Telecom authorities have blocked as many as 120 headers operated by a group linked to a Chinese entity

Context: Telecom authorities have blocked as many as 120 headers operated by a group linked to a Chinese entity in the past two months based on information provided by the Union Home Ministry.

What is a header?

  • A header, also known as sender ID, is a unique combination of characters or numbers representing the brand or company name of the message sender. 
  • Headers are used by banks, marketing companies, utility providers and even government offices to send bulk messages (SMS) to consumers and customers.

Current Issue?

An investigation by the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) found that the headers were hosted from China.

  • The particular example in this case was the header of West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd.  WBSEDC was compromised and taken over by a Chinese host. 
  • The header was misused to dupe consumers who received messages pertaining to outstanding electricity bills. These SMS contained malicious links, which when clicked would lead to financial loss for the consumer as the hacker would get access to the person’s phone.
  •  Consumers would fall for it as the header genuinely belongs to the electricity distribution company.
  • Further it is for the Threat Analytical Unit (TAU) of the I4C, that analyses the pattern of financial crimes and frauds and sends reports to central agencies such as the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate or State police forces.

About Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (I4C) 

Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (I4C)  is an initiative of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India to deal with cybercrime in the country in a coordinated and comprehensive manner.

I4C focuses on tackling all the issues related to Cybercrime for the citizens, which includes improving coordination between various Law Enforcement Agencies and the stakeholders, driving change in India’s overall capability to tackle Cybercrime and to improve citizen satisfaction levels.

Objectives of I4C

  • To act as a nodal point to curb Cybercrime in the country.
  • To strengthen the fight against Cybercrime committed against women and children.
  • Facilitate easy filing Cybercrime related complaints and identifying Cybercrime trends and patterns.
  • To act as an early warning system for Law Enforcement Agencies for proactive Cybercrime prevention and detection.
  • Awareness creation among public about preventing Cybercrime.
  • Assist States/UTs in capacity building of Police Officers, Public Prosecutors and Judicial Officers in the area of cyber forensic, investigation, cyber hygiene, cyber-criminology, etc.

The Components of the I4C Scheme

  • National Cybercrime Threat Analytics Unit (TAU)
  • National Cybercrime Reporting
  • Platform for Joint Cybercrime Investigation Team
  • National Cybercrime Forensic Laboratory (NCFL) Ecosystem
  • National Cybercrime Training Centre (NCTC)
  • Cybercrime Ecosystem Management Unit
  • National Cyber Crime Research and Innovation Centre

About National Cybercrime Threat Analytics Unit (NCTAU)

  • It is a platform for Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), persons from private sector, academia and research Organisations to work collaboratively in order to analyse all pieces of information relating to Cybercrime. 
  • This unit collects Cybercrime feeds from open sources, National Cybercrime Reporting Portal, CERT-In, and other agencies working in this field, analyse it and further disseminates it to the concerned agencies for taking further appropriate action.
Source: MHA Website
Source: The Hindu

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