India Ranks in Third-tier Countries on a Spectrum of Cyber Warfare Capabilities

cyber warfare

In the wake of persistent cyber warfare attacks and data breaches, India has been looked down upon within the security community multiple times. The existing crises and conflicts that were previously fought at the borders and consumed the national capacities have now occupied Indian cyberspace.

The world is witnessing the use of cyber tools to avoid and counter compromise on state security, said the Indian Foreign Secretary, who also raised concerns of cross-border state-sponsored cyber attacks during the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Cyber Security”.

In the context of cyber capabilities, India is recognised as a Tier three-country performing relatively better than most other nations falling in the same category. It is constantly building its cyber warfare capabilities partnering with the Indian APT groups that have launched malware attacks against the adversaries.

Moreover, the study also suggested that the US is the only top-tier cyber power. In view of its cyber warfare capabilities, the Indian Department of Military Affairs (DMA) has planned to send up to 100 personnel to the US to train in the latest cybersecurity technology and artificial intelligence (AI) for future warfare.

The researchers have ranked the countries based on cyber capabilities, from the strength of their digital economies and the maturity of their intelligence and security functions to how well cyber facilities were integrated with military operations. China is positioned under tier two countries, along with Russia, the UK, Australia, Canada, France, and Israel.

Over time, China’s growing malware attacks on India have prompted it to strengthen its cyberwar capabilities. It is now steadily progressing in building offensive and defensive cyber capabilities. The country is also taking extra measures to secure the military that already has a tri-service defense cyber agency under the integrated headquarters.

A proper cyber command has been proposed to set up in an Indian state with the aim to ensure that the Indian military communications remain unhindered and uncorrupted by the adversary malware while the sensitive documents remain secured.

Moreover, India’s partnership with the private actors and consequently the cyber cooperation with foreign nations like Russia, the US, etc. have helped it in achieving the major objective. Several Indian private firms have opened up startups in foreign nations, offering offensive and defensive cyber capabilities. The aim was to prompt growth opportunities and expand customer reach.

Phronesis Corporate Intelligence is one such Indian company that has expanded business operations outside India. The firm, founded by former Indian Army brigadier Ram Chillar, worked on spying campaigns against the Pakistani Army and Pakistani government organisations. Over time, it established a strong base in Dubai, UAE.

The founders of Phronesis even managed to establish many similar firms that offered cybersecurity and forensic investigations, both to India and other parts of the world. Likewise, another Indian firm – TAC Security that calls itself the ‘Future of Risk and Vulnerability Management’ won a record number of new clients during the pandemic, while expanding its reach outside India.

With its latest ESOF-DarkSec solution, which is helpful in evaluating data theft vulnerabilities, the Indian firm has managed to expand its customer reach in the global markets. Amid the growing dark web exposure cases that are intimidating for governments and organisations, such products are helping businesses in securing their endpoints and networks against the potential threats, overall placing India above most other nations in the tier three category.

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