Is technology a_double-edged_tool_today


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Is technology a_double-edged_tool_today

  1. 1. CMYK Technology Tech as Deadly Tool To use or not to use - that’s the Cyber Question! - Vicky Shah A decade ago we were afraid of aircrafts causing d a m a g e t o the security of state or friendly relations with foreign states. infrastructure; today we are afraid of Section 66 F: A. Whoever with intent to threaten the unity, software and integrity, security or sovereignty of India or to strike terror in technology that can the people or any section of the people by be used to cause i. Denying or cause the denial of access to any person damage. The World authorised to access computer resource; or of Technology is almost seven times ii. Attempts to penetrate(enter) or access a computer faster than the real world. There is no doubt that resource without authorization or exceeding authorised technology is a double edged sword. With good access; or comes evil and the realty is that technology can be iii. Introducing or causing to introduce any computer misused. The ease that technology provides makes contaminant, and by means of such conduct causes or is it the best tool to be used by everyone. This is a likely to cause death or injuries to persons or damage to or global issue and not only specific to India. destruction of property or disrupts or knowing that it is Borderless incidents and activities have become likely to cause damage or disruption of supplies or services difficult to regulate. essential to the life of the community or adversely affect the According to the Anti-Terrorist Act - 1985 a terrorist critical information infrastructure specified under section is “a person who indulges in wanton killing of 70, or persons or in violence or in the disruption of B. knowingly or intentionally penetrates(enters) or services or in damaging property or disrupting accesses a computer resource without authorisation or means of communication essential to the exceeding authorised access, and by means of such community with a view of putting the public in fear conduct obtains access to information, data or computer affecting adversely the harmony between religions database that is restricted for reasons for the security of the of different races, coercing or awing the State or foreign relations; or any restricted information, government established by law or endangering the data or computer database, with reasons to believe that sovereignty and integrity of India.” such information, data or computer database so obtained According to Information Technology Act 2000 may be used to cause or likely to cause injury to the (Amendments) 2008 Sub-section 66F there is interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the punishment for cyber terrorism up to life security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, imprisonment. Cyber terrorism is defined as public order, decency or morality, or in relation to causing denial of service, illegal access, contempt of Court, defamation or incitement to an introducing a virus in any of the critical information offence, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, group infrastructure of the country defined u/s 70 with the of individuals or otherwise, commits the offence of cyber intent to threaten the unity, integrity, security or terrorism. sovereignty of India or strike terror in the people or There is an old truism - we cannot stop progress. The any section of the people; or gaining illegal access truism has been used to justify investments in technologies to data or database that is restricted for reasons of that could potentially not only harm people but wipe out The Mumbai PROTECTOR March - April 2010 66 CMYK
  2. 2. CMYK Technology the entire planet. While we cannot stop the but GPS & networks progress, we still should think carefully about Recent Past Incidents where technology was misused: the consequences of the technologies that we invent.1 • 26/11: Global Positioning Satellite systems, Blackberry, CDs with high resolution satellite images, Multiple cell phones with “A computer keyboard can be a very useful switchable SIM cards, Satellite phones tool for the progress of humanity, but it can also become a dangerous weapon capable • September 13, 2008: Indian Mujahideen militants used of producing enormous economic damages unsecured WiFi system of a company in Chembur. to the infrastructure of a state or company, • August 2008: A stray terror e-mail was traced to the Khalsa and even against the integrity and the life of College, Matunga, Mumbai. human beings” - Secretary General Cesar Gaviria, OAS, Us2 • July 2008: E-mails were sent before and after the Ahmedabad blasts. One was traced to Navi Mumbai and the other to an IP Technology Platforms that have been address in Vadodara. misused: • May 2008: A terror e-mail was sent before the Jaipur blasts • Social Networking Sites • Blogs • Email from a cyber cafe in Ghaziabad. Services • SMS Services • VoIP • GPS and GIS based Applications and Equipments • November 2007: Serial blasts in Lucknow, Varanasi, and Faizabad courts in UP The terror e-mail was sent by Indian . Growing Challenges faced by India: Mujahideen (IM) from a cyber café in Laxmi Nagar, Delhi. • Exponential growth of Internet and Mobile (Source: Internet and Newspapers) Phone use • 3G technology to be started very soon The Wi-Fi misuse could have easily prevented had the • Interconnected business and government users/or their network administrators would have been • E-governance growth has implications for alert and careful in securing the connections. It only takes Information Security, Privacy and Cyber following steps to secure a Wi-Fi Connection: Security • Change Default User names & Passwords • Income Tax, Excise, Customs, Sales tax • Use Strong Passwords networks connected • Enable Wireless Security (WPA2) • Smart cards, UID being issued • Change your SSID • Land records computerized • Do not show Broadcast SSID • Police networks • Use MAC filtration • Defense is no longer arms & ammunition • Use Static IP Address • Use firewalls • Use Latest Antivirus Pack An interesting article has been written by Bruce Schiner about “Terrorists May Use Google Earth, But Fear Is No Reason to Ban It” he talks about how surprising it is to the people that their own infrastructure can be used against them. And in the wake of terrorist attacks or plots, there are fear-induced calls to ban, disrupt or control that infrastructure. This isn't the only way our information technology helps terrorists. We already know they use websites to spread their message and possibly even to recruit.3 Let's all stop and take a deep breath. By its very nature, communications infrastructure is general. It can be used to plan both legal and illegal activities, and it's generally impossible to tell which is which. When we send and receive email, it looks exactly the same as a terrorist doing the same thing. To the mobile phone network, a call from one terrorist to another looks exactly the same as a mobile phone call from one victim to another. Any attempt to ban or limit infrastructure affects The Mumbai PROTECTOR March - April 2010 67 CMYK
  3. 3. CMYK Technology everybody. Clearly the technologies that are being developed and that would be developed in future can be used in a bad Terrorist attacks are very rare, and it is almost always a way by the "evil doers". But this is really nothing new, bad trade-off to deny society the benefits of a and as I said in the beginning of this article - communications technology just because the bad guys technological progress is unstoppable. So why do we might use it too. Communications infrastructure is need to think about these things? Simply because it is especially valuable during a terrorist attack. Twitter was always better to pause and think about the the best way for people to get real-time information implications, than blindly rush through things. Just about the attacks in Mumbai. If twitter was banned because something is cool does not mean that it is not would it have been helpful for people to know about dangerous. And beyond cool, we can be just a bit more the updates? Information lessens fear and makes careful. These are debatable and should be debated at people safer. the right level with right channel. None of this is new. Criminals have used telephones The Way Ahead: and mobile phones since they were invented. Drug smugglers, Bank robbers, terrorists, etc... everyone. • Government's positive and critical role in Proactive, Society survives all of this because the good uses of Active and Reactive strategies. infrastructure far outweigh the bad uses, even though • Protecting, Preventing, Mitigating and Investigating the good uses are - by and large - small and pedestrian against all forms of incidents and the bad uses are rare and spectacular. And while • Citizens alertness and cooperation to Law Protectors, terrorism turns society's very infrastructure against Law Enforcement Agency, etc… itself, we only harm ourselves by dismantling that • A statewide and overall national approach to infrastructure in response - just as we would if we technology security is required for protecting citizens banned technology because anti social elements used from the menace of Technology Abuse. them too. • Government lacks expertises which are available with Private Sector Direct capitalization of talent "Where in the rule book does it say that terrorists are available in the industry. not allowed to use technology that is readily available • Government playing instrumental role in raising to almost anyone?" said Ajay Sahni, executive director awareness about existing risks, creating state of New Delhi's Institute for Conflict Management. "The infrastructure to address technology security issues, only people out of the loop seem to be the Indian and create confidence for the citizens. security forces. They are a generation behind in • Government helping in preventing economy losses understanding the technology that the terrorists faced by community. used."4 • Cert-In to play an important role in critical Lastly, this is terrorism in the digital age. "Technology is infrastructure as they are appointed as nodal agency advancing every day. We try to keep pace with it." as per the Information Technology Act 2000 Hasan Gafoor, IPS Mumbai CP during the 26/11 press Amendment 2008. conference. Credits, Reference and Acknowledgements: 1)Technology and Terrorism: Are we being too naive? - Written by Alex Iskold / June 2, 2007 2) 3159573/Confronting-cyber-crime.html 3) 4) ticle/2008/12/02/AR2008120203519.html Disclaimer: This article is for non-profit, knowledge sharing, awareness and educational purpose. Please feel free to write your view, criticism, comments to the author at Information available in this article is not enforceable by law; however these are my personal views about the topic which i feel should be shared. Any errors, omissions, misstatements, and misunderstandings set forth in the article are sincerely apologized. Relying on the contents will be sole responsibility of the users. + The Mumbai PROTECTOR March - April 2010 68 CMYK