Countries which are still building their arsenals for a military war are in a completely different battleground altogether. Chances of a country planning invasion on another country for territorial gains are bleak. With so many international watchdogs, international borders are expected to remain stable. Build all the nuclear weapons, upgrade all the submarines, ramp up all the fighter jets, but none of them would be used in the next battle. The next battle is to be fought in the cyberspace and its time the institutions around the globe prepare for this battle.
Recent ransomware attack, termed as WannaCry, has exposed the vulnerabilities of the connected world. It is a virus which exploits loopholes in the Microsoft’s outdated software and uses it to remotely lock your files. Once infected, you are forced to pay these cyber bullies to regain access to your system. These cyber-attackers trade in Bitcoin and hence could maintain their anonymity while wreaking havoc in the cyberspace.
There are three major takeaways. Firstly, our state of preparedness in pathetic. To treat WannaCry as a tragic aberration is to forget our grim history of cyber-attacks. It was not long back when AIFF website was hacked. Just prior to that, websites of DU, AMU and IIT were hacked. When it comes to cyber security, we stand deplorable. Secondly, It’s really sad to know that WannaCry is being aided by National Security Agency. It was NSA which found out this loophole in the Microsoft’s software, but instead of reporting it to the vendor, NSA decided to build an entire tool around it which would help them gain remote access to any computer. This tool was recently dumped online by a group called Shadow Brokers and has metamorphosed into this ransomware that we know today. State agencies should never cross the thin line between investigation and breach of privacy. Any vulnerability in the cyberspace should immediately be reported and plugged lest the world suffers. Last but not the least, as we are marching into the world of internet and internet of things, we are only passing on more control to the cyberspace. Hence it is mandatory that we also bolster our safeguards. Every step forward should be matched up with a notch improvement in the safety and security in the internet space.
The Internet has truly converted the world into a global village. It’s collective responsibility of each and every villager to ensure the safety of the cyberspace. A lapse on one’s part could take down the entire village in a jiffy. As bullets and shells are replaced by cyber attacks and ransom wares, we would need soldiers in the internet space to identify the vulnerabilities and fix it before it gets to rogue force unless you ‘wanna cry’!