Cyberwarfare: Ex-IAF chief seeks integrated cyber security system for military and civilian sectors


KOLKATA: Former Chief of the Indian Air Force, Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Arup Raha, Tuesday described cyber terrorism is the worst of its kind and said India still lagged behind China in terms of developing an integrated cyber security system for both military and civilian sectors.

He said the military is quite well-off in terms of cyber warfare, but expressed concern over the growing threats of cyber attacks in other sectors, stating that irrespective of their operations, these are vulnerable to such attacks.

“Cyber is the worst kind of terrorism because here you do not need trained people with bullets and weapons to fire and kill lots of people. There will be no violence, but it will result in lots of death and devastation without firing,” Raha said.

“China has developed a cyber warfare system to a large extent. We are actually lagging behind and we are still trying to cope up with the challenges…. Each and every sector is important,” he said during an interaction here.

On the hacking of power plants in Iran, Raha said, their atomic and nuclear power plants were hacked and they could not control functioning of the nuclear plants and they were helpless.

“There will be explosion… there will be nuclear…. You cannot even produce or distribute power. Effect is immense,” he said.

Elaborating more, the former Air Force chief said if the hackers could get into the air traffic control system and cripple it, there will be no control resulting in crashes, and total collapse.

Stating that a number of trains in developed countries are automated like the Bullet Trains in Japan, Raha said these trains do not have drivers and if somebody can hack into its system, there will be devastation.

Economic and commercial organisations like the banks are vulnerable in the same way, he said.

“Military is quite well off in terms of cyber warfare – both defensive as well as offensive. Offensives should be controlled centrally because it has got several repercussions. Any individual or organisation launching cyber attack on anyone may have repercussions on our own system and I feel that it will be done centrally,” he said.

Incidentally, a three-day seminar focusing on the use of Internet by terrorists to cripple different sectors of the economy such as industry, banking, infrastructure, transportation, logistics and essential services, has been organised in the city starting January 16.

Former National Security Adviser MK Narayanan is likely to be present in the meet.


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