Cyber Warfare

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  • China’s Cyber Warfare Capability and India’s Concerns

    The Chinese cyber warfare department’s multiple agencies and individuals are seriously working towards the overall objective of instantly disrupting or at least weakening the adversary’s computer networks so as to paralyse his decision making capability at the very commencement of hostilities. It is very difficult to protect networks from such attacks. The weakest link in cyber security measures are the persons operating the system who often, knowingly or unknowingly, default on cyber security measures.

    April 2011

    Integrated Network Electronic Warfare: China's New Concept of Information Warfare

    The People's Liberation Army (PLA) considers active offence to be the most important requirement for information warfare to destroy or disrupt an adversary's capability to receive and process data. Launched mainly by remote combat and covert methods, the PLA could employ information warfare pre-emptively to gain the initiative in a crisis.

    April 2010

    Pentagon Report on China: Assessment or Exaggeration?

    Even though the report is fairly cautious in what it says and does not highlight anything new, the reactions on the Chinese side have not been that positive.

    August 26, 2010

    Jai Singh Shekhawat asked: In view of the Chinese cyber war doctrine do we need a dedicated cyber command/institution under MOD. Its organistaion and likely charter?

    Cherian Samuel replies: Cyberspace as a theatre of war is still in its infancy, but one of its axioms is that offensive capabilities are easier to create than defensive capabilities. While many countries are developing offensive capabilities, accompanying strategies or doctrines are yet to make an appearance, with the exception of the Chinese who have developed a concept of “informationised war”. The absence of a doctrine inhibits the creation of an institutional structure as seen in the several false starts on the part of the US military before the establishment of the US Cyber Command in May 2010. Its mission statement, to “direct the operations and defence of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries” suggests that its primary objective is to build up a defensive capability.

    A cyber command has many negative connotations, and India is not inclined to be a party to the militarization of cyberspace, preferring instead to work towards considering cyberspace on the lines of existing global commons such as sea and space. That the emphasis is on preserving the integrity of defence information networks is seen in the statement of the Defence Minister in the Lok Sabha on July 26, 2010. However, even such a limited mandate might be difficult to fulfill given the fact that there is already a profusion of agencies within the military dealing with this, ranging from the Corps of Signals, to the A-CERT (Army Computer Emergency Response Team), to the IT Departments of the various HQs and the IDS. Even though the Defence Minister referred to the Defence Information Assurance and Research Agency (DIARA) as being the “nodal agency mandated to deal with all cyber security related issues of Tri Services and Ministry of Defence,” the increasing magnitude of cyber threats necessitates both consideration and co-ordination of responses at a much higher level.

    Cyber Wars: A Paradigm Shift from Means to Ends

    The last couple of decades have seen a colossal change in terms of the influence that computers can have on the battlefield, with defence pundits claiming it to be the dawn of a new era in warfare. Under these circumstances, there has been a gradual paradigm shift in military thinking and strategies from the strategic aspect to the tactical aspect of cyber warfare, laying more emphasis on it being a potent force multiplier. The author believes this is wrong and rather than cyber warfare being an enhancement of traditional operations, the latter will be force multipliers of cyber warfare.

    March 2010

    Internet at the Crossroads

    The Internet’s blurred boundaries and its existing vulnerabilities have led to unhealthy trends, which, if not addressed adequately, could pose severe problems.

    December 31, 2009

    China's Emerging Cyber War Doctrine

    China will develop much greater depth and sophistication in its understanding and handling of information warfare techniques and operations. With Indian security becoming increasingly dependent on date processing and network centricity, it will become extremely vulnerable to such information warfare campaigns. India needs to adopt a multidisciplinary approach towards dealing with the emerging cyber warfare threats and develop appropriate response.

    July 2009

    An Overview of the Russo-Georgian Conflict

    Georgia was a constituent republic of the former USSR. In 1991, the dissolution of the Soviet Union led to the independence of Georgia. In turn, the autonomous regions of Georgia, namely South Ossetia and Abkhazia, attempted to break away from Georgia, resulting in civil strife in the early Nineties. These conflicts were settled with Russian involvement with the United Nations Mission in Georgia deploying in a peacekeeping role in Abkhazia and a Russian peacekeeping force deploying under a Joint Control Commission in South Ossetia.

    September 25, 2008

    Confronting the Threat in Cyberspace

    Fellows' Seminar
    August 29, 2008
    1030 to 1300 hrs