Cyberwar is a form of war which takes places on computers and the Internet as a weapon, use to disrupt the activities of an enemy country, especially the deliberate attacking of communication systems.
Cyber threat is not local, but a global issue. Cyber attacks can be launched from any part of the world, and hence can’t be tackled by nations purely at the individual level.
Cyber War can be fought by anyone; even an individual using his hacking skills against huge corporations, nations or even different civilizations. One single person’s malicious software can wreck havoc on computer networks and programmes spread across nations and continents. Amongst various types of warfare, cyber war is the cheapest option. At its simplest, all it requires is one individual, on one computer to originate cyber attacks. There is no need for regular massive cyber armies equipped with all the paraphernalia of a conventional war; being trained, sustained and replenished regularly.
Cyberwarfare is the greatest threat facing the United States – outstripping even terrorism – according to defense, military, and national security leaders in a Defense News poll, a sign that hawkish warnings about an imminent “cyber Pearl Harbor” have been absorbed in defense circles. Because it will be difficult to prevent cyber attacks on critical civilian and military computer networks by threatening to punish attackers, the United States must focus its efforts on defending these networks from cyber attack.
The US National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.
Where Does India Stand?
Cyber warfare has turned out to be one of the serious threats to Indian security. It is, in fact, considered one of the foremost among the “next generation of threats”. Statistically, India has always been among the top five targets of malicious activity on the internet that range from virus, trojan, malware, identity theft, hacking, cyber stalking, cyber squatting, spamming,etc. Attacks on Indian cyberspace have increased manifold in the recent past; and they have increased in sophistication and anonymity. Future attacks could be more dangerous, given the exponential growth of our IT networks and our increasing reliance on these networks.
According to a home ministry official, the most frequently attacked networks include the Prime Minister's Office and the ministry of external affairs. Though DRDO comes on this list of targets, the nodal defence research agency keeps issuing statements denying any attack on their networks. Sure, our authorities are concerned. But are they doing enough to prevent such attacks?
A Canadian investigation in 2010 revealed that Chinese hackers had reached Indian missions at Kabul, Moscow, Dubai, Abuja, US, Serbia, Belgium, Germany, Cyprus, the UK and Zimbabwe.