Information Technology- A boon, a bane
Thursday, 11 04 2013 09:45
Information technology has broken the myth of work culture both in the government and private organisations as well the world. All organisations across the globe are now dependent on the internet at different levels to achieve its objectives. Internet has become the backbone of information and providing ocean of knowledge at a click. All vital services such as Defence, Banking, Intelligence, Aviation, are being supported by communications to achieve and to reach fast to the farthest end.
As information systems and networks are in their evolving stage, it is becoming more complex and difficult to pace with. The problem is worsened by the increase in the computer interconnectivity and with the growth of the internet. The threats to these systems are creating big challenges to various systems which are vital for global development and growth.
But it is a major concern that Terrorists are using the internet as an ideal tool for facilitating their objectives. Terrorists are using the internet and cyberspace for two purposes: to support their activities and to attack the critical information infrastructure. Currently terrorists are using internet for cyber attacks, communication, fund raising, recruiting, training, coordination, planning attacks, getting emotional support from masses.
Attacks on information networks can have serious outcomes such as disruption of critical operations, loss of revenue, loss of life, blemishing the image of country and organizations. It may also include the security establishment and grave danger to integration of nation. Attacking one sector could also have devastating and disruptive effects on the other sectors due to interlink among the infrastructure sectors.
Developing country like India is a soft target because it is not coping up with the rapid transformation of information infrastructure and facing consequences used by Anti social elements in information and communication technologies. Strict control on illegal access and enhanced electronic and physical surveillances has lured these anti human elements to use internet in view of anonymity in communication, easy access, inexpensive inflow of information and effective outcome from remote sitting without any identifications and physical presence.
Almost all terrorist attacks in India in the recent past have a dangerous nexus between the virtual world and the real terrorists. Terrorist organizations have established their presence by successfully running their websites and use of internet. Realizing the importance of information technology to pursue their objectives, many terrorist organizations have started to recruit unemployed people who are computer skilled and having potential to be internet savvy individuals.
Now-a-day’s extremists have also begun to use the Internet not only to launch attacks, but also to exploit it for new possibilities in a war of ideas. Extremist organizations can post their information on the web at any location (Web server), in any form (Web page, Internet forum posting, chat room communication, email message, etc.), and in any language. It is also revealed that there are of more than 50,000 sites of extremist content as of 2008, in more than 12 languages. These include web sites, forums, blogs, social networking sites, video sites, and virtual world sites. Internet based Terrorism is not static, but dynamic. Websites containing such material change their IP address frequently, suddenly appear, change their design, style, format and then swiftly disappear but retaining the content.
Keeping in view the above aspects, it is the time to initiate proactive approach, frame firm policy, and energise law enforcement agencies to counter any destructive cyber attacks. Of course, it is very difficult for the Government to curb the threats and solve the problems of cyber terrorism due to complex, dynamic in nature, financials implications and expertise in human resources. Securing cyberspace and information technology from terrorists is a difficult challenge that needs synchronised and concentrated effort from all the stakeholders of society including the government, the private sector and the people.
Fighting cyber terrorism requires expertise human resources in the Indian Law enforcement agencies. Creation of a specialized force can effectively monitor and track terrorists online. Regulation of cyber cafés, sanitization of government websites, data mining techniques and automated data analysis tools, using cyber forensic, transition from IPv4 to IPv6 and other preventive measures require to be addressed immediately.
Cyber terrorism has no boundaries and the fact is cyber attack can come from any part of the globe. To combat cyber terrorism, cooperation requires at three levels, national, international and public-private co-operation. Since it is dynamic and global in nature, it makes things more complicated without international co-operation. Internationally sharing information and intelligence on terrorists can help a lot to curb and fight against this menace if we have the ability to track and trace cyber communications, with global cooperation from law enforcement agencies, governments, and industry.
However, understanding difficult challenges ahead Government, Security agencies in our country and abroad are also alerted. They have started to be equipped with all possible means within their limits and sharing critical information among each others. Public-private partnership is being implemented and laws related to the issue are being framed and modified as per requirement. Trainings are being emphasised and establishment of cyber crime cell have been given importance.
Some of the options before the government to improve the cyber security are following the best practices prevailing in the world, encouraging, developing and enforcing mandatory cyber security standards, promoting research and development to indigenous organizations to develop cyber security tools. Awareness in cyber security should be enhanced in all govt. as well as private organizations. A parallel development in the use of information and communications technology may be also seen as govt. encourage the private players to develop cyber warfare tools and use capabilities to exploit cyberspace for intelligence gathering, military advantage etc.
PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER,
CENTRAL RESERVE POLICE FORCE,