A couple of weeks ago, the government set up an expert committee under the National Cyber Security Coordinator to look into revelations that a Chinese technology company with links to China’s government had been monitoring Indian citizens and organisations. India is not the only country concerned about such cyberattacks. The United States (US) department of defence (DoD) last week exposed an information-stealing malware, SlothfulMedia, which they said was being used to launch cyberattacks against targets in India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Russia and Ukraine.
While the DoD did not identify the cyber actor responsible for this particular malware, certain countries — China, Russia, North Korea, Iran — have consistently been accused of cyber warfare. The most notorious example is, of course, that of the misinformation campaign conducted by Russian bots during the 2016 US presidential elections, a campaign that is said to be active again in the upcoming US elections. This brings us to the question of what cyberwarfare is, who conducts it, how it is waged, and the ramifications of what seems to be an opaque shadow war conducted behind screens.
Manjari Chatterjee Miller is associate professor of international relations, Frederick S Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University, and a research associate at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, University of Oxford. Engin Kirda is a professor of computer science and engineering at Northeastern University, an adjunct professor at the Yokohama National University, and the executive director of the Northeastern Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute
The views expressed are personal