(This was originally posted in Sunday Guardian by Abhinandan Mishra)
New Delhi: Indian agencies, including the specific wing of Military Intelligence (MI), which, until now, in a majority of cases of cyber information warfare attack launched by ISI-ISPR backed actors, were caught unprepared, are now identifying such covert exercises before they are able to spread confusion and generate fake news-based reactions in the Indian domestic cyber realm.
Two relevant reports, including one that was prepared by an analyst with MI, seen by The Sunday Guardian, shows how Indian officials were able to identify and isolate Twitter handles that became active during the recent “civil war” in Pakistan in the wake of the violence unleashed by political party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
These Twitter handles took “control” of organic trending hashtags like “#civilwarinpakistan” that common Pakistani citizens were using on Twitter to criticise the Imran Khan government over its handling of TLP and instead tried to turn it into a case of information warfare that was being carried out by Indian agencies to discredit Khan domestically and Pakistan globally.
Later, even as Indian officials kept watch, identified Pakistani Twitter handles and influencers changed their names to Indian names and started trending anti-Pakistan content and tags to further add to the notion that Indian agencies were misusing Pakistan’s domestic problems to spread public anger in the country.
“The intention was to give the message to relevant Western intelligence agencies that Indian agencies were playing dirty in Pakistan and TLP was working on the direction of Indian agencies”, an official tracking the matter told The Sunday Guardian.
Officials said that the ISPR has already compiled a report of how Indian agencies used the recent domestic situations of Pakistan to further spread disturbance in the country. The said report will be sent to Western think-tanks and politicians.
However, with Indian agencies exposing the modus operandi of these GHQ, Rawalpindi-supported state actors rapidly, multiple times in the last few months and thereby making them impotent, analysts tracking the environment believe that new methods of mounting cyberwarfare against Indian interest are already being devised upon.
“It is no secret that till recently we were far behind when it comes to challenging the repeated acts of information warfare that our opponents were carrying out against us. However, today we are in a different position due to the renewed focus on developing our own offensive and identifying capabilities in the last few months”, an official said.