Friday, January 15, 2010

Indian National Security Needs Information Warfare Capabilities

Information Warfare and Cyber Terrorism are issues that cannot be taken lightly by any country. From these threats emerge the necessity of having a robust cyber security for defense forces in India. These issues are important as they strike at the very root of the critical ICT infrastructure protection in India. However, India is not doing the needful in this regard. Cyber War Capabilities should be an Integral Part of Indian National Defense and Security says India’s leading Techno-Legal Expert Praveen Dalal.

Today countries all over the World are actively engaged in some form or other of Cyber war/Information warfare. For instance, the US Air Force has had Information Warfare Squadrons since the 1980s. In fact, the official mission of the US Air Force is now, "To provide sovereign options for the defense of the United States and its global interests. To fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace", with the latter referring to its Information Warfare role.

As the Air Force often risks aircraft and aircrews to attack strategic enemy communications targets, remotely disabling such targets using software and other means can provide a safer alternative. In addition, disabling such networks electronically (instead of explosively) also allows them to be quickly re-enabled after the enemy territory is occupied. Similarly, counter information warfare units are employed to deny such capability to the enemy. The first application of these techniques was used against Iraqi communications networks in the first Gulf War.

Also during the 1991 Gulf War, Dutch hackers stole information about U.S. troop movements from U.S. Defense Department computers and tried to sell it to the Iraqis, who thought it was a hoax and turned it down. In January 1999, U.S. Air Intelligence computers were hit by a coordinated attack, part of which appeared to come from Israeli and French hacking. These are some of the examples how Internet is becoming an essential part of modern warfare.

According to Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law and the leading Techno-Legal Expert of India, “India needs a sophisticated and robust technological command centre to defend its global network of computer systems. It must develop both offensive and defensive capabilities under one roof. Strategic information and tactical inputs are essential part of modern warfare that can be lost or gained through Cyber war methods”.

There is no doubt that India needs good cyber war capabilities to meet the growing threats of information warfare. It would be a good idea to have a “Centralised ICT Command Center” in this regard as suggested by Perry4Law for intelligence agencies of India.