Everything goes online including the war- An introduction to cyber terrorism, cyber espionage and cyber warfare

Before proceeding further, i would request you to read my previous article in this link so that you can understand this article in better way.A question on based on this topic that was asked in Civil service main 2013. Screenshot of that question is given below.


Cyber Security at MoD

Image copyrighted by UK Ministry of defense under CC 2.0

Basic definitions:

Cyber terrorism: It is the use of information and technology by anyone for their personal motives. Pakistan terrorist may hack an Indian website to gain attention or to access classified information.

Cyber warfare: It is the next generation war. It is the use of Information and technology for political motives of the state . It is a state sponsored war. Why cyber warfare are deadly? Every device is connected to internet.  It is referred by the term called “internet of thing“. Devices that is to the connected to the internet is going to increase exponentially. According to a research organisation, there will be 26 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020. Every device becomes smart and intelligent, as there are connected to the Internet. Connecting to the network may give lot of flexibility but at the cost of exposing the critical information to the outside world. Critical areas that face risk of being exploited by cyber warfare or cyber terrorism are Energy sector, Defense sector and  Finance sector.

Cyber espionage or cyber spying: It is the use of Information and technology to access and gather classified documents without permission for personal or political or economic motives.

Information warfare: It is the use of Information and technology to collect information and use it for the advantage of national security. It is simply legal way of collecting information by exploiting technological advancement of the country. It also helps nation in preventing the upcoming terror attacks. It was introduced by US army.

Is India prepared for Cyber warfare?

The answer is nope.India is not ready for cyber war. India is still lagging in  the technical expertise required for handling the latest cyber threats.Now the attack has became sophisticated. India has severe shortage of network experts. In a reply to a RTI question, it was stated that there are only 300 network experts working under all the department of government of India. Annual budget spent by India on cyber security is around $7.7 million dollars while US spends around $100 million dollar on cyber security. This clearly shows the complete ignorance of India in cyber security. They may have underestimated the risks or may have overestimated their capacity.

Risks associated with Cyber warfare and cyber terrorism:

  •  Classified information associated with critical sectors such as defense, finance and energy are at risk of being intercepted by mass surveillance programs and by cyber espionage.
  • Websites providing E governance service are at the risk of being hacked and hence results in denial of services to the concerned users.
  • If classified information is leaked, it will be used for military strategy.  Hence, it is similar to inside attack which is the worst nightmare for the national security.

India’s stand on cyber security:

As we have discussed earlier, India is not ready for cyber war as it lacks expertise in the field. In the following passage we will discuss the strategy of India with respect to cyber security.

  • India released National cyber policy on the month of July of 2013 due to the pressure created due to Edward Snowden’s disclosure of NSA’s surveillance program. It is aimed to create safe cyber space for ordinary citizen and government officials.
  • National cyber policy,2013 proposes the formation of National Cyber Coordination Centre which will helps india in intelligence gathering and hence it is aimed to prevent cyber attack by screening the metadata of all types of electronic communication.
  • National cyber policy,2013(NCP) also proposes the formation of National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) which will be responsible for the security of Critical data of defense,finance and energy sector.Before this policy,CERT-IN (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) was responsible for the security of critical data along with being a nodal agency to handle cyber threats in India.
  • NCP,2013 also proposes to create 5 lakh skilled professionals in IT in next 5 years

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