Cyber warfare

I t is worth recalling that in October last year a grid failure in Mumbai created havoc of its own and that too amidst corona pandemic, disrupting power supply, bringing trains to a standstill right on tracks, adversely impacting all the critical and commercial work that was being done on-line from homes, hampering economic activity and the like resulting in massive losses. How did it all happen and that too abruptly on such a massive scale, needs to be gone deep into. It was firmly believed, when all other surmises and even technical discreet enquiries proved nothing special, that cyber attack or hacking by the Chinese could have resulted into such a disturbance in the normal and routine life of the financial metropolis. How could the sabotage by the Chinese hackers take place is the moot question. Who found it out to the limits of foolproof standards? How could we fight it out in the sense to pre-empt any chances of such further attack in future? How could we save our critical and defence installations and bases from such cyber attacks? It is now firmly believed and proved too that RedEcho, a Chinese group of hackers has managed to target ten distinct Indian power sector organisations and sea ports etc. Had the sheer misadventure of China on the Eastern Ladakh border of May 2020 got to do anything with the malware against the power grid of Mumbai? In this connection, a US based company ‘Recorded Future’ which has the requisite expertise in the cyber related attacks has reasons with it to link the two together. Escalation of the tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh led a group of Chinese hackers very close and linked to the Chinese Government to target India’s critical power grid system through malware with the nefarious purpose to completely shutting down the system. It is an extraordinary matter and needs to be taken note of with all the seriousness it deserved. It is not confined to power grid attacks only but reports that defence organisations, public sector like Banks, Railways, Aviation centres, sea ports , power stations etc are on their ”hit list” shows the extent of hostility and evil intentions of China towards India. That must be a cause of concern especially when according the said US Company that such intrusion continued throughout the year till February this year. It must surely have altered the concerned Indian agencies to prepare a suitable antidote and making the critical installations properly insulated and protected from such cunning and treacherous disguised attacks. Hackers and cyber-criminals are growing very cunning and treacherous with passing of each day and what is needed is the strong intelligence network, effective security apparatus, cyber vigil , latest knowledge about the subject and last but not the least , deterrent legislation in which nothing less than death sentence should be the punishment for such crimes. Such measures are all needed in combination and not in isolation. A system should be evolved whereby users or associated with such sensitive installations and equipment should never ever surrender sensitive information or no one should be able to breach the security firewalls. Cyber warfare could be dangerous and detrimental to the overall economy, security and safety of the country regarding which we shall have to be tremendously vigilant and prepared to decisively fight it out as well.