Why Indian Army Must Focus on Cyber Security, Army to set up Defence Cyber Academy

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A country’s Cyber security and defence capabilities are not always on the front and are not directly reported to the public. Every country has few organisations that operate secretly and the ones dealing with Cyber crime and cyber warfare organisations are one among these few. India might not be as good as other nations like USA, Israel, or Russia which can be considered on the offensive side, while India being on the defensive side.

Other countries stated above keep attacking their foes on a regular basic to maintain the pressure, while India has been quite loose at this topic. We are keeping up the race in the field of Digital forencis and Cyber Warefare but not completely loosing out of it.

There are a few of private organisations apart from the govt sector who are playing their part. National Security Database, Computer Emergency Response Team which alerts and issues the guidelines on Cyber incidents and ISAC which helps in providing security to cyber space, to name a few. There are dedicated Cyber Command Centers for the 3 wing – Army Navy and Air Force. The country shares a handful of MoUs Memorandum of understanding with other countries for information sharing.

In a recent interview on Wednesday Army chief Bipin Rawat said, that the terrorists across the border are very much technology oriented and that we needed to stay ahead of them to keep the edge. He said that the Indian armed forces must learn to “exploit cyberspace to our advantage and enjoy the benefits of it” if the terrorism has to be ended.

“Cyber is not just important for in conventional warfare domain but also in sub-conventional or proxy warfare”, said Gen Bipin Rawat at the 2 day conference on cyber security and warfare.

gen bipin rawat
General Bipin Rawat

Apart from defining the importance of cyber security he also mentioned as to why the armed forces were denying the usage of some of the niche tech. “Why is it happening? I think this is happening because we are developing the right approach but this approach with extreme caution is preventing us from acquiring these technologies,” he said according to thenewsminute.

As army chief spoke, the Indian army has announced that they are setting up Defence cyber academy, which will comprise of 1000 personnel which will be from all wings of military. It will defend military assets and will also fight against proxy warfare. The terrorists are using social media or internet for gaining publicity/sympathy. In the case of Burhan Wani, he was a militant turned poster boy who used Facebook for a purpose of getting support.

Most of the attacks like the Mumbai train bombings 2006, Serial bombing of Ahmedabad and Delhi in 2008 and the German Bakery attack in Pune 2010 involved Indian Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiban, Student Islamic Movement of India. It is known that the IM used to send emails to the NIA – National Intelligence Agency or any other govt department to reveal the purpose of the attacks and their demands. The terrorist hackers would cover their traces and make it extremely tough for the investigators on being identified and located, this was done by penetrating and gaining access to the unsafe and open Wifi networks in public areas eg railway stations, cafes, metro stations etc.

The IM is also know to recruit new people, collect confidential knowledge, disrupt the national security by spreading terror online, while they used fake messages and spread them and send the intelligence and action team to a wrong location before the Delhi 2008 blast by breaking into an open wifi at a public place.

The terrorist groups use Youtube and social media handle to promote hate against the system and spread terrorism and fulfill their motives. They target and try to persuade the poor Muslim in the country to join the war in Iraq and it was evident by intel of missing of over 100 people from the country, every other person believed to have moved towards the Middle east and to join the Islamic State.

Kaspersky Cybermap states that India is one of the most frequently cyber attacked countries. IT infra is quite poor in the country which makes it vulnerable to attacks inspite of having a good global outsourcing hub for IT services and software solutions.

In 2014, the operator of the twitter account was caught in Bengaluru who was recruiting people for the IS for years to prepare for the war against the Asiatic powers while also posting the videos of US aid worker Perter Kassig’s being beheaded on the account.

The Indian Mujahideen personnel have been reported to use proxy serversĀ  to hide their geographical locations,complicated code to interact with each other, building email account that would self destroy itself if not accessed within 24 hours while IM terrorist are known to run a high tech center in Karachi which helps them in communicating with terrorists in India,Nepal, Sri Lanka and possibly even in the Maldives.

Under section 69 of the IT Act, the C-DOT is allowed to have full access of anyone’s private information on prior approval, denial of which can lead to a 7 year imprisonment. Apart from the military and equipment purchases India actively involves in improving its cyber infrastructure, it now actively gains technology from Israel.

The relations with Israel go back in 2006 when current Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was the chief minister of Gujarat paid a visit to the country to explore about their methods and tricks of efficient irrigation which is a field of Israeli expertise. As a result India brought drip feed technology and has now been buying cyber tech form the country.

India even if getting cyber attack has the highest chances of being attacked by Iran and Pakistan. China doesnt seem to be a threat to the country as it is data hungry nation. Having mass productions of equipments recommended for cyber warfare Russia remains the king here and is a threat to every country on the map.

India to prevent any mishappening should as soon as possible setup cyber defence academies and should recruit tech people to groom them for cyber warfare and security.
The Indian government should develop and update their indigenous systems that are used for their security and military purpose to avoid any unwanted foreign contacts. Nation should try to induce the cyber knowledge to school students from the beginning so as to keep up with the race and have an edge in the cyber space.