New Delhi, Aug 11 (): Indian spies are sitting on a pile of messages sent between terrorist organizations within India and abroad but are not able to make any sense of it.
Though they have a sophisticated Rs 100 crore communication network, they do not have the means to decode the messages. Secondly, all the messages are coming from servers outside India. This makes it even more difficult to get digital keys and need lots of permissions to retrieve them.
If the terror groups are using Facebook, What’s App or Fring text messaging, Skype or Viber voice over internet then the Indian spy network cannot intercept.
Take the case of Hyderabad bomb blasts. It turned out that Mohammed, the Indian operative and Indian Mujahideen commander Bhatkal in Karachi were using instant text messaging to make a bomb and plant it.
After the 9/11 attack, the espionage wing RAW that deals with foreign threat has realized that it is necessary to intercept messages from Jihad groups through internet. The DRDO came up with NETRA (meaning eye) or Network Traffic Analysis in technology parlance. It was modelled on Prism, the US digital snooping device.
Indian spies were happy as it was an effective tool to bring in messages it perecieved to be from Jihadis. NETRA is set up across the country in many internet hubs. Indian spies soon realized they had messages filled with zeros and numbers. The system does not have the digital encryption technology. The easier way out is to ask Indian companies to use servers located in the country like Brazil and West Germany which are putting it into practice.
US had an advantage that majority of the communication services are within their country so that data encryption keys can be got. Apart from this, NSA has a supercomputing force that can destroy encryption facility of a server.
Indian spies are now in possession of a technology that can eavesdrop on Thuraya satellite phone talk. Thuraya is a service provider based in UAE and operates in 650 countries. It could not convince India that its network cannot be misused. Sat phones and iridium phones are banned in India.
Despite having access to the Thuraya network, Indian spies say that most of the communications do not reach them. NTRO (National Technical Research Organisation) is still grappling with making the software to break the digital encryption code on the net.
Like any other organization in India, Intelligence Bureau has only 18,000 staff. 40 of them are administration staff and rest of the Indian spies are on the prowl. With ISIS, Taliban, LeT and IMI all on a war cry against India, Indian spies can read but not understand.
It is time for India’s master spy Ajit Doval, posted by Modi as National Security Adviser of India, to make the Indian spies also make sense of the zeros and figures.
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