Why We Need Software Research in the Indian Army

I got this mail from my son who is a software engineer and felt I had to share with one and all who are following my blog. To be honest I do not understand too much of the technicality of what he is conveying to me. However I understand the points he is trying to make since he has put across issues in a way I can understand. I am sure you can too and hope some one in the NSAB, IDS, MOD and Service HQs takes note of it and starts something constructive. Sitting in IIT Madras I am prepared to do anything it takes to thwart such attacks. All it needs is an approach from any concerned agency or person to work out a plan and execute it.   As we enter Digital India age, we are also opening up to a greater degree of Cyber Attacks which is all part of Multi Domain Operations which I have highlighted in my previous articles.

I read this article this morning about how  N.Kor. launched a hack against two facilities in India – one was a Nuclear Plant in South TN; and the other an undisclosed location which seems to prompt officials to call this “an act of war”.

Hacks like these are the reasons why we need Software Engineering Research in the Army. And I am not talking about Software Engineering, or IT infrastructure. I am specifically talking about investments in cutting edge Software Engineering Research that looks at areas such as Software Runtime Analysis, Operating Systems, Compiler technology, Parallel Programming, Virtual Machines, Software Visualization, Software Testing, Paradigms of Programming Languages.
That list might read like a curriculum out of a Masters program in Software Engineering or Computer Science anywhere in the World. But elements from all those areas of study and research help in thwarting and defending against such attacks, and eventually developing capabilities in deploying such tactics in offensive postures.
For instance, knowing how to analyze code that is currently running in your operating system is the bedrock of all malware detection. It needs the combined understanding of operating systems fundamentals, code compiler technology and software runtime analysis.
In fact, when you break down Software Security research to its first principles, you comes to that list of subjects that I listed. All of security research is nothing more than specialized application of software engineering – with the purpose of exploiting (or defending against) vulnerabilities in someone else’s software systems. A vulnerability for a security researcher is nothing more than a software bug for a regular software engineer.
I could write for ages about this. But this stuff needs to start taking center stage if any meaningful attempts at cyber warfare are to be attempted.

2 responses to “Why We Need Software Research in the Indian Army”

  1. Undoubtedly it is the best explanation of the Indian education system. Moreover, education and schools in Bhopal are also booming at a great pace. The number of best private schools in bhopal are also increasing as many parents wants to give the best school in bhopaltheir children. The beneficial curriculum of CBSE becomes famous which influenced a number of parents to enrol their children in the best cbse school in bhopal Among them, all the best school in Ayodhya bypass bhopal are popular in Bhopal.

  2. Sir,I agree with him. To elaborate [1].Some trends first:Increasing Specialization – the ability to collect & apply knowledge to solve problems is becoming more critical. This started when humanity realized that knowledge/education increased the capabilities of its owners.The second trend: The Digital trend will become – Mankind's DNA. eg: Digital India is the first step. The problem is that it is disruptive. Our decision makers do not have the skills to comprehend the more subtle implications.Our traditional answer is to procure “intelligence” from outside:* When Kalyani designed it's Gun, it took the Fire control system from Israel because is “the best”..* We decide on the Rafael because we believe it contains the greatest “knowledge” that will solve our problems today the best.But the game has changed. The core is the ownership of the capabilities. As an example the physical ownership of Centrifuges by Iran meant nothing. When the time came, the stuxnet virus [2] destroyed them without any need to physically enter the Iranian facilities.A couple of possible scenarios:It is 2025 and India has now turned largely digital and the Government consists of software running on datacenters across the country. Imagine if those data centers were crashed – especially during an “event”?Some possibilities:* The traffic signals randomly switch on and off. Traffic jams..* the Railway signalling system has randomly puts trains coming in opposite directions on the same track…* the Electricity grid overloads and burns out:* the Telecom network (BSNL is agressively deploying Huawei – areas like Ladakh, Arunachal have primarily got BSNL…) crashes at the wrong moment.:-) 2025 is too early? But there's exponential acceleration. Technology and knowledge is accelerating exponentially (2013 article [3]). The concept of Technological singularity [4] is related: and thoughts:* The first is that old math problem. If a lotus plant doubles the area it covers everyday and takes 49 days to cover the entire pond, how long does it take to cover half the pond, quarter the pond? The answer is 48 and 47 days.* Median estimates for technological singularity is 2040-2050 – that's not too far away. One of the implications of this is the have-nots will be completely left behind.The answer? We must strategically (and I mean with a 150 year perspective) identify the areas that we MUST dominate and then go all out to build our own deep skills to first protect our systems and then to bring this value to the world.India was CRITICAL in the 13-14th century because we had knowledge that others coveted – Muslin, Wootz steel… The world was beating a road to our Door. We now procure/buy this from others.There's a lot more of course. I think that “lot more” would need to be pieced together and a strategic intent needs to be formulated and acted upon. The Chinese have already done that. They are ahead of us.Hoping this helps.[1] A backgrounder:** More:**

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