India fears cyber security threat to critical defence systems

India fears cyber security threat to critical defence systems

New Delhi (ISJ): Indian defence establishment is 'terribly worried' about the possibility of breach in cyber security of its critical operations. Chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation, DRDO Avinash Chander said in New Delhi on Friday (Feb. 07), the biggest challenge for critical defence operations is its dependence on imported equipment, which could come 'laden with snooping virus or malwares'.

Chander, who is also Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister, told media at Defexpo 2014,

DRDO is developing its own cyber technology tools to address the issues of hacking of its critical operations. He said, after the recent snooping charges against United States National Security Agency (NSA), India is building a security around its high-tech systems, especially in the production of weapon systems, which is still in the nascent stage.

NSA had targeted India, collecting billions of pieces of information from its telephone and internet networks. A recent report also raised allegations against Chinese telecom major Huawei for hacking national telecom carrier Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL). New Delhi has set up an inter-ministerial committee to investigate the charges against Huawei, founded by a former China's People's Liberation Army official. The company had also faced a ban in the United States in 2012, when American companies were asked to stop doing business with Huawei and ZTE for possible use of its equipment to spy on certain communication and threaten vital systems through computerised links.
The DRDO chief said true cyber security could be achieved only if the government integrates security features in its acquisition plan. "It is a big challenge," rued Chander. He said DRDO is implementing a multi-layered programme to insulate critical operations from hacking and snooping. This involves creating own trusted platforms, own computers, processors and devices. Second, it should have its own network system, with indigenous router. Third is encryptions, where DRDO has made considerable progress, he said.
Chandra said DRDO is working on controlled networks and securing the local and wide area networks, besides developing indigenous router system, in collaboration with domestic industry. He however, said the organisation has no control over public networks, including state-run entities.

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