A US-based China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI) reported that China been launching cyber attacks against Indian satellite communications in 2017 along with other counter-space activities. The 142-page long report says that between the period of 6 years, from 2012 to 2018, China cyber attacked multiple times, although, the Indian Space Research Organisation maintains (ISRO) says that its systems have not been compromised so far.
While listing out some of these cyber attacks, the report says, in 2012, computer attacks on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) “allowed ‘full functional control’ over JPL networks. This attack was based on China”. Interestingly, on March 27, 2019, India had launched Anti-Satellite (A-Sat) missile technology that made India capable of killing enemy satellites at any time through a ‘kinetic kill’ option.
ISRO Chairman says threat perception is not unique to India but, are the cyber attacks real?
However, many people say that ISRO hasn’t been successful to point to the sources of cyber attacks over these years. A senior scientist said, “Cyber threats are given but it is not as of now known who are behind such attacks. We have systems with us that are capable of alerting and I don’t think our security has ever been compromised”.
“It is possible that the Chinese have tried, but they have failed.” ISRO chairman K Sivan has refused any direct information of any such attack on Indian ground stations. “The threat perception is always there and it’s not a new thing to India. We are safe and secure,” he said.
He further added that the country has an independent and totally isolated network and it is not connected to the public domain along with the Internet.
This report by the US has been received at a time where India is involved with China in a standoff at the Line of Actual Control(LAC). The newswire, ANI quoted that its defense sources are stating the fact that the Indian security officials need 4-6 ‘dedicated satellites’. This is done to ensure the security of the privacy of the nation from any kind of cyber attacks from China. Though we don’t know what the actual reality of the situation is and hence, it is a decision to stay protected and be ready for the worst.
ANI also quotes that the officials are saying that they want “high-resolution sensors and cameras”. This is to tack any kind of out of the blue movements that would disrupt the security in any way. We all know that these are tough times but, the nation needs to keep up hopes and remain united.