Intelligence officials said Monday that they have been able to pinpoint an attack on a critical building intelligence hub, the intelligence hub on the outskirts of the capital New Delhi, in a single attack that is believed to have been launched from a remote location.
The central government on Friday announced the discovery of a remote-controlled drone attack on the building of the intelligence agency, the Intelligence Bureau, at about 4 a.m. local time, but it has yet to publicly identify the target.
A senior official said the drone was capable of carrying a “substantial” payload, and that it appeared to have flown for several minutes before it was shot down by a small military plane.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing, said the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was equipped with a radar, and could be remotely controlled by anyone on the planet.
It is not clear how long the drone had been in the air.
The officials said that a large number of buildings on the site had been damaged in the attack, with some damaged to the level of being unusable.
The officials said the building where the drone landed appeared to be one of the critical components of the facility, where data are stored.
The intelligence hub is the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Bureau (CIA), the Indian government’s top intelligence agency.
The drone was not seen in photographs or video footage released by the Indian authorities.
India has been under a major cyber threat in recent years, including the cyberattack that targeted the nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011, and the recent cyberattack on the World Bank and the Indian embassy in Washington, D.C. It has been one of India’s top threats since the launch of a major offensive in July 2016 to defeat Indian cyber-espionage capabilities.
The CIA is based in the Washington, DC, office.
The CIA did not respond to requests for comment.
The intelligence hub was not the only building hit by the drone attack.
Another building, the office of the Indian ambassador to the United States, was also hit by a drone, according to the official, but officials at the embassy said the damage was minor.
India’s national security adviser, Ajit Doval, confirmed the drone strike on Twitter, saying, “A drone has just crashed in the Intelligence Hub at the National Security Complex in New Delhi.”
Doval said he did not know the exact number of dead or injured people or if there were casualties from the drone.
India is one of five countries that have declared a state of emergency in response to the threat posed by cyberattacks.
The government has deployed an estimated 50,000 people across the country to counter the threat.