In the past few years, not a week went by without a website being hacked as part of the ongoing online conflict between Indian and Pakistani hackers. Ashish Saini, a young researcher who has been actively involved in helping Indian police investigate cyber incidents, has provided Softpedia with some interesting insight.
“The cyberwar between the two countries started in May 1998, when India conducted its nuclear tests. Soon after India officially announced the tests, a group of Pakistan-based hackers called ‘milw0rm’ broke into the Bhabha Atomic Research Center website and posted anti-India and anti-nuclear messages,” Saini explains.
“The cyberwars usually have been limited to defacements of each other's sites. Defacement causes a low level damage, in which only the home page of a site is replaced with the hacker's own page, usually with some message for the victim.”
The expert highlights the fact that, currently, Pakistani hackers mainly attack Indian systems over the territorial dispute in Kashmir.
“Pakistan hackers and the public say that the Kashmir state is a Muslim state and they want to include it in Pakistan, but Kashmir is an Indian state,” he said.
He believes that things might escalate on August 15, India’s Independence Day.
“The Pakistanis want to show that they’re alive. Every year they plan to hack and harm Indian government websites.”
According to Saini, this cyberwar will not end too soon, but he has some recommendations for the Indian government.
“Indian Authorities aren’t taking action against Pakistani hackers. In 2010, the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) got hacked by the Pak Cyber Army, but no one was arrested. This year, at least 3,000 websites were hacked by Pakistani hackers. A total of 92 government websites were hacked in 2009, 204 were breached in 2010, and 248 in 2011,” he noted.
“Indian government should control these types of activities and apply laws against Pakistani hackers. If fighting with our neighbors is in our genes, we can fight through the internet, media, newspapers and books, but let us not fight with guns and missiles. There may be humiliation if a website is defaced but at least no human life is lost.”
Finally, he believes that these cyber battles are not funded by the governments of India and Pakistan. Instead, they’re run by patriotic individuals. Apparently, the state agencies haven’t become involved, apart from the fact that they’re constant victims of these independent groups.