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Is India ready for Cyber Warfare?

Cyber Warfare – A term that has been stirring all the recent news reports throughout the globe. As we know, in Cyber Warfare, computers and networks linking various computers are used both as the attacker and the victim. That is, the act of carrying out cyber attacks (like evading the defenses of one nation from a computer system based out in another nation) is known as Cyber Warfare. It is being predicted that the third world war, if & when it happens, will not be fought on a battle field but will be fought via computer systems stationed in the nations at war. Cyber wars can also be initiated by individuals, who are expert in hacking, against nations, corporations or civilizations. One of the main reasons which make this method of warfare more favorable than any other is its cheap availability. No deadly weapons, ammunitions, missiles, manpower or finances are required to carry cyber attack and it can still have more disastrous effect than the wars that are fought upfront. The developed countries, like the US, have been facing this threat from a long time and have deployed various resources to defend their systems from such attacks (although, they still are among the most targeted nations in the world and the attackers still manage to evade their cyber defenses). Since digitization, the core assets of our country like the transport networks, the financial networks and the networks associated with the power grids are being transformed from the all-paper means to being connected with the internet, which puts India on the radar as well.

1.According to a report issued by Economic Times earlier in 2017, the most frequently targeted networks of the nation include the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of External Affairs, Indo Tibetan Border Police and Defense Research & Development Organization.

2.About a decade ago, India’s military Intelligence team carried out a secret mission that hacked into one of its rival country’s government networks to snoop out some significant information. This proves that the concept of cyber attacks is not new to our country, neither is the realization that we have to enhance our nation’s pre-existing cyber capabilities. The only difference has been in the approach. So far, we have been playing offensive rather than focusing on strengthening the defenses, which now has become an inescapable concern.

3.Colonel Gabi Siboni (Colonel in the Israel Defense Forces Reserve Service, a Senior Research Fellow and the Director of Military, Strategic Affairs and Cyber Warfare Programs at the Institute for National Security Studies) states the US, China, Russia, the UK and Israel as the strongest countries when it comes to the existing capabilities of the Cyber Military. According to him, “Countries that do not invest in IT protection will become (or already are) easy targets of criminal elements”.

So, is India ready for Cyber Warfare?!

The IT capabilities of our nation are in decent conditions but “we lack the proper policy formation and implementation at the government’s end”, an anonymous official reported to the Economic Times; what we need is for them to aim for higher levels of expertise which only come by making masses aware of the threat faced by the cyber attacks, the knowledge that would help in defending from such attacks and the zeal to work with the world to guard our security systems.

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