By Fayaz Ganie
Modern man is becoming more and more dependent upon technologies. The main among them is the computer and information technology. There is no area of life where computers are not used and the internet is not of use. In fact, the internet has turned the world into a global village and the distances have been annihilated by this technology. From a mere activity to the mightiest, the internet is of use. In fact, the mightiest activities of the days gone by have been made as the mere and simple tasks of the present age.
Earlier it used to take years or months to send a message from one country to the other. Now, it is just a click away or a call apart. Sending money and conducting business with the neighboring countries was a task of great labor. Now it gets accomplished within few seconds of time. Banking which was a cumbersome task in the past is now so easy that no mental effort or physical record keeping is involved.
This computer technology, or computer based technology, which is dependent on the internet, is called cyber technology. Cyber technology is an important component of individual, social and governmental spheres of life in current times. All the governmental and intergovernmental activities and operations are directly controlled on this technology and by this technology. From sending and receiving information, conducting business of government, in dissemination of education and conducting various researches cyber technology is used.
According to the experts of the field, it is said that if this technology gets disrupted even for a second the world would cease to exist the next moment. This shows the complete dependence of modern man upon cyber technology. All the military installations, nuclear weapons and the other weapons of mass destruction are directly controlled and supervised by this technology. The magnitude of these weapons, and weapons installations, is such that it is not otherwise humanly possible to control these.
As is the truth about all other technologies and aspects of human life, everything has a positive side as well as the negative one. The same very means which make a country secure somewhere contain the agents of insecurity in them. Likewise, cyber technology is no doubt a boon for human life in the modern world but at the same time it can be a bane. It gives security but the threats are there which could render the security of the entire world in jeopardy if something goes wrong.
As long as cyberspace is secure , the dividends keep coming and the tasks get accomplished but once there are threats to this security everything could turn upside down. These threats to cyber technology are called as cyber attacks and the process as cyber insecurity. Here the connectivity or the data of a country or organization get compromised or is deliberately compromised. The ultimate dependence of man on cyber technology has made all men, and nations, of the world susceptible to cyber attacks.
These attacks are new and major threats to a peaceful world order. It can easily compromise national security of most countries. Here, the rule is that the more technologically sophisticated a country is the more damage can be caused to the national security and the economy of the country. This rule makes the developed nations of the world more susceptible to this threat. According to many surveys, huge financial losses are suffered by many organization in the world due to cyber attacks.
Cyber threats can be designed against any country and at any level. The threats can impact both the private and public sector institutions and individuals and they could suffer hugely. Some may even get completely damaged. There are people and countries involved in the cyber attacks for these are the easiest modes to get the desired things done without going to the places of attack physically and suffering the labor of indulging in the activity of carrying a physical attack by military means or otherwise.
Individuals capable of carrying out cyber attacks are paid huge remunerations by the countries involved in cyber attacks. Some hackers carry these attacks on their own to steal money from the accounts get the personal information people. Bu, sophisticated hackers help countries to get the financial, security related, strategic and other vital information of the rival countries hacked. That is the reason why hacking in great demand and they are considered vital elements in the security of a state.
A few months ago, Iran claimed that her cyber space was attacked and the attack was repudiated by the vigilant cyber security agency of the country. Had the space been breached, it could have proven a disaster for Iran. The cyber attacks could have impacted the economy, security and other important areas of governance of the country to a catastrophic level. Businesses losses, and the vital information and data loss could have been unbearable. This time the losses were prevented from occurring but there is no guarantee that attacks would not take place against the country, and against any other country.
Huge financial resources are allocated in the national budgets of almost all the countries for both the defensive and offensive purposes. So, cyber espionage is an acceptable strategy in the national security of a country where a keen eye is kept over the enemy countries, and even non-enemy countries. There are specialized agencies in all the countries to carrying out this espionage. No country can afford to remain without such agencies. If a country has to be secure that country must have a cyber espionage cell and a Cyber Security Cell at every level of security apparatus of that country.
The countries which are mostly engaged in cyber espionage are USA, Israel, China, Pakistan, India and others. These countries leave no stone unturned to intrude the cyber space of each other. It is not always that the countries remain safe but at most of the times, hackers succeed in getting access to the confidential information and vital security related installation. Many a time, we see the government websites of various Ministries of these countries getting hacked. Recently it was the Defense Ministry website of India which was hacked according to claims. Though the hacking of these websites has not impacted these countries too adversely but the threats are there.
Considering the level of importance and the extent of dependence the modern men are dependent upon the cyber technology, it is imperative for the countries of the world to have a regulatory apparatus acceptable to all. If such a mechanism is established, a great threat to the world can be evaded and a great degree of security could be ensured to all the people and nations of the world. Countries should draw a strategy to fight the cyber attacks by non-state actors. If these non-state actors are able to conduct an attack against a country they can go all out without giving a thought to the security of the people of that country. The first aim of these non-state actors is destruction and they will never miss a chance.
In short, it is important for the countries of the world to secure their cyber space and stop intruding into that of the rival countries. They should also desist from using individual hackers for that purpose. Cyber security should be the first priority of all the world leaders and global institutions. So far we have created Cyber insecurity, the need is to search for the means to build security.
In the meantime, social media sites like Facebook and now Google and others have accepted of leaking vital information of the people and allowing the third parties to scan the information of the people. This is a direct attack on the vital human right of right to privacy and could have other repercussions also. Timely action against these agencies is also needed for the simple reason that they could also leak the information of the nations and countries if given a free hand. They must be dealt sternly but it seems they are not being made answerable which is unfortunate and dangerous.
The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org