We are by now well aware of the kind of security risk that is posed by terrorists using the internet. Aditya Mishra who spoke recently at the International Conference on Mobile Law at New Delhi explained at length how the internet and internet telephony has become a cause for concern for security agencies.
The United States of America too addresses a similar concern and very recently Director, FBI, Robert Mueller also suggested that cyber security threats could very soon become bigger threats than terrorism.
When one looks back at the 26/11 attack we realise that India was lacking when it came to curbing the run up to the attack which was largely carried out through the internet. Right from the stage of planning to the financial transactions, everything was carried out on the internet and our agencies were clearly in the dark all through the operation. Mishra during the conference did explain how the VoIP was used during the 26/11 attack. He said that the terrorists used a VoIP based service in New Jersey, USA. Callphonex got an email from a mail id, email@example.com on 21st October 2008, from Kharak Singh from India, for starting a VoIP account. “To activate this Callphonex VoIP account, an initial payment of $250 was made by a Mohammaed Isfaq through a Lahore based agent, through Money Gram. A Virtual number 0012012531824 was allotted by Callphonex, and it is the property of a Voxbone, a Belgian company, and was leased out to Callphonex, and a request was changed for allottment for 5 DID numbers (Direct Inward Dialers).” The calls are supposed to be coming for the virual US number, but they go to the five Austrian DID numbers, which are all virtual numbers, albeit mobile numbers.
India has now become fully aware of the problem and does realise that it does need a full fledged agency to counter this menace. India feels that its problems in cyber space would be solved to a large extent once the National Cyber Coordination Centre is set up. The job of this centre would be to monitor all activity on cyber space and then report it to the investigating agencies.
India today finds itself to be a victim of both cyber attacks and also cyber terrorism. Police officials say that despite very stringent measures, the web would be the worst place for them to deal with since terrorists would continue using it and finding ways to beat the security system. The Indian agencies would look to adopt the FBI style of functioning where they would not only pick up intercepts but also identify patterns and also players indulging in cyber crime. This would go a long way and would help identify the trail so that cracking or even preventing the case would become easier. In addition to this the Indian agencies also expect a very strong legislation to support their case. The proposed National Cyber Coordination Centre threatens to invade into privacy as it is intended to monitor each and every mail, tweet or face book update remotely connected with India. Indian agencies hope that the government would be able to overcome certain privacy issues so that the all the time is not consumed fighting a legal battle.
While the 26/11 styled attacks and the use of the internet would gain top precedence for Indian agencies, they also have headaches posed by the home grown terrorist outfits as well. The Indian Mujahideen in particular has been notorious to use the web space and has very often managed to fox Indian agencies.
Cyber experts say that the internet has become the most preferred medium for terrorists. Not only have they been planning operations on the net but also use the information available on it to their advantage. In cases of terrorism, the internet has provided real time information which has helped these terrorists plan their next move and also change their location. The agencies are trying to find a way to regulate the flow of content on the web which could prove fatal to investigation. The net was often accessed on the cell phone by the Indian Mujahideen operatives and they had picked up information on the police investigation real time which helped them plan their next move. Some police officials say that most of the time the flow of news at such a fast pace helped these operatives give them the slip.
The Delhi police which has been investigating several crimes committed by the Indian Mujahideen found that it was the internet which helped these persons a great deal. The operatives are said to have confessed to using their cell phones to access the web. They were trained to use key search words regarding the case on hand and they moved around avoiding arrest based on the information which the police were feeding to the press.
The Delhi police officials said that the use of this tactic helped them evade arrests for quite some time. There is a need to regulate the information that is coming out of the various