International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) has issued a report on qualitative assessment of cyber power in 15 countries. The report says that India is more focused on Pakistan’s offensive cyber capabilities than on China.
The influential think tank, IISS has assesed cyber capabilities of countries in seven categories: strategy and doctrine; governance, command and control; core cyber-intelligence capability; cyber empowerment and dependence; cyber security and resilience; global leadership in cyberspace affairs and offensive cyber capability.
The IISS categorizes countries in tiers: one, two, three and four – tier one being the most effective cyberpower.
In tier one only US is placed as it lewds the world in all categories.
India is placed in the third class or tier because it has strengths in only some of the categories but “significant weaknesses” in others. Japan, Iran, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and North Korea are also in this tier.
In the second tier, Australia, Canada, China, France, Israel, Russia and the United Kingdom are placed as they have strengths in some categories.
The report says, “The military confrontation with China in the disputed Ladakh border area in June 2020, followed by a sharp increase in Chinese activity against Indian networks, has heightened Indian concerns about cyber security, not least in systems supplied by China.”
The report released on Monday highlights that India has made only minor progress in developing its policy and doctrine for cyberspace security despite the geo-strategic instability of its region and a keen awareness of the cyber threat it faces.
India was so slow that it established key coordinating authorities for cyber security in the civil and military domains only as late as 2018 and 2019.
What is India’s cyberpower?
Cyberpower studies seven parameters: from strategy to cybersecurity. However, India couldn’t not introduce reforms in cyber governance in any of the parameters. IISS recommends India to beef up its cyber security if it wants to survive.
A security expert told Indian newspaper that India has some cyber-intelligence and offensive cyber capabilities but they are regionally focused, “principally on Pakistan.”
India struggling to compensate for its weaknesses by building new capability with the help of US, UK, Israel and France.
Pakistan and other countries as cyberpowers
On the other hand, information about Pakistan’s offensive cyber capabilities are not public thanks to secrets kept by its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
According to the report, China’s cyber power as clearly inferior to that of the US, and substantially below the combined cyber power of the US network of alliances.
The countries covered in this report are US, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia (four of the Five Eyes intelligence allies); France and Israel (the two most cyber-capable partners of the Five Eyes states); Japan (also an ally of the Five Eyes states, but less capable in the security dimensions of cyberspace, despite its formidable economic power); China, Russia, Iran and North Korea (the principal states posing a cyber threat to Western interests); and India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam (four countries at earlier stages in their cyber-power development). It is an ongoing study, which will cover a total of 40 countries, including Germany, Singapore, Nigeria among others.