India gears up to thwart cyber threat

India gears up to thwart cyber threat

Monday, 24 August 2009, 01:50 Hrs   |    14 Comments
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New Delhi: Facing mounting attacks from the virtual world, the Indian defence establishment is now gearing up for cyber warfare.

Officials working in South Block, where the Indian defence ministry is located, have been receiving mails from fake email identities (IDs) on a regular basis that is aimed at hacking into its computer systems.

"We regularly receive emails from fake IDs like from Chief of Army Staff Secretariat, director media, media cell etc. We know that it is from a fake ID so we do not open it lest it bugs our systems," a senior Indian Army official working in the defence ministry official told IANS. He wished to remain anonymous as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Recently, mediapersons covering defence related matters received an email from the DPR (Defence Press Relations) ID outlining plans of the Pakistan Army against India. The defence ministry immediately took note of the email and swung into action.

"The email ID on Yahoo was used by the defence public relations office earlier. However, when an ID was created on gmail it was abandoned. Somebody apparently hacked the ID and sent the mail," a defence ministry official said.

"The password of the abandoned email was immediately restored. The matter is currently being looked into," the official added.

There have been attempts in the past where Chinese hackers have broken into the computer network of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), prompting the government to fortify their systems.

Earlier this year a number of computers were reportedly found to be compromised with a malicious spyware that had been sending copies of internal e-mail messages to a rogue address.

During last year's Army Commanders' Conference it was decided to boost the "cyber-security" of its information networks right down to the level of divisions, which are field formations with over 15,000 troops.

Apart from creating cyber-security organisations down to the division-level to guard against cyber warfare and data thefts, the army top brass also underlined the urgent need for "periodic cyber-security audits" by the Army Cyber Security Establishment.

"We have our cyber experts conducting cyber audit on our systems from time-to-time to check against possible bugs," said an armed forces official.

During the cyber audits, the experts check the password strength of the accounts.

"We are being advised to give an alpha-numeric password with characters in upper and lower case," the official added.

Generally the armed forces refrain from finding the sender's identity as it involves a long procedure of writing to the Google headquarters with proper authorisation. However, the Indian armed forces have also issued a set of 'do's and dont's' to contain the menace of cyber crime.

"We have been instructed to work on stand-alone computers with no internet connections. Moreover, we cannot keep any confidential data in our hard disks. Nobody is allowed to use a pen drive inside the South Block and the rule is strictly adhered to," said another Indian Army official.

Also the Indian Army had issued circular to its officials asking them not to post work-related information like ranks, place of posting etc on social networking sites like Orkut and Facebook. The circular had asked soldiers to remove such information from their networking profiles in case they had already posted it.

The armed forces have also undertaken various measures to sensitise its officials on cyber usage.
Source: IANS
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Reader's comments(14)
1: Indian government should be totally threatened and made to piss in pants only then they will create jobs and focus on public and real development otherwise these guys eat worse than pigs and care a shit for the country so much of nonsense is going why not clean it up if you cannot do not be a part of government
Posted by:Krishna - 25 Aug, 2009
2: India is No.1 in IT sector. Advance countries like U.S., U.K are hiring IT professional from India. But in India govt. sectors are not advanced in IT. Indian govt. is not implementing the advanced IT technologies. Indian govt. should look in to that. Make India a powerful country
Posted by:Sanoj Nambiar - 24 Aug, 2009
3: Defence as been get IT security professionals .JAI HIND
Posted by:MAHESH - 24 Aug, 2009
4: Defence should go IT security standards like iso27001, atleast the process will make defence secure
Posted by:rajesh - 24 Aug, 2009
5: Its Funny, while Naval command in Kochi has gone for wire less solutions, these guys are talking about cyber security. No country in the world have entrusted their Defense network with wireless IP networks, The fools here have done it stating that they are fool proof. even God cannot save India from these highly educated Bureaucratic double refined fools..
Let Ganapathy Bappa save India & all of us
Posted by:Sad Indian - 23 Aug, 2009
Well said. These fellows are unable to check/counter attack intrusion in the border. How r they going to protect cyber field? (first of all, do they know how to open an email id?!). Kargil happened due to corrupt army officials who swindled the budget money and slept cooly. If the army's biodata of officers are screened it will reveal around 30-40 % of their officers strength are the sons/grandsons/daughters/son-in-laws of past officers. How can one expect sincerity from them?
what\'s the use Replied to: Sad Indian - 23 Aug, 2009
then why dont u take the daring step and join the army and stop infiltartion at the border!
it were they who took bullets on there chests in kargil, in mumbai and whereeber needed!
u thankless idiot cant even pay ur taxes honestly and u talk abt sincearty
jai hind Replied to: what\'s the use - 23 Aug, 2009
well said jai Hind. Problem with these kind of people is that they just know how to talk rubbish.

I would like to share a story.

Once Army puts up the request for Snow Scooter which will be used by the Jawans in the glacier region for patrolling . On this our politicians said that these Jawans are recruited for patrolling on foot and if they get these scooters they will become lazy and will not be able to do there duty properly.

On getting this reply the commander of that region invited those politicians to visit there post as jawans will be happy and inspired to see them. On this all the politicians visited the post, next day after having Breakfast the commander of the post announced that the VIP Guest has visited the post to Boost your moral and for that they will go with the first patrolling party to the post near to our borders.

As these VIP’s were not able to speak they have to walk till the next post, as they walked in that rough terrain for 5 KM they became exhausted and couldn’t walk.. Then the commander informed them that they still have to walk another 15 Km till they reaches the next safe house. These VIP’s turned Pale and said they just cant walk, they were air lifted by Air Force Choppers.

Immedialty after reaching to there offices in Delhi, they cleared the request of Snow Scooters.

The Moral of the story is until you actually get in the shoes of these Jawans you cannot feel there pain and difficulty they face.

People like "what\'s the use" should live there life for one day and then they will understand who scarifice for whome and how "what\'s the use" is able to live in peace in this country and able to comment like this freely.

And this can happen in INDIA only, if you were in Pakistan and try commeting about there army like this, then you face the music.
Raj Replied to: jai hind - 23 Aug, 2009
Excellent Message given by you. I am also a son of Defence Personnel. I know the difficulties they are facing because I stayed in J&k for four years. Its very terrific
Sanoj Nambiar Replied to: Raj - 24 Aug, 2009
well said..
Indian Replied to: jai hind - 23 Aug, 2009
You bitch what the 2 post said is correct and they are many corrupted army officials in the army. The guys who died in the kargil war are mostly soldiers not brigadiers or majors.
Kathirvel Replied to: jai hind - 23 Aug, 2009
are you an idot, brigadiers or majors never go for war, they are there to make strategies on how to win the war, have you ever heard that a MD or CEO of the company is going for sales call on field like how sales executive does.

How can you think of commenting like that..
Raj Replied to: Kathirvel - 23 Aug, 2009
U r right! But we can't ignore that there are some corrupt office who are ruining the army.
It me Replied to: Raj - 24 Aug, 2009
I do agree that there are some corrupt officers in Army also, but we have these kind of people in every Govt Department. But we cannot blame that the whole system is a failure, if we say so it degrades the moral of the people who are doing there work honestly.

Instead of commenting about them we should think what we are doing to make it right and we are not doing anything then we should better shut our mouth and sit.

I am working towards it. For example I was the Security Head in Aero India 2009 from the organizers side, and these foreigners think that every Indian is sellable they offered me some money to expedite the process of their entry in the Air Force Base or to get some other help. But I just refused to take anything after I did their work and told them that you will get the help but this is not the right way to get it, WE ARE NOT SO CHEAP THAT SOME DOLLARS CAN BUY US.

I am proud to be an INDIAN, and I will do so when ever such people approach me.

I have seen some police constables in Bangalore taking Rs. 5 as bribe. This is sick, I just think how a person can do so without having any shame. Also we as a responsible citizen should avoid giving bribe until really needed not saving 100 rupees you give him 50 instead give him 100 and ask for a recipt and finish it off this will slowly discourage them to ask money, as you know the system is so rotten it will take some time to come to a level where we can feel comfortable with Govt officers.

This is my personal opinion I shared with you, kindly share your point of view with me and refine my thinking if it’s wrong.
Raj Replied to: It me - 25 Aug, 2009