NATO And India Would Work Together For Busting Chinese Hackers

Faced with a common cyber security threat from Chinese hackers, NATO is
eyeing India as an ally in securing its computers that hold sensitive
information and data against malware and Trojan viruses.

With US already signing a cyber security collaboration pact with India
this July, the 28-nation American-led political and military alliance is
of the view that it can collaborate with the South Asian information
technology superpower in protecting the cyber world, one of the global

“You have one of the most advanced cyber industries in the world… and
information technology industries. The issue of cyber security is one
that affects the United States, NATO and India no matter whether we are
aligned or non-aligned,” a senior NATO official told IANS at the
alliance’s headquarters here.

“The cyber world doesn’t recognise alignments. It only recognises
switches and servers. As a result, we are in this cyber world together,
whether we like it or not.

“We better figure out a way to cooperate, particularly since it does
matter that you have a neighbour (country) next door, which is pretty
much involved in cyber issues, even far away. Because in the cyber
world, we are equally close,” the official, who did not want to be
identified because of the organisation’s rules, said.

Although he did not name any of India’s neighbours, it was clear he was
referring to China, which is suspected of being behind spy software
attacks on American, NATO, Indian and Tibetan computers in the last
half-a-decade, stealing highly classified military and security data.

In 2009, an investigation by Information Warfare Monitor (IWM)
comprising researchers from Ottawa-based think-tank, SecDev Group, and
the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto,
had blamed a spy network of Chinese hackers, called GhostNet, to have
breached the firewalls of computers of NATO and other countries,
including that of Tibetan leader Dalai Lama.

Their 2010 report claimed that major Indian defence establishments,
including the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, National
Security Council Secretariat, National Maritime Foundation, and armed
forces units were targeted and secret presentations on weapons systems
stolen by Chinese hackers.

A cyber security report earlier this year had suggested that the
worldwide web-based attacks in 2010 were up 93 per cent from 2009.

As recently as July this year, ‘Anonymous’ hackers had targeted NATO in a cyber attack.
Just a month ahead of the latest attack, NATO had decided to create a
special task force to detect and respond to such attacks by beefing up
its cyber defence capabilities.

Its 2010 summit in Lisbon too recognised the growing sophistication of
cyber attacks and set policies for the alliance to cooperation with
partner countries.

NATO has already spelt out its intention of having India as a political
and military partner country, considering its growing stature as a
regional power.