Industrial capacities and critical infrastructure are key targets in warfare. This has been so especially since the Industrial Revolution. Today, cyberwarfare poses a greater threat in this regard as it can cause much greater damage to the target with very little cost to the attacker. The ShadowPad attack on Mumbai’s electricity distribution grid has shown the damaging potential of cyberattacks directed at critical infrastructure. Though the energy sector is one of the most targeted in such attacks, it isn’t the only one. Sectors like transport, telecommunication, manufacturing units and other public sector services could be brought down by cyberattacks.
Recently, the Government of India notified the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 in the wake of growing concern around transparency, accountability and rights of users related to digital media. The rules aim to regulate social media, digital media, and OTT (Over The Top) platforms. The Rules provide broad powers to the government to regulate and monitor social media intermediaries including online news media. The Rules have been framed in exercise of powers under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011. The Rules are considered to be an instrument of a “soft-touch” oversight mechanism. The Part-II of these Rules shall be administered by the Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology and Part-III will be administered by the Ministry of Information and broadcasting.
Recently, pop star Rihanna’s tweet turned the global spotlight on internet shutdowns at sites where farmers’ protests were taking place. She and other eminent women who tweeted support to the farmers’ protests later became victims of misogynistic comments from those who were offended by the said tweets. The social media was at its lowest when several critics resorted to slut-shaming, name-calling and glorifying abuse against these women. From this incident, it is evident that, while social media plays a powerful role in enabling women’s voice to be heard, it also fails to curb harmful and toxic contents by its users. Such instances often forcefully silences women users. It is the duty of the government and social media to protect women from such a harmful environment.
With the advent of COVID-19 crisis, social distancing has become the new normal. This has caused a surge in adoption of digital banking and payment solutions across the world. In India, banks are rapidly moving towards digital transactions, regardless of infrastructural challenges and glitches. This has led to instances of outages. These rapid changes may also cause potential threats of increased cybercrimes, which are novel and needs to be addressed efficiently in a rapid manner.
Recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing technologies have led to rapid development in the sophistication of audio, video, and image manipulation techniques. This synthetic media content is commonly referred to as “deepfakes.” Deepfakes are one of the serious threat of our times. The word ‘deepfake’ is a combination of deep learning (a subset of the artificial intelligence) and the word ‘fake’. The result of the increase in deepfakes has caused across the globe in damaging and sinister ways. Recently, the US Senate has approved a deepfake bill to defend against manipulated media and the proposed legislation calls for research to detect synthetic shams online. Also, the Bombay High Court recently has sought a report on Telegram DeepFake bot creating fake nudes of women. In this context, let’s make a detailed analysis of Deepfake.