Why I should not be talking about an Indian cyber mercenary

Even ten years ago, as we bootstrapped cyber operations in the government, a subtle tension always brewed when it came to contractors.

I belonged to an archaic school of thought believing that such capabilities need to be internally fostered. As Dave Aitel rightly says: you build competencies [over generations] rather than tools. Continue reading “Why I should not be talking about an Indian cyber mercenary”

My opinion of the think tank ORF’s cyber policy work

So, a journalist emailed me asking for my opinion of the Observer Research Foundation’s (ORF) cyber policy work. It’s a Reliance-funded organisation and thought to be India’s most prominent think tank. It also hosts the annual Raisina Dialogue on foreign policy with the Indian government, and the CyFy conference on technology and the cyber issues. My reply is pasted below:

Continue reading “My opinion of the think tank ORF’s cyber policy work”

Planet-scale influence operation strikes at the heart of polarised Indian polity – Part I

TL;DR: The largest known foreign disinformation network targeting India. Iranian in origin, possibly operated via a front in Pakistan. May have physical presence in India. Garnered hundreds of thousands of social media impressions. Legitimised by the top leaders of mainstream political parties in the opposition.

Edit, 15th February, 2019: Read the Part IIAyatollah Khomeini’s ‘soft war’ hits the Indian hinterland – Part II.

Continue reading “Planet-scale influence operation strikes at the heart of polarised Indian polity – Part I”

Cyber power & the Huntington-ian cliche we love to hate

Most of the media coverage around the sustained Russian disinformation campaign against the US and Ukraine portrays post-Soviet Kremlin as some rogue aggressor devoid of ideology or belief. As the perfect villain, its purported aim is to foment chaos and merely revel in it.

If there is any allusion to strategy — some method in Russian madness — then it is limited to the exponents of tactical hybrid warfare like Gen. Valery Gerasimov, not going any deeper.

But if there is one cliche that fully applies to cyber-enabled information warfare, it is that we are witnessing the veritable clash of civilisations in its most primitive form — whose seeds were sown in the computing architecture that predated the internet. It’s a cliche we love to hate — because of Samuel P. Huntington’s appropriation by the American neoconservative thought. Continue reading “Cyber power & the Huntington-ian cliche we love to hate”

USCYBERCOM’s cyberwar: the Great (Video) Game?

The US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) seems to be adapting and responding to the Russian disinformation threat in some bizarre ways.

Here’s the developing story:

Continue reading “USCYBERCOM’s cyberwar: the Great (Video) Game?”