Cyber Security Has Become Critical For National Security

Dependence on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is a defining feature of a modern, interconnected and knowledge-based economy. The stability, safety and resiliency of any country's ICT  is a national security issue, as the vulnerabilities of the cyberspace can be exploited to impair or destroy the critical infrastructures of a state, highly reliant on its communications networks and services.

Reliable ICT networks are critical infrastructures and are crucial in ensuring public welfare, economic stability, law enforcement and defence operations. Societies increasingly depend on public ICT networks and their services. 

Many governments have given cyber security a high designation relative to national security. Theses critical infrastructures comprise the physical, non-physical and cyber resources or services that are fundamental to the minimum functioning of a society and its economy. Today, nobody can doubt the importance of cybersecurity.

Background

The Internet was first developed as part of a country’s national defence project and it has its origin in the efforts to build and interconnect computer networks. This arose from research and development in the US and involved international collaboration. Now usage of the same technology has become a significant part of our everyday life.

National security is a broader all-encompassing term most commonly embodying the military aspects and understood as such; it also intersects with economic and financial security, health security, among others. Critical national infrastructure (including sensitive government and public assets and installations) are all connected through the Internet and have  become increasingly susceptible to predatory cyber attacks. Cyber security has become an integral part of national security.

​What Is Milliary Cyber Security?

Apart from the obvious cyber component of military hardware and weaponry, a cyber battlefield could involve the following: 

  • Intelligence collection by way of exploitation of captured digital media, exploration of data feeds of adversaries’ unmanned aerial systems (UAVs) and securing operational friendly UAVs. 
  • Accessing closed networks in or near the area of operations, using electronic warfare systems as delivery platforms for precision attacks.
  • Conducting cyberspace intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations and launching offensive social media operations, among others.

India Vs. China

India has been described as one of the most frequently attacked nations and China is often attributed as the source of cyber attack and online espionage. In recent years, the Chinese have devised ingenious ways of making inroads into the cyber systems containing Indian users’ data. Now, instead of Chinese companies directly attempting to steal Indian user data, several Chinese state-backed businesses are effectively doing the same thing by way of making huge investments into Indian companies. 

Chinese companies are making investments selectively into large firms with enormous consumer traction which would allow them access to vast amounts of data on Indian users. Therefore, an investment or a partnership with Indian companies gives them ready access to this data which is sent to servers in China for further misuse and manipulation. 

The Chinese military could potentially use that data to map Indian people’s habits, movements, networks and locations that relate to key public and private installations in major cities, strategic towns and resource centres. 

Given that information, misinformation, disinformation and propaganda are tools of modern war, such prior information advantage could add to the Chinese firepower in the eventuality of a real war between the two countries.

Future Challenges 

The need for an integrated single point of command which can promulgate common standards and protocols. In particular, there is a need for a centralised command to have oversight and to coordinate and synchronise efforts to handle larger cyber security issues. 

Furthermore, a trusted partnership between the government and the private cyber community and experts needs to be developed. The private sector, needs to reshape their cyber defence framework also constrain their sharing of information with government agencies in case of a breach. From a government standpoint, sharing of information would potentially compromise intelligence sources and methods.  A healthy collaboration between the government and the private must show the way forward.

AFCEA:           Springer:         Entrepreneur:         DCSI:        Symantec

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