responsible for the leakage, it should communicate with and ask for legal assistance from related organizations in China, instead of abruptly criticizing China, Tang added.

The extent of the loss is unknown, and officials said it was premature to comment on the sensitivity of the compromised data. But the navy is believed to have indicted at least six mid-level officers for procedural lapses that led to the security breach.

The Eastern Naval Command plans operations and deployments in the South China Sea and beyond. Several sensitive projects are also being undertaken near Visakhapatnam, including India's first nuclear missile submarine, the INS Arihant, which is currently undergoing trials.

This is the second cyber security breach which has come to light this year in the navy. Four officers from the technical branch were earlier tried for allegedly possessing classified information on their personal computers and sharing the information on social networking sites such as Facebook, said India's Zeenews.