India’s tactical vulnerabilities have grown in tandem with its technology deficiencies, posing serious danger. India’s counterinsurgency capabilities could be revolutionized by disruptive technical breakthroughs. With the emergence of a China-Pakistan axis and the possibility of Pakistan intentionally leaking disruptive technology to its non-state affiliates, Indian defence strategists must think ahead.
Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat explained that India’s ambition to become a regional superpower cannot rely on borrowed power and that the country’s battles must be won with domestic weapons and technology. India’s potential to manufacture defence equipment is limited due to the fragmented nature of its defence commercial industrial environment.
The insidious nature of information and the rapid speed of technology change is redefining the fundamental nature of conflict, allowing for novel non-contact warfare especially. However, the optimum solutions must be identified through acquisitions, streamlining or up-gradation of legacy systems, and indigenous manufacture, all while bearing in mind India’s macroeconomic characteristics and socioeconomic demands.
Artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, advanced analytics, drones, autonomous drone systems, aerospace militarization, cyber operations, quantum telecommunications, and social media propaganda are all contributing to new dangers that are further challenging the security ecosystem lately.
Use of Artificial Intelligence
Several technological advances and their expected courses have presented armed forces throughout the world with a wide range of alternatives and domains to strengthen their operations over the previous decade. Several major technologies are at the forefront of these breakthroughs, and they constitute a serious disruption in current military assets. Artificial Intelligence may be the most well-known and rapidly evolving field with significant disruption potential.
Using a hybrid of surveying, pattern recognition, scanning, and strategizing, AI technology can be used in combat to assess vast data and expedite judgement. AI can provide a foundation for the military to optimize immediate reactions to cyber assaults, conventional bombardments, and other sorts of electronic volleys due to its distinctive and dynamic algorithms.
AI’s implementation in automation to produce smarter autonomous Unmanned Vehicles has been one of the most discussed extensions of AI. They have a wide range of applications in warfare, from decreasing losses to gathering intelligence, monitoring systems, and reconnaissance (ISR) in the most extreme weather circumstances. Drone swarms, which allow a huge group of drones to work in concert to conduct a myriad of complicated military manoeuvres, have been developed by industry leaders.
The Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force have inked various major contracts over Rs 500 crore in the realm of drone technology in less than two weeks, with a focus on Indian enterprises amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for adopting innovative battle technologies. In addition to counter-drone technologies, the Services have signed deals for the purchase of kamikaze drones or hovering weapons to swarm drones with both kill and reconnaissance capability. All contracts are being inked under the emergency procurement process. This is because the procedure is quicker, according to sources, and the goal right now is to help indigenous enterprises while they work on improved models.
The Army has also acquired over 100 tactical Indo-Israel kamikaze drones, which were employed in the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict, to strengthen its operating efficiency along Pakistan’s and China’s frontiers. These drones will be constructed in Bengaluru by a strategic alliance between Israel’s Elbit System and India’s Alpha Design, which is now part of the Adani Group, and will be delivered in a year. The Navy has also placed an enormous order for highly specialised drones with an Indian joint venture firm.
What Exactly are Swarm Drones?
The drones are being released as a swarm, which is a technique known as swarm drone technology. These drones are not only lightweight and inexpensive, but they also have high-tech AI, making them crucial in upcoming combat. Swarm drones can cause chaos since they are used in deceptive warfare, radar systems and air defence systems are often unable to detect the numerous drones, mistaking them for a single large entity.
With a range of 50 kilometres and the capacity to strike targets from a distance of 500 metres, these drones can make significant advances behind enemy trenches. The UAV has a parent drone with a child drone attached that fires and then self-destruct after striking the mark.
These drones use AI and integrated responsive processors to carry out automatic, stochastic sonic operations to the target location. It is powered by satellite signals that are updated on a regular basis. These drones can also be used to drop food, medication, ammo, or any other necessary supplies to troops in regions that are cut off from supply routes.
Despite the fact that researchers have cautioned that these disruptive technologies should not be deemed the “magic elixir” in military readiness, it is evident that their procurement might give the state a competitive edge in the arena.
The integration of Quantum technology in the military strata would be a step deeper into the future and at the leading edge of technological disruption. China is at the forefront of this breakthrough, which has a lot of potential once it is actually realised. Its military implementation in quantum key exchange, quantum crypto algorithms, and quantum sensing threaten to change the military landscape fundamentally. Once developed, this technology is expected to equip the military with a hack-resistant communication system as well as unrivalled computational resources on the battleground.
Despite these tremendous technological developments, the DRDO continues to be mired in the creation of more traditional kinds of technology, amidst a slew of challenges such as delays, underbudgeting, and obsolete technology. While India’s missile, cyber, and space programmes have made significant progress before, a change in tactics may be required to strategically rise to the demands posed by rapidly evolving disruptive technologies.
It is apparent that domestic manufacture of such technology is still a critical aspect in their military application. Because a large percentage of these innovations emerge from commercial enterprises and can eventually be translated and used to growing military needs due to their dual-use nature, it is critical for the administration to foster an ecosystem receptive to such innovation As a consequence, for endogenous ingenuity and realistic technical advancement, a civil-military partnership is essential.
Which is the future of movies: OTT platforms or theaters?
Looking back over the last few years in India, we can see that OTT providers have been able to deliver high-quality content to our adjacent screens over the Internet, and that the platform subscriber growth rate is now moving toward high levels despite the COVID-19 epidemic lockdown. In addition to using its collection, OTT businesses invest a lot of money in producing their content. Several causes include new technology, declining data costs, and quicker Internet at home and online. The ease of watching video from OTT sources has been made possible by the entertainment oriented design of today’s smartphones, tablets, laptops, and smart TVs.
In India, there has been a steady increase in movie consumption. There is more than enough entertainment to view, and there are people who are passionate about movies. Going to the film has been a terrific way to pass the time. The rivalry is becoming more intense due to the changing times and the rise of OTT platforms and streaming applications in India. The OTT platforms vs. theaters competition are taking place in the race to offer viewers excellent content. The future of movie streaming applications, OTT platforms, and theaters appears bright due to the rise in movie viewers. Users can create a wide range of multimedia content using over-the-top platforms, streaming apps, and streaming media services. It provides broadcast, Internet, cable, and satellite television programming. OTT platforms are becoming increasingly popular due to changing lifestyles and a growth in smartphone usage with low-cost internet connections.
India has one of the highest rates of growth in the world, according to my research. Movies, in particular, are a huge source of enjoyment for Indians. A family outing where they may spend time together is what theater-going represents for Indian families. The future of movies, movie theaters, and OTT platforms is now looking much better with the launch of numerous new movie streaming apps in India.
OTT platforms and streaming apps have tried to expand their following and user base in India. Numerous streaming apps are setting up studios to create more content. Original content is an essential factor that attracts viewers and aids the growth of OTT Platforms in India. Awide range of original web series and films in many genres are available on all streaming apps. Many streaming services also provide programs and movies in regional languages. They collaborate with regional production businesses to create their films and television shows. Many telecom firms have also launched their OTT platforms and streaming apps to provide users with content.
Over the past three years, India has seen a double-digit surge in streaming apps. As a result, OTT platforms are competingagainst one another. With so many options available across different apps, viewers may find deciding which one to utilize challenging. Find out which of these two well-liked streaming apps is superior by reading our comparison between them.
There are benefits and drawbacks to the battle betweenmovie theaters and streaming apps. While watching a movie in a theater is a beautiful cinematic experience, OTT platforms allow you to enjoy entertainment in the comfort of your own home. They both provide excellent viewing experiences and material.
People used to get excited about watching new movies on the big screen. They still are, but they are now prepared to wait until they are made available on or bought by the OTT platforms. More than ever, several well-known streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Primeare purchasing the digital rights to the highest-grossing movies. Children are crucial to the success of streaming apps. They need relatable, exciting content, which OTT platforms can offer. In contrast to movie theaters, consumers can select to view anything at any time and from any location.
Many producers now opt to broadcast their low-budget movies directly on OTT platforms. Getting movies with a small budget and unknown actors out there can be challenging. Due to India’s lack of theaters, it can sometimes take time to determine a film’s release date. It is better to put them on streaming apps to reduce the expense of printing and advertising and prevent the conflict of release dates. Still, a significant portion of a movie’s earnings come from its theatrical premiere. Nonetheless, it now works to their mutual advantage that movies are released on OTT platforms after they have been seen in theaters. Both producers and OTT media can increase their revenue.
In India’s streaming market, movie theaters and OTT platforms offer unique USPs. On the one hand, movie theaters provide the chance to enjoy 3D films with excellent sound and visuals. The language barrier does not exist on OTT platforms, though. The option of subtitles in several languages, including regional ones, is available onstreaming apps in addition to the choice of material in other languages. Also, we can watch tailored content on OTT platforms, whichprovide recommendations based on our viewing preferences.
Movie theaters have a fee depending on the film, the time of the performance, and the seats. In contrast, OTT platforms bill customers monthly and annually according to their chosen plans, which offer various features and content. The fact that streaming apps provide a variety of content for users who do not pay for their premium services is an advantage. Thus, OTT platforms are less expensive in terms ofcost. There are more pauses and brseaks when watching movies at home because it is more comfortable. In contrast, there won’t be any interruptions when you watch a movie in a theater.
It is encouraging to see how the Indian public perceives the developments in the media and entertainment sectors. According to the Indian market, these applications are revolutionizing the country’s media and entertainment industries. These advancements include accessibility, content effectiveness, affordable media, and creative initiatives. In India, over-the-top applications have a bright future, according to my research. The ease of use and mobility, the variety of content, the prevalence of smartphones, and the cost-effectiveness of the applications are factors that Indian users believe will contribute to their success in this nation. However, OTT services must replicate several aspects of theaters, such as screen size, sound quality, the theatrical experience, and ambiance.
I Tried ChatGPT, & Its Okay
As of November 30, 2022, anyone can use ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer). A chatbot prototype named ChatGPT was made available by OpenAI. The AI-powered chatbot, which can produce code and handle various other sophisticated questions and requests, is gaining more appeal than earlier chatbots.
I wanted to investigate the security implications of the most recent newsworthy development and how it can affect privacy, data, and threat actors because the societal ramifications of AI will continue to evolve as the technology is employed more widely.
Over the years, many of my co-workers have predicted that something will fundamentally alter the security landscape and significantly impact the cyber security business. The likelihood that AI advancements will lead to anything is growing.
Cutting-edge technological advancements frequently make headlines for a short while before fading into academic or commercial applications, but AI is increasingly becoming a normal part of life. Through chatbots, online commerce, fraud detection, and voice assistants, we frequently interact with AI without realizing it. Although security research in this field is expanding, implementing the best practices suggested in that research may need to catch up with current technological advancements.
Despite the fact that ChatGPT, a favorite on the Internet, has grown in popularity over time! But, I have also discovered certain flaws in ChatGPT, a recent creation from OpenAI. ChatGPT content is the issue.
There are various Flaws of ChatGPT that you could have missed.
Older design: Based on online-accessible training data from 2021, ChatGPT is currently available. There may be slight differences in the outcomes it gives because it is already two years old, and the SAP ecosystem has changed significantly since then. Even more sophisticated ChatGPT-4 is expected to debut in 2023. What enhancements will it make to ABAP writing? Wait and see, then.
Response quality: ChatGPT will inevitably give incorrect responses because it is “simply” a language model. In light of this, it might be wise to rely only partially on its production. I suggest verifying the solutions it offers using one of two trustworthy sources.
There is only text: ChatGPT provides text-based findings. This means that we still require someone to handle non-code setups, fill out customized tables, transport changes, put code into an ABAP editor, and possibly debug to identify issues.
Provide Inaccurate Information: I noticed a couple of situations where ChatGPT’s use was constrained because it couldn’t provide precise answers to the questions. It provides inaccurate and irrelevant text since it is unable to understand and adapt to specific inquiries. This AI model cannot always be relied upon to produce correct results, making its usage or trust risky at times.
Extremely Formal: The bias in ChatGPT’s output prevents it from unwinding and behaving naturally. Instead, it typically gives formal responses. Humans, on the other hand, frequently reply to questions in a less official, more casual manner using everyday language and slang. The answers also lack humor, analogies, and sarcasm, which can make ChatGPT content too formal for a variety of content.
Provides summaries: I feel that ChatGPT’s academic works lacked depth on the subject. ChatGPT summarises the topic without offering any unique viewpoints. People create using knowledge, but they also include their own opinions and experiences.
The inability of language models: to comprehend or interpret word and phrase meaning in the same way that people do is another drawback. They can simply produce text using the patterns and connections they have discovered from training data. This implies that they might not always be able to respond to more complicated or abstract topics in a nuanced or intelligent manner.
What could go wrong with this technology?
Keeping tabs on the enormous number of code vulnerabilities is already a burden for the cybersecurity community. Because AI is quicker and more intelligent than humans at identifying weaknesses, these numbers will rise much further. We could witness the weaponization of freshly discovered vulnerabilities in minutes rather than days if AI coders were combined with them. The impact of this discovery on the development of technology may equal, for example, that of the invention of the iPhone or the widespread use of the Internet. Will a service like ChatGPT have a comparable influence on the kind of inflection they brought about in the years to come? Perhaps even more? ChatGPT’s future success or failure will only become apparent with time.
AI is not yet better or faster, but we anticipate it will be. One day, AI will be able to identify weaknesses, turn them into weapons, and create payloads, all without the help of humans.
Chat-GPT is an excellent first step; it is not a panacea for search or chat. Rather, it is a very significant improvement. Using ensemble methods to go from text to multimodal input and output is what I think the next step will do to really alter the game. Moreover, it should be emphasized that Chat-GPT appears to be getting better as we use it, so many of the points I made above might not be relevant even in a week, based on how quickly I am observing things getting better right now.
“Chat-GPT is a subset of OpenAI’s GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) language model. Like other language models, Chat-GPT is intended to produce text that closely resembles human speech based on the input it gets. It can produce a variety of responses to different prompts and questions because it was trained on a sizable text dataset.
My Honest Verdict
To sum up, Chat GPT is a potent natural language processing technology with a variety of uses. It also has certain drawbacks, such as a limited comprehension of context and background information, a hard time recognizing irony and sarcasm, a lack of common sense and general knowledge, and a restricted capacity to comprehend and react to complex inquiries. Moreover, ethical issues such as bias in training data, misuse and abuse of technology, influence on job displacement, and loss of human interaction, privacy, and security must be taken into account.
Considering what I’ve said thus far, I can categorically state that this software is among the most creative real-world chatbot instances and has a wide range of potential applications. However, I recommend that you consider it as a fantastic and extremely valuable tool that can greatly improve your performance in this area rather than a solution to completely automate your content creation.
In the end, Chat-GPT is a brilliant model that has the potential to generate chaos.
TikTok- an Intelligence Gathering App?
In recent years, TikTok has become a global sensation, with millions of users creating and sharing short-form videos on the platform. However, as the app’s popularity has grown, so too have concerns about its privacy and security. With reports of data breaches and potential links to the Chinese government, many are questioning whether TikTok is more than just a harmless entertainment app, but rather an intelligence gathering tool for foreign powers. In this article, we’ll explore the evidence behind these claims and examine the potential risks associated with using TikTok.
Technology advancements have fueled previously unheard-of social and economic growth. However, advanced technology development has also been a part of the fourth industrial revolution. It is causing disruption, new points of vulnerability, and adverse side effects that still need to be fully understood, much less managed. Cybersecurity is a challenge in a digitalized society as global threats increase. Rising dangers include identity theft and fraud, cyberattacks, and intrusions of vital infrastructure, electrical networks, and financial markets. Our lives are now more than ever dominated by communication technologies. It offers countless advantages but also new risks. For instance, the phenomenon of fake news is similar. But digital technology, which has led to the multiplication of information outlets and the growth of social media, is primarily to blame for its pervasiveness today.
The Rise of TikTok
Zhang Yiming created Musical.ly in September 2016, and in November 2017, Beijing’s Bytedance Technology purchased the app musical.ly and changed the name to TikTok. This app quickly rose to the top spot among Chinese-developed apps in worldwide distribution. 800 million monthly users were reported as on November 2020, while 738 million first-time installs were anticipated in 2019.
It is also essential to comprehend why people use TikTok and related subjects. Such comprehension is also necessary in light of recent research findings that TikTok is an effective medium for educating young people about such issues as their health, government information releases, political debates, travel-related information, live online sales, and even educational material. Even video posts have been examined in a radiology-related academic publication.
What Makes TikTok so Compelling?
First off, unlike other social media, the app’s algorithm offers material to users based on their behavior and data signals rather than on who they choose to follow. This implies that users can skip any other accounts to view a personalized feed of videos based on their interests and behavior each time they log in. Most of the app’s content is short-form video, with the typical video lasting between 21 and 34 seconds and offering regular bursts of excitement. The software also automatically starts playing the following video, so users are repeatedly “pushed” to watch one video after another.
Is TikTok a Terrifying App?
It is no surprise that TikTok, the immensely well-liked entertainment app, has generated some controversy. If you’ve ever used TikTok, you know that it’s a platform for quick, amateur videos, typically featuring young adults lip-syncing to songs or imitating their favorite memes, along with the typical dog and cat videos that are all over the internet.
Can you guess the minimum age to access TikTok? It is just 13 years!! However parents of young teens can take solace in the fact that at least the minimum age to send direct messages to other users may be 16 years.
What claims have been made against TikTok? There are mainly four charges put up against TikTok:
- The personal information TikTok obtains when registering an account can be (mis)used by the Chinese state.
- Downloading the app provides you access to Chinese malware.
- TikTok is a platform for Chinese influence operations.
- Chinese intelligence services use TikTok to gather vital information.
It’s excellent that Chinese spying and cybersecurity are now important public debate points still; occasionally, it feels more like a robotic repetition of accusations without regard to likelihood rather than thoughtful analysis. If you’ve watched TikTok, you could find it addictive, but there isn’t anything insightful. If the Chinese intelligence agencies were compelled to look for intelligence value in 15-second films of kids lip-syncing, they would be in a terrible position.
TikTok as an OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) Tool
Since most TikTok users are members of Gen Z, who make up the largest generation on the planet right now, they frequently post pictures and videos of what they do and see on social media. Over 83% of all users of the app have created and shared videos on TikTok, making it possible for anyone to become a content creator. The platform is a wealth of data from the OSINT point of view. OSINT ensures that users constantly obtain the most accurate and trustworthy information accessibly.
TikTok and Russia- Ukraine War
Since the Russia-Ukraine battle, which is being called the “first TikTok war,” social media has been crucial in helping millions of people stay aware of their surroundings. While social media has long been a place for conflict and unrest to play out, new capabilities like live streaming and the fact that over 61% of Ukrainians own smartphones make it easier than ever to get first-hand accounts of what is happening on the front lines.
Even before the invasion, TikTok was part of a more significant effort to monitor the army buildup near the Ukrainian border, which regular Ukrainian residents shared. Videos on TikTok with the hashtag “#Ukraine” had amassed more than 26.8 billion views as of March 9th, 2022, less than two weeks after the war started. On TikTok, more than any other platform, the conflict had the highest level of engagement with the content.
The Negative Aspect For OSINT Investors
The inability to precisely geolocate videos is one of the problems with using TikTok for intelligence gathering. However, there are still ways for analysts to figure out where the video was shot without location tagging. First, you can narrow your search by looking at the hashtags used in the video title, which occasionally contain identifying information like a city, town, or region. You can find more information by simply reading the comments; there might be other people who are familiar with the location and have left comments on the video.
TikTok as a Source of Information
The Wall Street Journal reports that 40% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 now use TikTok to look for information, which is concerning considering the app’s illustrious history as a disinformation factory. The audience of TikTok is attracted by the fact that anyone may become popular on the app, regardless of the number of followers; therefore, users are encouraged to keep their accounts public. This indicates that there is a tonne of publicly accessible content; still, people continue tremendous favor the usage of pseudonyms, especially when posting about current events like the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
“The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.”
– Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web.
Despite the controversies surrounding the platform, security professionals who disregard TikTok as a significant OSINT source run the danger of failing to detect severe risks to their personnel, property, and reputation. Everything depends on the user’s proper intervention in the application usage that comes into question.
VR in Military Training – The future of Military is here!
A brand-new field of transdisciplinary research known as virtual reality (VR) is quickly taking shape. Its application has expanded beyond academic study in recent years, and the industry is now making large expenditures in this area for research and producing numerous VR-based goods. Many different industrial sectors, including information technology, biomedical engineering, structural design, and training aids technology, are investing in this technology. The military industry, constantly searching for innovative ideas, is slowly but surely becoming one of the most prominent investors in VR. Read more to know the advantages of VR in military training.
The Concept of Virtual Reality
Virtual reality (VR) has its roots in science fiction books and essays, just like many other scientific discoveries. With the development of a device called Sensorama, which essentially was a game providing the player a sense of riding a motorcycle on the streets, the first VR experience occurred in 1962. Morton Heilig, a professional cameraman, devised this. He wanted to create a virtual experience that would include all five senses. Since then, VR has primarily established itself in the entertainment industry, especially for creating video games and films. The virtual reality field is expanding significantly outside the entertainment sector and encompasses a wide range of concepts in the general technology realm. It may take more work to explain VR in precise words because of how involved this technology is.
Also Read: The Rise of the Metaverse
Effectiveness of Virtual Reality in Military
It is common knowledge that technology is crucial to any nation’s military effectiveness. The adoption of new and emerging technology promises to create a military force that is qualitatively superior and capable of combating both conventional and asymmetrical threats. The main uses of VR in defense and security are to enhance officer and soldier training and to simulate military missions and operations
Advantages of Using VR in Military Training
1. Despite reductions in the national defense budget, it is a workable, affordable alternative. Indeed, unlike live training, virtual training doesn’t call for using actual weapons and supplies. The introduction of technological and doctrinal changes in the armed forces is addressed by military concepts like the revolution in military affairs (RMA), which are dynamic. Numerous new RMA technologies have been introduced in the armies due to a recent transformation in the information and communication technology (ITC) industry. Incorporating the byproducts of various technological advances like nanotechnology, biotechnology, robotics, cognitive sciences, and a few others into military strategy is a practice of modern militaries. Military technologies use various computer simulations of systems to perform operations on the simulated system and demonstrate the impacts in real-time.
2. Military personnel can engage in various simulations with VR without incurring related costs, drastically cutting training budgets. Virtual reality (VR) may immerse a learner in multiple settings, circumstances, or scenarios. It can impart knowledge, develop skills, and offer a priceless experience that will be helpful in the real world. Without incurring the related real world flight fees, trainees might use virtual reality to simulate a parachute drop and become more conscious of the sensation and disorientation of jumping from an airplane. They can be put in fighter jets, submarines, tanks, or armored vehicles to feel confined spaces. To learn how to recognise enemy soldiers or search for IEDs, they can be thrown into the middle of a real battle zone or taken on a patrol through a risky area.
3. It is helpful to gain context and locational awareness of scenarios that are challenging to duplicate without incurring a considerable cost when engaging in novel places and activities for the first time, such as a jungle boat invasion or an ice expedition. Additionally, VR can be used more passively to treat PTSD or provide recruits with a virtual “boot camp” experience to help them settle into military life more swiftly and with less fear.
4. Military educators can tailor the information presented to learners by using VR headsets to create a variety of training scenarios. Using straightforward web browser controls, trainers may build unique content from real-world footage and offer it to individuals or groups using the VR portal, which allows the upload and transmission of any 360-degree image or video. The technology enables headsets to be standalone devices that don’t need to be physically connected to PCs, allowing the wearer to walk around without restriction negating the need for a network or wireless connection.
5. VR can be used in the recovery process for post-traumatic stress disorder. It is feasible to create the traumatizing incident while maintaining the subject’s utmost safety, allowing him to relive the event in virtual reality and conquer his phobias (ibid). Virtual reality simulation is a crucial component of military training applied across many military domains. For instance, it may replicate any vehicle, simulating modern ground vehicles to give soldiers a sense of how they move and look. Additionally, it allows soldiers to practice playing any position they would have on that vehicle, such as a driver or gunner.
Although VR won’t replace live training, virtual training will play a more significant part in the military training industry. It can aid warriors in developing experience and situational awareness while decreasing training costs and raising training safety.
The Chinese Mastermind behind North Korean Cyber Attacks: The Accomplice with Selfish Motives
North Korea’s nuclear weapon adventures make for regular headlines in news channels, and to fund these nuclear tests they deploy covert cyber hackings. The nation has a history of criminal activities, be it counterfeiting the US $100 federal reserve notes and passing them off in various countries, or becoming the single largest producer of methamphetamine (a highly addictive drug). The development of a cyber army by North Korea in its attempt to keep an eye on its potential enemies and to establish its hegemony in the upcoming cyber world is an alarming situation for all other democratic countries. Facing heavy trade sanctions for its inhuman activities, North Korea’s regime involves itself in finding alternative methods to secure foreign capital for itself. Factors like covid-19 hitting the economy, and an all-time-low trade relations with other countries particularly China force them to commit such nefarious activities.
As per reports from a blockchain analysis company, Chain Analysis, North Korea has stolen almost $400 million of digital assets by attacking cryptocurrency platforms. The findings further reported that the frequency of attacks escalated from 4 to 7 times and the value extracted from these attacks grew up by 40%.
There are between 6000 to 7500 cyber warriors divided into four units to carry out cyber-terrorism against state infrastructure and financial services, and to hijack the latest defense technologies inspired by China’s cyber warfare. The cyber warriors set up their first unit in 1993.
The attacks help them gather large amounts of money with less reputational risk, and the other motivating factor behind such attacks is to have cyber warfare with its enemy nations as initially, they targeted South Korea to undermine its overall economy.
Dedicated office in North Korea
Bureau 121 formed in 1998 is a secret cyber attack group, for stealing confidential information from overseas nations. As per media reports, they operate from Shenyang, China, and many members of the group are teenagers. As per the defector Jang Se-Yul, more than 1800 members are operating from different parts of the world. They are highly trained and rewarded military officials, and their main targets are the USA, South Korea, and Japan.
Bureau 39, also known as ‘Cash for Kim’, is a secret agency that manages finances for the top leaders of North Korea, and also finances nuclear weapons. They are involved in multiple illegal activities like counterfeiting foreign currency, slave trades (human trafficking), and the illegal selling of drugs and arms. Earnings from these activities are used to train hackers and to provide them with the essential tools for hacking.
History of major attacks by North Korea
The 2014 attack on Sony network under the name ‘Guardian of Peace’ was one of the major cyber-attacks done on any organization, to obstruct the release of the comedy movie ‘The Interview’ based on the assassination attempt of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.
In 2016, hackers from North Korea tried to rob $1 billion from Bangladesh National Bank using the SWIFT banking system but the bank was saved by a timely intervention from the authorities.
A group of hackers called ‘Lazarus’ carried out a heist of $275 million on the cryptocurrency exchange ‘KuCoin’ based in Singapore.
On 4th August 2022, there was an attack on a software supplier named Advanced Software Group, which was working with government agencies. A ransomware attack on the National Health Service (NHS) across the United Kingdom was implemented, and it tried to steal patients’ details and other pertinent data.
In December 2022, Daniel DePetris, a US-based foreign analyst, received an email to give his thoughts on North Korea’s security issues. When he inquired deeply about the emails he found that the mail was sent by a spy who disguised himself as the director of ’38 North’ think tank who wanted to target the analyst. “I realized it wasn’t legit once I contacted the person with follow-up questions and found out there was, in fact, no request that was made, and that this person was also a target”, DePetris told Reuters. Experts related to this field said that the hackers tried to find other countries’ approaches and policies towards North Korea and mainly wished to know where the Western policy is headed on North Korea.
China helps North Korean hackers to launder the stolen money back to their country by helping them evade the economic sanctions. There is also support in the form of Chinese cyber infrastructure and in the form of providing training to the hackers. Some experts suggest that there are very poor internet conditions in Pyongyang and the hackers operate from the Chinese regions, especially those near China’s border cities such as Dandong. Some reports also give evidence to the fact that the famous hacker group Lazarus was trained by China’s cyber warfare department.
China helps North Korea’s Bureau 121 officials by giving them shelter in its country’s territory, and by providing them with all the basic facilities required for cybercrime (as per media reports).
China and North Korea have a student exchange programme, which eventually becomes the training ground for potential cyber hackers.
China’s Involvement in Cyberattacks
Naikon APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) group backed by China’s People Liberation Army unit 78020 is involved in operations against national governments in the Asia-Pacific region. After the report published by ‘Threatconnect’ and ‘Defense group inc.’, the activities of the group have decreased drastically. Seculations are that they have either gone silent or have changed their modus operandi. However, in 2020, Check Point Software Technologies’ threat intelligence arm revealed that the APT had many Asia-Pacific countries on its radar, and the case of cyber attacks on the Western Australian government was planned using the backdoor name ‘Aria-body’.
Their victims are mainly government agencies which include Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Science and Technology, civil and military organizations in countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore, Nepal, Thailand, and Laos.
By stealing confidential data of different government units, the ‘threat actors’ used to create mistrust between the different ministries. Their main aim is to gather geo-political intelligence.
China’s persistent use of cyber technology for unlawful activities has attracted North Korea towards it as its favorite teacher.
China Working at the Periphery
There is no concrete evidence of a joint cyber attack by China and North Korea as of now. China mainly works on the periphery and North Korea operates from the center. Their confluence can also be substantiated by following the fact that there has not been a single cyber attack on China (However, Beijing has accused the US of Cyber attacks for stealing sensitive data) till date from North Korea. North Korea has also attacked all other nations except China.
India – Digital Threats
As per the recent report of Panama-based virtual private network ‘Nordvpn’, the Indian users’ data is most commonly seen in cybercrime markets. The recent cyber attack on AIIMS Delhi, for which officials argued that it originated in China may have some North Korean connection also. With the rise of digital use, the vulnerability of such attacks will increase and there needs to be a robust mechanism to minimize such illegal attacks
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