Recently, many security personnel made statements about the global model that would probably be followed in the next generation information warfare. Their research papers on global cyber diplomacy were quite eye opening. Western countries have set up research units, started academic research centre, and runs full-scale cyber attack rehearsals but India has no such provision. China is one of the best countries in this respect; they have channelised young techies and hackers towards cyber war. It is almost certain that at this very moment, our government’s compromised computers in multiple departments are quietly sending confidential data to anonymous servers in China. Our embassy correspondence, defense deployment plans, military personnel records, weapon blueprints, or perhaps even your passport or visa information are reaching them. Unfortunately, in our country ‘Hackers’ are yet to have social acceptance.
India has talent and hackers in abundance. One needs to channelise and use them for spreading the awareness message to their family and friends. Many young techies and hackers are conducting seminars in the various part of India. There are workshops, seminars, coaching classes but the basic instinct of working towards the cause is missing. Everything has become commercial. Hacking has become fatal attraction amongst youngsters and hard core hackers, who can be real asset to this country, are not respected and called by any Government bodies. Even police on local level invites hackers when email hack like crimes are registered. Government lacks mechanism. According to CERT-In, the national incident response centre, a government nodal agency, at least 42 million Indians were hit by cyber crimes and the recorded loss of the same was a staggering $8 billion loss in disaster in the past 12 months. India is the third-most affected nation in this regard. The United States and China filters, monitors and sniffs each development and possible threat, where as India lags behind these countries. We are yet to acknowledge the magnitude of hackers. Very recently, a few IT companies and security industries have employed hackers (with or without certification) and that is inadequate because according to latest assessment by CERT-In, India is in need of more than 4 lakh ethical hackers. CERT’s ethical hacker’s means hackers certified by them, but many are just randomly buying these papers and have no relation to cyber space. CERT-In is also biggest victim of education mafias. Earlier, ethical hacking was not measured as a good career option. But now, things have changed and our country has realised their importance. It’s high time that we need to follow offensive security options. There is nothing difficult being a hacker. Hackers have to know how to scratch apart latest technologies and unless he learns to barge in security protocols he won’t be even thinking of securing it. Indian hackers in today’s time are much more updated and upgraded in their skills with all latest technologies. Having in-house cyber crime investigation departments and to continuously update latest happenings in the forensic space needs lot of training and time. There is no single college or research centre which is dedicated to hackers and hacking techniques. Police departments and cyber cells in India are proven to be utter flop due to lack of upgradations. Human intervention is one of the weakest links in security systems. We cannot inherently separate it from technology. The Cyber Crime Cell has done a good job in setting up infrastructure and learning tools to track cyber criminals. However, it is equally important to increase awareness about such crimes to common people. Not last but the least, we lack good interpreters (advocates) of cyber law. We have stringent laws pertaining to cyber crime and to protect intellectual property or virtual assets. But when it comes to executing and implementing the expertise, we are lacking somewhere. There are several groups within the Government which works on cyber security but they don’t share information with each other in the greed of keeping credits to themselves.
We also need to foster hacking talent and get hackers into the system. There are many geniuses there. We need to find them. This is exactly what the US is doing. Irony is that these officers, present papers, give interviews, engage thousands in research but all that remain on paper. India has been methodically and frequently compromised by ongoing cyber-attacks. Many of these attacks are state-sponsored, and are in fact cyber surveillance against the highest levels of the Indian government, military and economy. India has seen many government and defense websites being hacked in the recent times. Our country has been traditionally defensive in terms of information security. Countries such as Israel, Russia have the top hackers in the world. Their offensive approaches helped the respective nations to build systems which are most difficult to hack.
Even with rising alertness and counter-measures slowly being put in place, lax security remains the standard. Our country is not the only exception in facing these tribulations. Almost each nation is under attack with the similar issues. There are competent people in India who is doing their best to resolve these issues, in spite of facing various challenges like lack of monetary support from government, technical illiteracy amongst decision makers, and corruption. One can say it’s the will of particular officer that they are working on such tasks without expecting much from the system. Many times, Indian cyber space was attacked by neighbouring countries. Almost, all government sites are rooted by one or the other hackers. On top of it, social media has proven to be nonsense and a hurdle. General public broadly believe “hackers” are criminals and they are here to destroy. Actually, hacker is someone who explores the limits of software and loves to delve in the world of code. Probably, he is the person to challenge the companies and their self claimed securities. Common citizen is rarely attacked or targeted by any hacker. However, cracker is someone with a malicious intention, mostly driven by profit motives and does this work on the sly. Probably the third and most insidious of them all are the subversive elements who want to disrupt the social/ moral/ ethical fabric – like the ones we have seen recently.