Monthly Archives: January 2014

Tri Service Cyber Command For Armed Forces Of India In Pipeline

Tri Service Cyber Command For Armed Forces Of India In PipelineCyber security in India is not upto the mark and as per the expectations. While the cyber attacks are becoming very targeted and highly sophisticated yet India has not made even the most basic efforts to secure its cyberspace. The cyber security trends and developments in India 2013 provided by Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) has also outlined many crucial issues (PDF) that are missing from Indian cyber security initiatives.

For instance, India has no cyber warfare policy. A dedicated cyber warfare policy of India (PDF) must be formulated as soon as possible. Similarly, the critical infrastructure protection in India and its problems, challenges and solutions (PDF) are still to be looked into with great priority. It is only now that India has declared that NTRO would protect the Critical ICT Infrastructures of India.

Similarly, a cyber command for Armed Forces of India was in pipeline for long. Now some progress in this regard has taken place. It has been reported that to counter various forms of cyber attacks, India would soon set up a tri-service cyber command. This development was long due but there was little progress in this regard.

The ministry of defence has a draft on the subject ready which the cabinet committee on security, headed by the prime minister, would be taking up for discussion in the days to come. A note for the cabinet committee on security has been prepared for setting up the tri-service cyber command.

Sources said the office of the chairman, chief of staff committee, has written a detailed note to defence minister AK Antony regarding setting up cyber command. Officials, privy to drafting the cabinet note, have explained that the need to have a cyber command has been felt for a long time, as the cyber security infrastructure of India is “weak”.

This is evident from recent incidents of cyber attacks on India. Last year, Chinese hackers broke into sensitive computer systems at the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam, where the indigenous nuclear submarine Arihant has been undergoing sea trials.

Recently, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) computer systems were breached and sensitive files were leaked. A top defence ministry officer admitted that India has delayed on the cyber security front. “Cyber command would ensure both offensive and defensive cyber security capabilities. Issues like cyber warfare, cyber espionage and cyber terrorism, etc. would be taken care of by a cyber command.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, while addressing the combined commanders conference in November, highlighted the need for developing capacities to counter what he described as “global surveillance operations”.

That NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden had allegedly collected information and intercepted communications in India has lent urgency to setting up a cyber command. As per a recent report, the US is the biggest buyer of malware in the world. Global cyber espionage networks are being actively used to spy on other countries. The command and control servers of malware FinFisher were also found in 36 countries, including India.

US International Strategy For Cyberspace

US International Strategy For CyberspaceCyberspace issues have assumed great importance for countries around the world. This is the reason why issues like Cyber Law and Cyber Security have become an essential part of national as well as international ICT policies and strategies.

Although cyberspace is a boundary less place yet there is no internationally acceptable cyberspace treaty till now. Even the basic International Cyber Law Treaty, which can be uniformly accepted by all countries of the world, is missing. Till now India is not a part of this cyber law treaty.

United States (US) has in the past revealed its international strategy for cyberspace to promote an open and secure information and communications infrastructure. US will work internationally to promote an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable information and communications infrastructure that supports international trade and commerce, strengthens international security, and fosters free expression and innovation, said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in remarks during the release of strategy at the State Department.

To achieve that goal, we will build and sustain an environment in which norms of responsible behavior guides states actions, sustains partnerships, and support the rule of law in cyberspace, she added.

What they are able to do in cyberspace, whether they can exchange ideas and opinions openly, freely explore the subjects of their choosing, stay safe from cyber criminals, and engage in professional and personal activities online, confident that doing so will remain private and secure, depends a great deal on the policies that we will adopt together, she added.

Of late, Civil Liberties of netizens are openly violated in the name of national security. We have already voiced our concerns in India in this regard. We believe that India must reconcile Civil Liberties and National Security Requirements in the larger interest of Civil Liberty Protection in Cyberspace.

We have also dedicated an initiative titled Human Rights Protection in Cyberspace that has been providing Techno Legal ICT Policies and Strategies for protecting Civil Liberties in Cyberspace.

While US initiative is praiseworthy, it cannot succeed till it collaborates at international level. We may secure some aspects of cyberspace at national level but at international level it is an altogether different issue. But at least a good step has been taken by US and we welcome the same.