A broad array of state-of-the-art weapons systems are strategically positioned in India. Aged and modern weapons systems operate together and have hundreds of thousands of chips with sophisticated designs, containing billions of transistors, making it an extremely complex system. It’s a perfect setting for a network-centric warfare, opening up countless attack vectors and posing serious challenges to our weapons systems’ security.

The world is fast recognising the rising significance of the security of information held on computer systems, related to nuclear material and other weapons technology. A cyber attack on conventional and nuclear weapons systems could potentially occur in the form of attacks on nuclear command and control systems, communication links, weapons and delivery systems and the computers, hardware and software used to manage and operate the systems.

Speaking exclusively to The Voice of Nation, Wing commander Praful Bakshi believes that the apparent increase in cyber-attacks by both state and non-state actors has the potential to cripple India’s security if counter-measures are not taken.

“The manifestation of the scientific advancement is that it can be both controlled and propagated. As the mode of these scientific advancements is the atmosphere, which is no one’s property, it is quite plausible that the same transmission can be intercepted, monitored, modified and even resent through the same route. So if you can transmit something, others can control the transmission, too.

“The evil manifestation of these cyber activities can surface, and is surfacing, when an opponent is able to get information on major policies of war, diplomatic relations, Indian national security strategy and on agencies like NATO, NASA and Iran’s nuclear plants by using  virus like ‘stucksnet’. Military intelligence and strategic intelligence is at a high risk of being compromised due to such rising cyber warfare tactics.”

Cyber threat to India’s weapons systems is a clear and present danger_stcksnet

“More than intelligence, such cyber-attacks have the potential to control, defunct, manipulate and even divert India’s advanced weapons system. Considering the Electro Magnetic Pulse Factor, a nuclear explosion in space has the potential to destroy the wave system in a certain parameter which will revive only after a duration of 15 hours.

So, a simple cyber sabotage has the potential to trigger war, even a nuclear war.

A concerted international effort in the form of a law, if binding and followed, can mitigate threat to humanity.

Mr Bakshi said: “The Geneva Convention is a universal law on the means and methods of warfare that is based on the premise that means and methods of warfare is not unlimited to the commander.  There are various weapons which are a part of this convention and the use of which is regulated, though nuclear weapons are omitted from the same due the vested interests of certain dominating countries.

“The Tallin Manual (2013) also has led to the creation of counter organisations on individual levels to address such cyber-attacks. Similarly in India, due to the increase in cyber espionage cases from 223 in 2011 to 13000 in the next two years, a national institute of investigation is being set up. But all these measures are being taken individually by countries. It is hardly universal, which makes it less effective. There is no law to regulate such threats.

So, what can be done to ensure we don’t have to face the doomsday?

Cyber threat to India’s weapons systems is a clear and present danger

“We need to closely work on the research and development wing to identify future plausible security threats resulting from cyber-attacks. A lot of deliberation is equally required to draft and ratify universal laws on regulating such cyber-attacks based on the principle of sovereignty. As it is an ever-expanding scope, there is also a need to build, evolve and ratify universal laws.”

A broad array of state-of-the-art weapons systems are strategically positioned in India. Aged and modern weapons systems operate together and have hundreds of thousands of chips with sophisticated designs, containing billions of transistors, making it an extremely complex system. It’s a perfect setting for a network-centric warfare, opening up countless attack vectors and posing serious challenges to our weapons systems’ security.

The world is fast recognising the rising significance of the security of information held on computer systems, related to nuclear material and other weapons technology. A cyber attack on conventional and nuclear weapons systems could potentially occur in the form of attacks on nuclear command and control systems, communication links, weapons and delivery systems and the computers, hardware and software used to manage and operate the systems.

Speaking exclusively to The Voice of Nation, Wing commander Praful Bakshi believes that the apparent increase in cyber-attacks by both state and non-state actors has the potential to cripple India’s security if counter-measures are not taken.

“The manifestation of the scientific advancement is that it can be both controlled and propagated. As the mode of these scientific advancements is the atmosphere, which is no one’s property, it is quite plausible that the same transmission can be intercepted, monitored, modified and even resent through the same route. So if you can transmit something, others can control the transmission, too.

“The evil manifestation of these cyber activities can surface, and is surfacing, when an opponent is able to get information on major policies of war, diplomatic relations, Indian national security strategy and on agencies like NATO, NASA and Iran’s nuclear plants by using  virus like ‘stucksnet’. Military intelligence and strategic intelligence is at a high risk of being compromised due to such rising cyber warfare tactics.”

“More than intelligence, such cyber-attacks have the potential to control, defunct, manipulate and even divert India’s advanced weapons system. Considering the Electro Magnetic Pulse Factor, a nuclear explosion in space has the potential to destroy the wave system in a certain parameter which will revive only after a duration of 15 hours.

So, a simple cyber sabotage has the potential to trigger war, even a nuclear war.

A concerted international effort in the form of a law, if binding and followed, can mitigate threat to humanity.

Mr Bakshi said: “The Geneva Convention is a universal law on the means and methods of warfare that is based on the premise that means and methods of warfare is not unlimited to the commander.  There are various weapons which are a part of this convention and the use of which is regulated, though nuclear weapons are omitted from the same due the vested interests of certain dominating countries.

“The Tallin Manual (2013) also has led to the creation of counter organisations on individual levels to address such cyber-attacks. Similarly in India, due to the increase in cyber espionage cases from 223 in 2011 to 13000 in the next two years, a national institute of investigation is being set up. But all these measures are being taken individually by countries. It is hardly universal, which makes it less effective. There is no law to regulate such threats.

So, what can be done to ensure we don’t have to face the doomsday?

“We need to closely work on the research and development wing to identify future plausible security threats resulting from cyber-attacks. A lot of deliberation is equally required to draft and ratify universal laws on regulating such cyber-attacks based on the principle of sovereignty. As it is an ever-expanding scope, there is also a need to build, evolve and ratify universal laws.”