Asif Ghafoor: The Gerasimov of South Asia – The Print

Published by The Print:
https://theprint.in/opinion/an-adversary-india-has-paid-little-attention-to-pakistan-armys-public-relations-wing/215740/.

With Facebook taking down pages linked to Pakistani cyber actors spreading disinformation in India ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it’s becoming increasingly clear that India has been late in spotting the danger: if there is a Pakistani inter-services directorate as lethal as the Inter Services Intelligence, it is, undoubtedly, the Inter-Services Public Relations.

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Pakistan’s asymmetric advantage in the post-Pulwama information battlespace

Read the full piece: Asif Ghafoor: The Gerasimov of South Asia

Cyber analysts like me have been this envisioning this scenario since a decade: how the South Asian flashpoint would manifest itself in the cyber-enabled information battlespace.

If there’s one inter-services directorate that is as lethal as the Inter-Services Intelligence, it’s the Inter-Services Public Relations. I know, I know — most of you would balk at my comparison. Hear me out:

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The most radical event on cyber-enabled information warfare, ever

So, the think tank SOFWERX is backed by the US Special Operations Command. It organised, what could possibly be, the best event on cyber-enabled information warfare, influence operations and disinformation, ever — Radical Speaker Series: Countering Weaponized Information. It’s amazing that tacticians of the USSOCOM are thinking at that level!

I documented most of the conference videos in a Twitter thread, which is pasted below as a single article.👇 Also, here’s the Thread Reader link of the same coalesced thread.

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Why 2019 Indian general election is likely to be influenced by foreign cyber actors

26th November, 2018: My ominous prophecy turned out to be true. But I could have never imagined Iran meddling like this. Read, Planet-scale influence operation strikes at the heart of polarised Indian polity.

Please challenge this hypothesis. I would like to be rebutted and told that this is just the work of my grandiose imagination.

India has been a hotbed of disinformation since the Cold War. Former R&AW chief Vikram Sood chronicles its history in his new book The Unending Game. He narrates how the KGB had “ten Indian newspapers and one news agency on their payroll and thousands of articles were planted.”

Legendary black ops specialist Bahukutumbi Raman had also recorded the scale of Soviet subversion, assessing the information gleamed from the Mitrokhin Archive.

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