Pakistan vs India: Who’s the better hacker?

Published: August 17, 2012
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For these Indian and Pakistani kids, cyber space is the new warfront and August presumably the appropriate time for their reign of cyber terror. DESIGN: ERUM SHAIKH

The Pakistanis on the other side of the border are no less patriotic. They have been on these hacking sprees on and off, with the same zeal and fervour. PHOTO: http://thehackernews.com/2011/08/45-indian-websites-hacked-by-shadow008. For these Indian and Pakistani kids, cyber space is the new warfront and August presumably the appropriate time for their reign of cyber terror. DESIGN: ERUM SHAIKH Restoration of the website has been taking us hours of mental labour. But the message by our Indian friends certainly enlightened us. PHOTO: http://www.i-pakistan.net/

The kids were probably bored at the other side of the border. August 15 was approaching; patriotism was burning up like inferno in their passionate hearts. Their country’s pride was at stake, they had to do something to make Bharat proud. And what better way to accomplish this feat than hacking a bunch of Pakistani websites?

‘Congratulations Bhai Sahab…yeh Bharat Ratna Apka hua…Taalian!’

The Pakistanis on the other side of the border are no less patriotic. They have been on these hacking sprees on and off, with the same zeal and fervour. For these Indian and Pakistani kids, cyber space is the new war front and August presumably the appropriate time for their reign of cyber terror.

Since the last few months, I have associated myself with a bunch of energetic countrymen, who are on a mission to expose the positive side of Pakistan and promote cross-border peace through social media. We became aware of this comical scenario when iPakistan’s website was displaying an exuberant ‘Happy Independence Day’ logo with shades of green, white and crimson on August 15, 2012. It was accompanied by a friendly message and a few kind threats for the Pakistani hackers.

Restoration of the website has been taking us hours of mental labour, but the message by our Indian friends certainly enlightened us. Cyber space is now the new battle ground for Kashmir. Our countrymen hack their websites and demand the emancipation of Kashmir. The Indians retaliate by hacking Pakistani websites and state that they will never concede to Pakistani demands.

A few minutes on Google unfolded more interesting stories. The cyber war between India and Pakistan started in May 1998, when Pakistani hackers attacked Bhabha Atomic Research Center’s website to somehow proclaim their technological supremacy. In November 2010, a group called ‘The Indian cyber army’ defaced a number of important Pakistani national websites, including that of the Pakistan Army in their efforts to avenge the Mumbai attacks. And throughout the year these geniuses continue to hack websites in the name of national pride.

Eisenhower once said,

‘Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in a final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed’.

I’d add cyber crime to the same list. Hacking is tough business, it requires time, energy and technical expertise, and our youth is greatly competent in this field. But it’s indeed a tragedy that South Asia’s young blood has chosen to invest their raw energies in fighting endless battles of technical supremacy by engaging themselves in cyber crime.

The same spirit could’ve been devoted to the welfare of their countrymen… it could’ve been entrusted to the promotion of arts, literature and culture. This drive could’ve been used for the accomplishments in social and natural sciences, for the attainment of positive political and greater economic goals.

But we use it brilliantly to commit fruitless cyber crime. I believe that patriotism of the sort that reaps hatred and nurtures spite is not a matter of national pride; it is in fact a mental disease that needs a cure. We have enough battle grounds already; let us not turn our cyber space into Kargil as well.

Aqsa Garsein

Aqsa Garsein

A student of M.sc Economics at QAU Islamabad and strongly believes in internationalism and peace and prosperity across South Asia.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.