Tense times between Pakistan and India are encouraging cyber warfare between the two countries
A recent recap of Pakistan and India’s cyber warfare highlights how the tense political relations between the two countries have crept into other aspects of governance. While business and sports have traditionally been most affected by this war-hysteria, it seems a new form of warfare is now emerging, Cyber-warfare.
In the aftermath of the recent ‘Pulwama attack,’ a venomous campaign based on factually inaccurate allegations has been started against Pakistan. Social media tirades on both sides of the border are urging governments to take action against the act of terror while he Indian government is adamant on the involvement of Pakistan, pinning the blame on the country without strong evidence. From using cheap tricks to malign Pakistani flag to crashing Pakistani websites, Indian hackers seem to have their hands full at the moment.
A recent wave of cyber attack has started from India, the Ministry of Foreign affairs recently came under an attack from some Indian Hackers. The nature of the attack was a bit unorthodox, the cyber-attack from the Indian hackers did not affect the operations of the website from within Pakistan, however, complaints started coming from overseas that the website of ‘Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ was not accessible from countries such as Holland, Australia, Britain, and Saudi Arabia.
Another Indian hacking group by the name of “Team I Crew” has allegedly, according to ‘Times Now’, hacked a number of Pakistani website in these past two days. Upon our verification, 99% of the websites are working fine and are neither hacked nor defaced. The attacker claimed to have hacked a total of 16 Pakistani government websites – which are working fine at the moment. The attacked websites have been listed below:
Times of Islamabad also announced yesterday on Twitter, that their website has been hacked. Currently, the website has been recovered and their content can be accessed.
Digital media and social networks are now being operated as a tool to pronounce political actions. Following the attack, T-Series, India’s popular music production company, has unlisted a newly released song of Pakistani singer Atif Aslam on YouTube. The channel has also permanently deleted music videos of Rahet Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam that was licensed by the company.
Moreover, Cricbuzz, a sports news website, an app, owned by Times Internet and the official Indian broadcaster for Pakistan Super League (PSL) has stopped the coverage of the league. Three more sports broadcasters including IMG Reliance, Dream11, and DSport have also pulled the coverage of PSL. After the CricBuzz announcement, Pakistani social media users kickstarted a hashtag to #UninstallCricBuzz.
Pakistan, India and a small recap of Cyber-warfare timeline
- Back in 2013, a Pakistani hacker group, “True Cyber Army” attacked and hacked a total of 1,059 Indian websites in response to an Indian cyber-attack on Pakistan’s Election commission website.
- In 2015, Lahore High Court’s website was attacked by some Indian hackers, in the same year some twenty-two Indian governmental websites were allegedly hacked by ‘Team MaDLeeTs’, whom the Indian agencies believed to be Pakistani
- In 2015, Pakistani hackers attacked Raipur’s National Institute of Technology website. Similarly, in 2016, a group of Pakistani hackers attacked seven Indian embassy websites in various countries.
- Similarly, in 2018 some Indian hackers defaced 8 Pakistani websites. In response to this, an unknown Pakistani group, “Venom Force Pakistan” claimed to have attacked a total of 5300 websites after a ceasefire agreement was broken by the Indian counterparts.
As seen from the theatrics from both sides, cyber-attacks have seen a steep rise in recent time, as the war hysteria between the two nuclear-armed countries enters digital age, focus will now shift to harm each other via digital means as that seems to be the most indirect but effective method of engaging in offensive activities against each other. As both countries embrace Digitization Cyber warfare will play a much major and crucial role in future proxy warfare tactics.