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Security and Cyber-security August 31, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in india, politics, technology.
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This is both bizarre and scary :

Taking a dig at cyber security preparedness levels, a hacker, who claims to be based in Sweden, posted online this evening the passwords of 100 email accounts of embassies and government offices across the world, including 13 Indian accounts, containing classified information and correspondence.

Top on the list of passwords that have been posted on http://derangedsecurity.com give access to email accounts of Indian Ambassadors to China, US, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Oman, Finland besides officials of the National Defence Academy (NDA) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

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Two articles on consecutive days in the Express about how political correctness is likely to cost India dear. From former IB director :

The worst reaction of a government to such a serious national challenge would be to underplay it, divert the discourse from core issues to the peripherals. Asserting that all is well and nothing needs to be changed, emphasising maintenance of social harmony as the core concern, complimenting people for bravely suffering losses and returning to normal lives, talking about human rights and protection of minorities — these are all laudable objectives. No one disputes them, but they do not address the core issues.

In the face of a threat as serious as this, the national focus should be on: how serious is the threat; its long and short-term implications; our capacities to counter the threat, both in policy formulation and policy execution; and how to address the deficiencies. This would involve considering ways to leverage civil society, media, the scientific community, religious leaders to the best national advantage; ways to neutralise the fast-growing domestic base of terrorism, including availability of hardware and human resource, collaborative linkages of the terrorists with organised crime, gun runners, drug syndicates, hawala operators, subversive radical groups, and how to break the nexus. Debate on the adequacy of the country’s laws, judicial administration, security systems and doctrines, etc, in the light of assessed threats is also important. The right discourse should also centre on our policy options vis-à-vis countries and groups involved in terrorist incidents in India. This is not happening, and that’s the tragedy.

And from Bibek Debroy. Before you head to his article, take a challenge and try to name the location and approximate month of the terror attacks in India since 2000. Once you are done, match your list with Bibek’s list in the first paragraph of the article.

There is some cross-country literature on the link between political freedom and terrorism. In autocratic and dictatorial countries, political freedoms are low, but terrorist acts are also difficult. And in advanced democracies where political freedoms are high, terrorist acts are rare as the political process provides a vent. Terrorist incidents are highest in intermediate democracies. India ought to be in the advanced zone, but seems to be in the intermediate category.

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