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India, US begin cyber-security initiative

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  • r_v_p
    India, US begin cyber-security initiative http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=8506638 India, US begin cyber-security initiative INDRANI
    Message 1 of 2 , May 1, 2002
      India, US begin cyber-security initiative


      India, US begin cyber-security initiative


      TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ WEDNESDAY, MAY 01, 2002 4:29:33 AM ]

      NEW DELHI: As the mouse becomes mightier than the missile and the
      frontiers of international terrorism shift in to the virtual world,
      India and the US have begun a new initiative to combat cyber-
      terrorism in both countries that threaten not only computer networks,
      but critical infrastructure systems of both economies.

      An 18-member high-level US delegation, led by Lincoln Bloomfeld,
      assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, met
      representatives from the National Security Council here and from
      other related security agencies to give shape to the new initiative,
      which had been proposed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and George W Bush
      during the summit in Washington in October last.

      The US delegation includes academics to top FBI officials and
      intelligence (NSA) and State Department officials.

      Both sides shared "national experiences" on cyber-security, their
      approach and treatment of emerging threats. The meetings are expected
      to conclude with an "action plan" for future co-operation.

      The initiative seeks to weld India's growing software abilities and
      the intelligence and technology capabilities of the US to track and
      defuse cyber threats to both countries.

      As cyber-terrorists are now using steganography (ie encrypted
      messages), as even mail drop boxes for physical terrorist attacks,
      countering cyber-terrorists will assume greater importance in future.

      Cyber threats to India stem primarily from Pakistani hackers groups,
      as well as some al-Qaeda groups. For instance, in 2001, Indian high-
      visibility sites like the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (Barc) and
      the Indian Institute of Science were defaced by Pakistani hackers,
      with the total (until September 2001) coming to 275 attacks.

      The most visible Pakistani groups include G-Force, Doctor Nuker and
      Pakistani Hackerz Club, all of whom break into Indian sites, and
      often leave behind provocative pro-Kashmir messages on them.

      But these attacks have been getting more sophisticated, as terrorists
      use internet chat rooms, pornographic bulletin boards and even sports
      sites to post messages for physical attacks.

      This came to light during the Red Fort attack by Lashkar-e-Toiba
      (LeT) terrorists, one of whom was arrested with his computer, which
      showed access to several porn sites.

      As for the US, President George W Bush has earmarked almost $4
      billion for network security in the US. Recent studies have also
      shown how cellphone users in Pakistan could log on to an Indian ISP
      to send messages to confuse sleuths on their trail.

      In the aftermath of September 11, US intelligence agencies have been
      cracking down on ISPs to provide details of internet traffic. Similar
      procedures will be used in India, though the level of sophistication
      has a lot of catching up to do.

      But clearly cyber-sleuthing has been having salutary effects, given
      the number of attacks against US interests that have already been
      thwarted in the last few months.

      Only last week, CIA alerts, reported in the Los Angeles Times talked
      of cyber threats from Chinese hackers in the next few weeks.

      "The new CIA report, however, makes clear that US intelligence
      analysts have become increasingly concerned that authorities in
      Beijing are actively planning to damage and disrupt US computer
      systems through the use of internet hacking and computer viruses."

      According to the report, Beijing authorities, specifically the
      Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) may be planning these disruptions,
      although their technical expertise needs further upgradation.

      This is where co-operation between India and the US comes in — to
      detect and pre-empt such attacks or threats to critical
      infrastructure in both countries.

      Just as an example, the Code Red worm (which was believed to have
      originated in China) that spread through the world's computers last
      year, extracted a damage of $2.4 billion. Its not small change any


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