The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) identified a breach of cybersecurity by Indian intelligence agencies on Wednesday, August 12—just two days away from Independence Day. Targeting government and military officials, this malicious state-sponsored violation of privacy is a recurring matter which should be addressed in the international community.
Back in March of this year, the federal government issued a warning to officials about a potential threat to their, and by extension, the government’s, privacy. The use of WhatsApp to exchange sensitive state information was deterred as a result. Thus, it’s evident that it is well within our capacity to preempt, prevent and protect against such cybercrimes, even if they go beyond the regular inconsequential and petty defacing of websites by jingoistic hackers. The seriousness of the attempt tells us that this was no teenager trying to be a troll, but a state-sanctioned attack as a means to try and glean whatever information that is unearthed. However, with government members already on high alert, it is doubtful that any sensitive information found its way into the wrong hands.
What’s troubling is the persistence with which the Indian government acts against Pakistan as well as their timing. Just recently, on July 26, an Indian spy quadcopter was shot down by the Pakistan Army along the Line of Control (LOC). To couple that with tapping into officials’ mobile phones and infiltrating personal databases a day before Independence Day, it is time that the government addresses this repeated violation of sovereignty at an international level.
In the meantime, the Pakistan Army has set up an advisory for all government institutions and sectors that will help in identifying lapses in security and enhancing procedures to thwart hacking attempts revolving around crimes like deceitful fabrication and data duplication. Furthermore, prompt action against perpetrators is being taken in the meantime.
In a time when the use of technology has increased tremendously, and the threat of cyberwarfare looms over the country, it is important to rectify the vulnerabilities of the system.