Strangers & Secrets – spy scandal in DRDO

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Source: This article is based on the article “Burden of proof”, published in Times of India on 23rd May 2023.

Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 3, Internal Security

News: Recently, a DRDO scientist, allegedly fell for a Pakistani “honey-trap”. He is accused on spying for enemy country.

The accused had access to over 50 DRDO establishments, including laboratories, and headed an R&D division overseeing India’s missile launcher programmes.

What are the cyber threats faced by military infrastructure of India?

First concern is the integrity of hardware, which is largely not manufactured in India.

Second concern is human error. Over the last six years, more than 20 serving and retired army staff were reportedly arrested for allegedly spying for Pakistan’s ISI. “Honey-traps” is one of the methods used to lure.

What are the guidelines issues by DRDO?

The army has issued a circular warning personnel against posting or forwarding official communication on WhatsApp and storing data on devices at home.

Similarly, DRDO has also suggested not to entertain unknown numbers, avoid chats with unknown people, and not to share information.

What more can be done?

Train all military and defence research staff on how to check the IP address of any stranger chatting in a friendly manner. Also, make it mandatory for them to immediately report such encounters.

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