Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cyber terror - The new face of Terrorism !!

The word "terror" is a familiar word for us but when it combines with the word "cyber" then it adds a new dimension to it . "Cyber terror" is a new hand of terror which now has become a global threat 

Cyberterrorism is a phrase used to describe the use of Internet based attacks in terrorist activities, including acts of deliberate, large-scale disruption of computer networks, especially of personal computers attached to the Internet, by the means of tools such as computer viruses.

The vast and coordinated cyberattack on Google, Northrop Grumman and numerous other American companies demonstrates again that technology not only empowers us to create new and wondrous things but democratizes the ability to be nefarious and destructive. Governments and businesses across the free world must grasp the magnitude of the threat, aggressively retool to counter it and address it without compromising the individual freedom and privacy that the Internet has made possible.
Every day, thousands of malware variants attack and infiltrate our national cyberinfrastructure. The attacks on Google exposed a major problem of online globalization: Anyone can become a spy. 
Unlike in movies, a foreign government no longer needs secret agents to obtain valuable secrets. Today, teenagers armed with nothing more than a personal computer can cripple the networks of our governments, financial institutions and largest corporations, while eating pizza at a local Internet kiosk.  
For governments and businesses, the urgent challenge is to apply the technical infrastructure crucial to protect computer networks and their sensitive information. Technology that guards against cyberattacks requires two capabilities: rapid attribution analysis and response; and protection of privacy and civil liberties without compromising trade secrets or commercial interests.
There are already products that meet these requirements, but this vital infrastructure is missing from the organizations that need it most.
A key challenge of preventing and responding to cyberattacks is what experts call “attribution.” Security operations must determine, in a narrow time frame, who is attacking — and then be able to prove it. 
Cyberespionage can originate from a nation-state, a terrorist organization or a computer-savvy teenager sitting in his or her bedroom. Discovering the actors, or network of actors, responsible is often extremely difficult. However, it is essential in order to determine the appropriate response, and to the technology vendors asked to catalyze that response.
India and cyber terror
cyber terrorism is the next big form of terrorism that India is likely to face, says the Intelligence Bureau. Already, the agency has issued numerous warnings on cyber attacks. The first signs of tech-savvy terrorists came to light during the serial blasts that rocked the country a year ago. The question, however, is how geared up are we to face the threat?The immediate threat to India is from our immediate neighbours, Pakistan and China. According to the IB, China may try and destabilise our economy by launching attacks on our banking sectors. Pakistan, on the other hand, may attack essential commodity-related services instead. 
Reports indicate that for a terrorist organisation, the easiest way to launch an attack on India would be through the cyber route. It is high investment, but it saves them the trouble of manpower on the field and the impact such an attack could cause is immense.
IB reports also suggest that terrorist organisations could start an Internet war by hacking into websites and sending out viruses to destabilise the enemy nation. The forms of cyber assaults would include cyber vandalism, destruction of essential commodity-related sites (ESCOMs) and phishing.

The cyber war on India is likely to be fought in three stages. First the enemy would bring down the control systems of defence installations, Parliament, railways and airports. Secondly, they would look to attack financial services such as banks and stock markets. Finally, ESCOMs and other utilities services will be taken over.
It will surely create a lot of panic and if they succeed, it could cause a lot of destruction since it would take days before the services actually recover.

Although Pakistan-based terrorists will prove lethal, the worst attack could come from China through the use of the Distributed Denial of Services attacks. In a DDOS attack, the bandwidth of a targeted system is flooded. They keep attacking other systems by multiplying and creating a botnet.

India has had its share of such attacks, but they have not been on a large scale as yet. The sector that has been targetted the most through such an attack is the telecom sector, but they have managed to survive it thanks to a strong infrastructure. However, companies have to constantly upgrade to be one up on the enemy.

What India needs to do?
A combined effort is needed to counter the cyber threat, say experts. Also, cyber crime police stations need to be revamped soon.
 The Ministry of Finance too has upgraded its infrastructure to prevent cyber strikes. They have introduced a two token system, which mandates that a person carry with him a normal password and also a token that generates pin codes in real time. While logging-in the person will have to apply both.

Sources also point out that in key areas such as defence sectors, the use of a personal laptop has been banned. Only few laptops have been connected to both intranet and Internet.
There is a legal side to the problem too. Experts point out that if India needs to cater to this problem it cannot do so on its own. It will need the help of other countries. However, India is not a signatory to the 45-nation international convention on cyber crimes. Moreover, India still awaits a legal framework on cyber attacks.


  1. Abhinav
    This was pretty scary for all people out here on the world wide web. Looks worse for my friend in India I hope you all take steps to protect yourselves.

  2. True jess...its an important issue and needs serious attention world wide..

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