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Gear up for the cyber battlefield

Ramprasad P Writes: We want it or not, cyber warfare has become an inevitable threat in the modern world. Cyberspace is developing itself into the fourth wing of defence capabilities after Army, Navy and Air force. According to one of the documents of NSA, United States leaked by Edward Snowden, it clearly states that the next major conflict will start in Cyberspace

Ramprasad P Writes: We want it or not, cyber warfare has become an inevitable threat in the modern world. Cyberspace is developing itself into the fourth wing of defence capabilities after Army, Navy and Air force. According to one of the documents of NSA, United States leaked by Edward Snowden, it clearly states that the next major conflict will start in Cyberspace. A number of developed and developing nations are working immensely on digitally arming themselves. Although few countries have openly stated that they are investing a huge amount of money in cyber intelligence and counter-attack capabilities, there is no clarity in each country’s cyber warfare capabilities. The recent ‘WannaCry’ attack launched by the hacker group, ‘The Shadow Brokers’ is a leaked virus which believed to be created by United States National Security Agency. There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the intentions of the nation-states and security of those weapons. Until today, there has not been a full-fledged cyber war between two equally capable countries. So the magnitude of destruction which can be caused to this world is still not experienced. Modern militaries depend very much on information technology for surveillance, command and control, navigation and targeting. The ability to gather, scrutinize and exploit or even manipulate information is always been key to win wars. Any attack on the critical infrastructure of a country has a high trembling effect on the economy, security and the society as a whole. Countries no longer like to risk their soldiers in the battlefield. Instead of blowing up an airbase through conventional weapons and facing a counterattack will risk lives, countries prefer silently building their capabilities to bring down the adversary’s airbase through cyber weapons. And one such example is the Stuxnet attack by Israel-US which crippled the Iranian nuclear enrichment facility. And the trend is that this kind of warfare is more or less practiced like a Guerilla Information warfare. This form of a cyber-battlefield is invisible. Even though it is by a nation-state, they can always distance themselves by saying that they did have any hand in it. This type of situation is dangerous because no one could be held accountable for their act. Sometimes an attack that looks like coming from the government of a country might not be one. It might be a non-state actor, semi-independent funded hacker or just a psychopath criminal who want to create confusions. The speed of cyber-attack tools’ proliferation increases the risk of less cyber-attack resistant capable countries getting hold of hazardous weapons. They might become an easy target for non-state actors to steal weapons from.  This information systems are very complex in nature and are becoming more and more challenging to defend. In order to protect oneself the country is in the compulsion to upgrade additional resources and skills. The only way for a country to protect itself from all these non-linear warfare is to equip itself of a full-spectrum defence. To fight an unpredictable, robust and swiftly escalating cyber conflict battlefield, there is a need for cultural transformation in what look as national se

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