The military and cyberspace

The military and cyberspace

DawnNews’ Wired and Active show brings you this question of the week:

Should the Pakistan Army – and other military outfits around the world – be more worried about cyber attacks?

The Pentagon, for example, uses more than five million computers on 100,000 networks in 65 countries. For the past few years, the Pentagon networks have suffered numerous attacks, with hackers copying terabytes of military data. And yet, America’s online infrastructure remains vulnerable to security breaches. Earlier this year, the US Army resolved to develop a doctrine that would define the boundaries of its cyberspace and articulate a plan to defend its virtual borders. Some defence analysts have gone so far as to suggest that a conventional martial response be put in place to defend against cyber attacks.

To explicate the concept of cyber-warfare and virtual borders, Wired and Active will be speaking with security experts who explain that cyberspace is the new venue for military espionage. A US-based security expert will also call into the show to discuss the military’s online infrastructure. And CNN-IBN’s security correspondent unveils military planning to ward off cyber warfare.

What would you like to learn from these experts about cyber warfare? Do you think that armies are suitably prepared to prevent cyber attacks? What are the greatest dangers posed by martial excursions in the virtual world? And how equipped do you think the Pakistan Army is to deal with battle at this new, virtual frontline?

The best responses will be highlighted on this week’s episode of Wired and Active, which airs on DawnNews on Wednesday, June 24, at 8:30 p.m.


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15 Responses to “The military and cyberspace”

  1. Imran says:

    Some think that the wars of the future will be fought on computer systems… wouldnt that be good?!

    A cyber war does not just have to be the hacking into systems and looking at stuff or copying it from A to B. A cyber war can be very different animal… Cyber wars could involve… of course the command and control system thats a no brainer, but what about all the computers (easy targets) that were in the supply chain along the way. This might be the banking systems, parts suppliers, mobile phone companies. Pressing keys on a keyboard to deactivate the war heads…well if you can launch a missile like that there should be little reason why its cannot be stopped or diverted in a similar way.

    The flaw in the cyber war is… just pull the electricity cable out…cant work your systems without electricity!

  2. Nasir says:

    Don’t give Pak military more ideas, as they are still entangled in the one (terror war) they got 4 decades ago.

  3. gul says:

    Wars can never be fought on computers other wise USA wud have used its high tech computers and raddars to detect osama,baitullah and others.

  4. Hammad says:

    Yes its an era of I.T. And our Milletery should be bred to not only defend the cyber attack but should also be capable of launching one.

  5. IT Buzz says:

    Yup its becoming a major threat for armies, Cyber criminals can steal major fore coming strategies of a Country and can act proactively so its a major threat today.

  6. Keti Zilgish says:

    In cyberspace the real war is taking place between open source and closed source. A wise chicken does not lay her eggs in one basket!

  7. Keti Zilgish says:

    With full respect to what Ejaz says: June 24th, 2009 at 1:16 am: “humans take forever to change”. In my humble opinion, a less totalitarian way of putting it would have been: SOME humans take forever to change. After All, diversity cannot be shoved underneath the rug.

  8. Syed ALi Mehdi says:

    We are a poor nation having to pay for the debts and at the same to meet the internal challenges. The polictical, social and economical turmoil is so strong that any attempt to have military bases (or any other similar thing) in the space is quite unlikely.
    If we could get out of the present taliban problem it could be argued that our country would be able to look for ways to improve upon its military capability. I was never so proud of Pakistani Army as I am now. They really are doing a good job. It seems that all the years of investing in the military is now giving us the yeild. I just hope that our military gets stronger and stronger!

  9. Ejaz says:

    having had knowledge and some experience of both outfits, I believe Military outfits around the world ARE aware of the problem and some (US, UK, Israel, China etc.) are rigorously improving their systems, knowledge, new tactics, R&D and above all investing in their personnel because the weakest link in a network is a human one. At the same time, Pakistan struggled in this arena and (FIA et al.) tried to approach relatively unknown hackers, Network specialists some of them have successfully participated in many activities regarding defence or offense but the key thing for Pakistan Defence outfit is that the top brass needs to create a mind-shift and focus on these things. You can’t expect a civilian much less a nerdy dude to suddenly adopt your lifestyle and tougher hierarchies. Unless Pakistan Defence outfit invests heavily on its existing personnel, preparing its own team of experts through a permanent school/academy (Staff college anyone?) you’d less likely listen to great stories from this side.

    Luckily like China, Pakistan gets a lot of uncalled-for voluntary services from many patriotic underground pros which have in the past taken down many indian and similar websites as well as IS networks. We just need to create a good human-network and pool of resources and channelize right energy through focused mediums without disrupting anyone’s die-hard lifestyles.

    Sadly this comes down to more of a “Human” challenege than a technological challenge. And unlike technology, humans take forever to change. Sadly!

  10. Certainly it is an undenyable fact that a vigilant and powerful army should encompasses with the most sophisticated and advanced maneuvers.As our military is concerned,it must equiped of cyberspace technology because at present the world renowned forces have adapted new technologies for defencive purpose so why not pakistan do the same.Our army is brave and sincere but need to keep a vigilant tab on miscreants.

  11. Kulachi says:

    Pakistan Army has little deployed assets that depend on cyberspace, directly or indirectly. For instance, we do not operate a GPS, extensive satellite networks, or other IT intensive espionage operations. The only hardcore IT that might be in significant use by Pakistan Army belongs to the radio waves sphere, on the battlefield, and telephone networks, operated by PTCL/NTC, in administration. Hence, it is unlikely that Pakistan Army could be taken aback by the so called hackers. Moreover, use of computers has not yet penetrated our Army. Ironically, that lack of knowledge makes us safe here.

    US Army depends heavily on IT, and that goes by the level of sophistication of military assets and their scope of operation.

    The traditional hacking/cracking has almost died out given recent developments in internet security, secure browsers, and firewalls. Often, the computer operators themselves put their machines and networks under threat. For instance, US soldiers deployed in Iraq used some commonly available software to download movies and songs from the internet and mistakenly shared some of their important files. There are many such examples that prove the above case. In a nutshell, networks can be as secure as their users want them to be.

    By the way, this sense of insecurity is a nice opportunity for IT companies to repackage some old software and sell them anew.

  12. ASMAT JAMAL says:

    You are already late to suggest.
    World over military sciences are more advanced than their civilian counter parts as more funds are allocated to their R&Ds. Most of the developments take place in military field and later shifted to civilian use like nuclear energy, Lasers, CRTs of Radars, megnatrons etc.
    I am sure most of the militaries of the world are already geared up to it.

  13. Tariq Mian, Canada says:

    As a nonprofessional, I think armies have a long way to go yet to seize the cyber attackers.
    The hackers one-way or the other always find out to break the codes and have an access to the confidential and classified material.
    Pakistan Army is highly professional, so it is assumed that the war on virtual frontline has to be won as well. Even the unsolved mysteries are solved at the end.
    A brand new strategy would do it.
    The virtual frontline needs a diagnostic inspection by the computer literates in the army.
    Cyber battles and virtual borders need be identified first, then they can be successfully targeted.

  14. Atif Armaan says:

    I read it in the news last week that a U.S base in Afghanistan was a victim of a cyber attack by Chinese hackers. So to your question, i do not think the modern day military is battle-ready to cope with cyber warfare.
    Proof is the lack of funding which is going into such projects. People at the helm of major militaries are still from the old school of thought who believe that boundaries to defend are just physical.
    The internet has no boundaries so what do you say to that “General'”
    Another issue is the spread on online jihadi websites. The internet has become the number 1 recruiting ground for extremist groups and the present day governments and militaries cannot do anything about it.

    So yes they should be scared there certainly is a ‘clear and present danger’

  15. Mehwish Kayani says:

    World is moving really fast.Fast adoption of innovations have paved the ways for new discoveries.
    With this adoption, one can say that conflicts and wars need not to be discussed even in government offices as soldiers would be fighting form their houses, their rooms their own PCs, PDAs and laptops.
    For fast adoption I can suggest that make the prices of computers equipments low.

    Now there will be artillery in every house ! on Facebook on Facebook