Chinese state-affiliated newspaper Global Times on Tuesday blamed India for targeting “China’s multiple sectors as well as individuals in the past two years during the epidemic.” The news story cited “experts” from Chinese tech giant 360 Security Technology as the source of the unsubstantiated allegations. These “experts” told Global Times that Indian hacker groups used “trendy affairs and topics” to launch attacks on systems of Chinese organizations and individuals. The newspaper also claimed that the alleged attacks have been detected over the last two years during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The newspaper had published a similar news story on Monday where it was claimed that Anity Labs, Chinese anti-virus company, had “busted” attempts by Indian hackers to launch “attacks on China’s defense and military units as well as state-owned enterprises.” The news story titled “China busts cyberattacks from India targeted at China’s defense and military departments” referred to the statements by an official of Anity Labs, Li Bosong, who accused India of launching cyberattacks against Chinese organizations since April 2019.

The spate of such news stories from the Chinese state media comes at a time when India and China are in the middle of a longstanding border dispute. In a recent security event, NSA Ajit Doval raised concerns about “deliberate weaponisation” of dangerous pathogens. This apparent dig on China came from the person at the helm of the Indian security and intelligence apparatus. During the event, he was also quoted as saying, “The new areas of warfare have shifted from merely territorial frontiers to the civil societies.” 

Earlier this year, India’s power ministry responded to a story published in The New York Times that linked last year’s grid failure in Mumbai to the Chinese cyberattacks. The ministry admitted that a failed attempt was made by Chinese hackers to break into the country’s power infrastructure systems. The statement also clarified that no data breach was detected.