Let’s take a look at a few of the more recent attacks. Earlier this month, hackers in Pakistan breached and defaced the official website of the Bangalore City Police. Then, they launched attacks against websites of the India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which led to the websites being blocked for all users trying to access them from Pakistani IPs.
In response, Indian hacktivists have defaced several Pakistani government websites, including the ones of the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Railways, the government’s Establishment Division, the Cabinet Ministry and the National Portal.
Both sides have been launching attacks for years and unlike in other parts of the world, the hacktivists don’t rely on distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks or data leaks to make a point. Instead, they mostly choose to deface websites with their protest messages.
Most of the defacements reference Kashmir, a region in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. The region includes the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan’s Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan territories, and a couple of regions administered by China, namely the Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.
India and Pakistan have been fighting over Kashmir since the Indo-Pakistani War (1947). For the past decade, there has been a lot of violence in the region.
On one hand, the Indian government wants it. On the other hand, there are the Kashmiri insurgents. Some of them want Kashmir to become independent, while others favor its accession to Pakistan.
Not all cyberattacks launched by Pakistani and Indian hacktivists have something to do with Kashmir. Some of the attacks are simply a means of showing off their skills or their superiority in cyberspace.
In the past, there were some times when some of the hacker groups tried to reach some sort of agreement, but because there were many teams, each one with its own agenda, the peace didn’t last long.
There are a handful of major groups involved in this “cyberwar,” but most of the attacks are launched by newly formed crews or “independent” hacktivists. This is probably why these attacks will continue for a long time.
Even if a miracle happens and someone officially gains total control of Kashmir, the attacks will continue because there will always be a side that’s unhappy with the situation.
Over the past period, both the Indian and Pakistani governments have started focusing on securing their websites against these hacktivist operations, but as agencies become more dependent on the Internet, hackers will always find a vulnerable site.
And since governments start relying more and more on the Internet and as they start moving operations online, it’s possible that we’ll see other types of attacks, not just website defacements.
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