Hello defence lovers, as we all know that the domains of warfare today, are not limited only to the land, sea and air, but has extended also to the cyberspace and space domains. In this article, we will be talking specifically about defence cyberspace domain. In that, we will get to know about defence cyberspace and its importance. Also, we will get to know about the necessity and ways of securing it.
First, let’s understand what does “cyberspace” exactly mean.
What Is Cyberspace:-
Cyberspace, defined as, a global domain within the information environment consisting of interdependent networks of information technology infrastructures including the internet, telecommunication networks, computer systems, & embedded processors and controllers.
In simple words, it is the environment of the internet that we have technologically created by using the networks of computers. Arise of 21st century has come up with rapidly growing use of these networks of computers in all walks of life. ‘Defence’ is no exception to it.
Importance Of Cyberspace In Defence:-
Cyberspace and digital technology are an integral part of the entire defence ecosystem for every country. No country can deny its importance and use. Talking particularly about cyberspace in defence, all three services are deeply dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum. A large number of digital networks are in use for various purposes. Let’s see some of them.
1) for command and control.
2) for real time communication.
3) for storage of our critical information, for example, lets say information of our critical technologies.
4) for the purpose of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
5) satellite support systems, codes and regents of nuclear war & such other important things also used certain cyber space for the operation.
6) many of day to day functions and operations having conducted in cyberspace too.
7) for timely logistical support.
8) for navigation purpose.
9) in guided defence systems too, use of cyberspace happens.
These are just few of the many things where we use cyberspace in defence.
Necessity Of Securing A Cyber Space In Military Domain:-
1) cyber warfare as we all know has the ability to intercept, disturb and manipulate information and data which is very essential for our defence operational needs.
2) Cyberspace that is used for command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance purpose. These are digitally susceptible and can be compromised by cyber attacks
Example:- In times of critical decision making, the flow of real-time communication between commanders or between the commander and national command post where are the political head of the country commands,
can be disturbed, manipulate, directly blocked in such critical times. We can imagine the damage caused by it.
Or, Imagine navigation missiles and guided systems deny us access in critical times, or starts working according to the enemy’s will.
3) Our adversaries will attempt, in fact, are attempting to obtain our military secrets related to operations, plans, equipment, and designs.
Example – Naval war room data leak case, scorpene class submarine data leak incident.
4) The introduction of 5G has a lot of scope for changes to happen in cyberspace. Though the things will be more faster & the possibility of the things to be more secured, nobody will deny the possibilities of an increase in the vulnerabilities too.
5) Apart from cyberattacks on weapons, missile systems & communication platforms, the vulnerability of cyberspace extends up to the information warfare, propaganda warfare, brainwashing of soldiers & by bringing out the desirable and undesirable changes in the psychology and behavior of military manpower.
Ways Of Securing It:-
1) To secure cyberspace in defence, one must realise the ways of tapping and blocking the ways to infiltrate it.
We must stop the enemy from –
a) Infiltrating our software – applications, operating systems, etc.
b) Infiltrating our Hardware – like India banning Huawei and ZTE for 5G technology.
c) Infiltrating our men who are operating it – by means of honeytrap, blackmailing, etc.
2) Building up of certain agencies dedicated to this cause, to prevent adversaries from gaining control, from gaining information, from cultivating spies in the organization.
Ex – Defence Cyber Agency
3) Air gapping of our critical systems from other peripheral systems. It simply means our critical systems are not on the internet. Such isolated systems become hard to get into via cyberspace. Now it has further challenges too, as technology is changing and private players are coming into play.
4) As they say, if one has to avoid the fight, one must be prepared for it. The offensive cyber capabilities must be developed so that we will be able to create credible cyber deterrence on our adversaries. And if required, preventive digital strikes capability should be there to intervene and eliminate the threats before entering into our cyber systems.
Cyberspace has made warfare change in such a way that the strikes will happen with the speed of light. Wars will be fought not by bullets but by the bits. In such times, it becomes necessary to secure our cyberspace with all the possible means.
Here, we discussed a brief idea about cyberspace related to defence. But this concept ranges widely from defence to civil, impacting almost every aspect of security, we shall discuss the civil and other aspects of cybersecurity in a separate article.