Indian army to get new ‘boss’ to guard forces from cyber attacks

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for enhancing cyber security, the Indian Army is testing the indigenous BOSS (Bharat Operating System Solutions) to guard its communication and information networks from espionage by foreign players. In his maiden address to the senior commanders of the three services, the Prime Minister had asked them to guard against threats in the cyber domain. After that, the Army’s Jammu and Kashmir – based Northern Command started the evaluation of the indigenous operating system for military requirements. ‘The Northern Command has been evaluating the BOSS at its headquarters as an option for replacing the foreign solutions to provide more security to the critical security-related information of the forces deployed there,’ government sources say.

The software, developed by CDAC Chennai, is being customised for meeting the requirements of the military and during the evaluation last week, it was moving ahead satisfactorily,’ they said. BOSS is a software developed to benefit the usage of free software in the country and considered to be an important initiative by military analysts when cyber is fast emerging as warfare domain.

Army sources said protection of vital information in cyber domain is critical for the forces deployed in the command which faces both China and Pakistan as even if the itinerary of a small convoy gets leaked, it can be proven dangerous. At present, the Indian military is using foreign-origin software, which have been frequently coming under the scanner for working for their countries’ intelligence agencies and cannot be considered safe in the prevailing atmosphere of leaks and cyber espionage.

Currently, a number of equipments in the cyber infrastructure used by the public sector agencies supporting military communication is sourced from foreign manufacturers.
Fearing espionage through foreign equipment, an advisory was issued a couple of years ago by the Air Force to its personnel against using the phones of a particular phone firm.
Army officials from the Corps of Signals – which is responsible for maintenance and looking after the entire gamut of military communications – said creating our own information and communication technology infrastructure would also help in providing opportunities for ‘Make in India’ products in the sector. India is also coming up with a tri-service cyber agency which will deal with the matters of cyber security and have both offensive and defensive capabilities while dealing with issues in that domain.