Is India Ready For a Cyber Attack?
Cyber warfare is turning into the next means of attack and India is working towards building its defence.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) on 26 February officially confirmed that it conducted airstrikes on terror camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and across the border, which is likely to result in some sort of retaliation from its neighbour. But instead of thinking about air or even land strikes, we’re looking at India’s preparedness for a possible cyber warfare battle from other countries, including Pakistan.
Veteran army chiefs and cyber security experts believe that cyber warfare has become the fifth dimension of war, after land, water, air and space.
We all know that India is evolving into a digital-friendly nation and economy as well, but it’s fair to say that compared to most developed nations in the world, India is in its infancy, when it comes to tackling any possible cyber attack.
Lt. General (retd) D.S. Hooda recently told IANS that “with critical infrastructure and military installations getting connected through the internet, the threat of cyber attacks was becoming increasingly lethal and that an emerging India was particularly at risk of such attacks.”
He’s probably got a point. India’s position as an emerging nuclear and economical powerhouse is likely to attract attention from nations with lesser means, and attacking them in cyberspace is a cost-effective and a destructive strategy.
Former National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan feels that both the government and the industry need to upgrade the old crypto protocols to prevent any major security breach that could adversely affect the country and its people.
Even for a country like Pakistan, which carries a nuclear threat, cyber warfare is quickly becoming a modus operandi that garners quick results.
Often we’ve seen hacking attempts made on various websites of the Indian government, claimed to have been done from across the border. He sees no reason why Pakistan would hesitate to start attacking India in cyberspace.
However, sounding cautious, Hooda, who was the architect of the famous surgical strikes against Pakistan in 2016 as the Northern Army Command chief, said that India was ranked third in terms of facing threats of cyber warfare, but was at 23 position when it comes to preparedness to deal with them.
Clearly, systems and processes need to be upgraded to meet the required standards.
What is India Doing?
We’ve seen where India stands on the cyber warfare front, so what is the country and its government doing to change the situation?
Since 2018, the military has been working behind the scenes to set up a force to handle cyber warfare, picked from from all corners of the Indian Air Force, the Army and the Navy with expertise in the domain to assist in such operations.
The Defence Cyber Agency (DCA), coordinating with the National Cyber Security Advisor (NCSA) will work and has reportedly got around 1,000 people working out of the Army, Air Force and Navy.
The DCA will make of use of the Indian Army’s indigenously-developed Bharat Operating System Solutions (Boss) which will has helped in guarding the Indian Army’s communication network till date.
With the internet user base increasing by the year, and more devices connecting to the internet, the cyber threat is critical and India needs to improve its existing systems to make sure the enemy doesn’t breach its defence with ease.
(With inputs from IANS and Asian Age)
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