Cyber threats facing India

India’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, inaugurated the 14th edition of ‘c0c0n’, the annual cyber security and hacking conference. Inauguration of a cyber security conference meant to discuss civilian use of cyberspace and the precautions surrounding it by the Chief of Defence Staff highlights the direct relationship between a common man’s use of the internet and national security.

During the event, General Rawat drew attention to the fact that India saw a mammoth 500% rise in cybercrimes. Moreover, recently, it has come to the fore that India saw a 261% increase in Chinese cyberattacks. These two statistics, of course, cannot be seen in isolation.

Chief of Defence, General Rawat higlights 500% rise in cybercrimes in India
Chief of Defence, General Rawat higlights 500% rise in cybercrimes in India

Chinese cyberattacks the world over

Currently, India is not the only country facing Chinese cyberattacks, but most countries the world over are troubled by this menace. Like India, Taiwan reported that it faces a whopping five million-plus Chinese cyberattacks each day. Also, the cyber powerhouse, the United States, is time and again hit with large-scale Chinese cyberattacks. One such was against Microsoft in July this year. China’s intelligence agency, the Ministry of State Security, is always on the prowl to steal American intellectual property, trade secrets, and other high-value information through its hackers.

Not just foes but even China’s friends are facing their cyberattacks. A couple of months back, cybersecurity firm Zirconium pointed at China expanding cyber espionage, particularly in Russia, for political, economic and military advantages.

China Information Warfare

An essential part of Chinese cyber warfare is the ‘information war’. The Journal of Defence Studies published a report that revealed an elaborate structure of Chinese cyber espionage and underlined expansion of their information warfare capacities. It also pointed at the Chinese army’s Science and Engineering University having started dedicated courses in information warfare, providing advanced training in the same.

50 Cent Army

Besides, the Chinese Communist Party has also built the ’50 Cent Army’, a group of internet users whose numbers reportedly range between 500,000 to about two million. The Chinese regime pays 50 cents per pro-China post and for trolling those opposed to China to the members of this online militia.

Pakistan’s new cyber security policy

In addition to China, what is adding to the concerns of cyber experts is the new cyber security policy unveiled by Pakistan. Seeking to position itself as a significant player globally in cybersecurity, Pakistan launched Cyber Security Policy 2021. Cyber experts believe that Pakistan intends to pursue offensive cyber capabilities globally. Considering Pakistan as the global epicentre of terrorism and also the Pak-China cyber cooperation established under the CPEC project, this happening is considered serious.

In view of these reports and happenings, India is already building its cyber defence. New Delhi is in the final stages of releasing its national cybersecurity strategy. Consequently, the United Nations has ranked India 10th on Global Cybersecurity Index, a jump of 37 places since 2018. With all this, it appears that the cyber threats for nations, corporates and ordinary people will only grow, for which it will be essential to get equipped.

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