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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

If We Aren't Ready For Cyberwar, We Will Lose the Next War


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In an increasingly digital world, ironically, there may yet be a silver lining to the primitive nature of India's infrastructure: that it is not computer-controlled may make India less vulnerable than some other nations. Cyber-warfare by sophisticated attackers is a subtle and dangerous new tactic used by many armies and intelligence agencies.

Malicious entities can infiltrate computers running critical power grids, dams, air traffic control networks, bank networks, and so on. Under the remote control of hostile groups, power grids may shut down, dams may suddenly become 'water bombs', nuclear power plants may blow up and spew radiation, and planes may start colliding in the air. The implications are horrifying.

Some nations explicitly include cyber-warfare in long-range strategic plans. China, for instance, has a doctrine of "asymmetric warfare," most particularly against the U.S., a foe far stronger in conventional weapons, but vulnerable to cyber-attacks. China has also been implicated in large-scale intrusion into computers in Indian embassies and ministries.

From Daily News and Analysis
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