New Delhi: The daily coronavirus infections fell below 14,000 for the second time this month taking India's COVID-19 caseload to 1,05,71,773, while 145 new fatalities were recorded, the lowest in around eight months, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.

A total of 13,788 infections have been reported in a day. The country's death toll increased to 1,52,419 with 145 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. The recoveries have crossed 1.02 crore.

The daily COVID-19 infections were 12,548 on January 12.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,02,11,342 pushing the national COVID-19 recovery rate of 96.59 per cent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.44 per cent.

The COVID-19 active caseload remained below 3 lakh.

There are 2,08,012 active cases of coronavirus infections in the country which comprises 1.97 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.

India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16.It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.

According to the ICMR, 18,70,93,036 samples have been tested up to January 17 with 5,48,168 samples being tested on Sunday.

The 145 new fatalities include 50 from Maharashtra, 21 from Kerala, 12 from West Bengal and 8 from Delhi.

A total of 152419 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 50,438 from Maharashtra followed by 12,264 from Tamil Nadu, 12,166 from Karnataka, 10,746 from Delhi, 10,053 from West Bengal, 8,576 from Uttar Pradesh, 7,140 from Andhra Pradesh and 5,504 from Punjab.

The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.

"Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research," the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.

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Washington: Amidst the tense border tension between India and China, a Chinese government-linked group of hackers targeted India's critical power grid system through malware, a US company has claimed in its latest study, raising suspicion whether last year's massive power outage in Mumbai was a result of the online intrusion.

Recorded Future, a Massachusetts-based company which studies the use of the internet by state actors, in its recent report details the campaign conducted by a China-linked threat activity group RedEcho targeting the Indian power sector.

The activity was identified through a combination of large-scale automated network traffic analytics and expert analysis.

Data sources include the Recorded Future Platform, SecurityTrails, Spur, Farsight and common open-source tools and techniques, the report said.

On October 12, a grid failure in Mumbai resulted in massive power outages, stopping trains on tracks, hampering those working from home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and hitting the stuttering economic activity hard.

It took two hours for the power supply to resume for essential services, prompting Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to order an enquiry into the incident.

In its report, Recorded Future notified the appropriate Indian government departments prior to publication of the suspected intrusions to support incident response and remediation investigations within the impacted organisations.

There was no immediate response from the Indian government on the study by the US company.

Since early 2020, Recorded Future's Insikt Group observed a large increase in suspected targeted intrusion activity against Indian organisations from the Chinese state-sponsored group.

The New York Times, in a report, said that the discovery raises the question about whether the Mumbai outage was meant as a message from Beijing about what might happen if India pushed its border claims too vigorously.

According to the Recorded Future report, from mid-2020 onwards, Recorded Future's midpoint collection revealed a steep rise in the use of infrastructure tracked as AXIOMATICASYMPTOTE, which encompasses ShadowPad command and control (C2) servers, to target a large swathe of India's power sector.

Ten distinct Indian power sector organisations, including four of the five Regional Load Despatch Centres (RLDC) responsible for operation of the power grid through balancing electricity supply and demand, have been identified as targets in a concerted campaign against India's critical infrastructure.

Other targets identified included two Indian seaports, it said.

According to the report, the targeting of Indian critical infrastructure offers limited economic espionage opportunities.

However, we assess they pose significant concerns over potential pre-positioning of network access to support Chinese strategic objectives, it said.

Pre-positioning on energy assets may support several potential outcomes, including geostrategic signalling during heightened bilateral tensions, supporting influence operations, or as a precursor to kinetic escalation, Recorded Future said.

RedEcho has strong infrastructure and victimology overlaps with Chinese groups APT41/Barium and Tonto Team, while ShadowPad is used by at least five distinct Chinese groups, it said.

The high concentration of IPs (Internet Protocols) resolving to Indian critical infrastructure entities communicating over several months with a distinct subset of AXIOMATICASYMPTOTE servers used by RedEcho indicate a targeted campaign, with little evidence of wider targeting in Recorded Future's network telemetry, it said.

Recorded Future said that in the lead-up to the May 2020 border skirmishes, it observed a noticeable increase in the provisioning of PlugX malware C2 infrastructure, much of which was subsequently used in intrusion activity targeting Indian organisations.

The PlugX activity included the targeting of multiple Indian government, public sector and defence organisations from at least May 2020, it said.

While not unique to Chinese cyber espionage activity, PlugX has been heavily used by China-nexus groups for many years.

Throughout the remainder of 2020, we identified a heavy focus on the targeting of Indian government and private sector organisations by multiple Chinese state-sponsored threat activity groups, it said.

In its report, Recorder Future alleged that it also observed the suspected Indian state-sponsored group Sidewinder target Chinese military and government entities in 2020, in activity overlapping with recent Trend Micro research.

The Massachusetts-based company's report came as the armies of the two countries began disengagement of troops locked in over eight-month-long standoff in eastern Ladakh.

Both countries reached a mutual agreement last month for the disengagement of troops from the most contentious area of North and South banks of the Pangong Lake.