The ISI Needs a Special Cyber Wing!

By Ghulam Sarwar

Aggressive men have this tendency of turning every ground into a battlefield. Man began fighting its enemies on land with armies initially and then ships were built to establish navies. When man learnt to fly, the air force was born. With the advancement of telecommunication, intelligence came into play with a vital role.

Similarly, with the advent of the internet and its widespread usage – the Cyber warfare is now the most modern form of battleground for which special military units are on the roll in various militaries around the world.

To better understand the severity of the situation, you must read this post which mentions that a computer virus, called STUXNET, was successfully used by America to damage Iranian Atomic Programme. Successfully enough that Iran had to publically admit that its systems had been hit.

Another Virus called Flame, with 20 times more code and enhancement than of STUXNET, was discovered just recently. FLAME is said to be capable of remotely gathering data files from computers, can help the host remotely change settings on an effected computer, turn on PC microphones to log or record conversations, take screen shots and log instant messaging chats.

Interestingly, these viruses were officially developed by secret agencies with the authorization of USA Presidents (Bush and then Obama).

Unlike STUXNET, FLAME wasn’t targeting Iran only. It had whole of Middle East under its radar as a target point.


Clearly, the (cyber) security situation isn’t the same as it used to be just 15 or 20 years ago. With the rapid advancement of computing devices – the computer programmed viruses are next big threat for variety of nations. Since the 1980s when cyber warfare first began, it has come a far way to become deadliest in terms of damages.

For Pakistan, there is no doubt that a cyber threat exists not just from Indian counterparts, but from Israel and America too. At many occasions, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has countered cyber threats in Pakistan but obviously the performance and magnitude of these threats are growing complicated with time.

After STUXNET and FLAME, only Allah knows how many other such cyber infiltration programmes are officially authorized by the US and other governments in our region.

Not only that, the availability of such viruses as STUXNET as open source software has made it way to terrorists, who can then redesign it and insert it into any system that they want to shut down.

When a cyber virus attacks, it can exist quietly for a long time without being detected. Within this silent stage, it can do the greatest harm. If such a silent virus is put in a missile’s defense shield, it will fail to provide its function when required because of being made futile by the virus. The worst part is, no one can detect there is a virus in the system of a missile before it is being put to use.

States such as India, Israel are constantly behind Pakistan’s nuclear programme and its safety. They want to take Pakistani nukes away from it to make it vulnerable to them. This is why we have no time but to establish this cyber wing to protect our arsenals.

I am confident that there are countless talented Pakistanis with software and hardware programming expertise in this kind of cyber tactics. Their potentials should be utilized by ISI to recruit them in this special cyber wing. With the creation of this wing, the intelligence and surveillance will become easier both of the suspected civilian and military men.

The ISI will have a chance to get better cyber surfing through this special cyber unit than with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). It will help in tracking down any terrorist activities and will become a preemptive measure for the ISI.

Thus, building of a special cyber wing will be strengthening Pakistan’s defenses, it will be improving our military intelligence and it will be protecting our country in this new cyber frontier, which is the battleground of the near future.

The ISI should establish one immediately, just as Iran has its own Revolutionary Guards, which protect its cyberspace. Pakistani cyber experts should also work on writing programmes to detect any virus before it activates upon use of a computer system. The government also must make a strong cyber policy of protection and start recruiting hi-tech cyber soldiers to defend our cyber space.

Writer is Founder of PakSoldiers.Com, leading blog covering military and defense issues. He can be followed on twitter here @ghullamsarwer

        • You don’t need that. Even without specialised universities we have graduates of UET, GIKI, LUMS, NUST, FAST, etc etc working in companies like Google and Microsoft. Without doubt also inside places like KRL or SUPARCO.

          • Alhamdu Lillah e Rab’il Alameen. (All praise and Glory be to Allah, the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth).
            @Jimi: Alahmdu Lillah, Pakistan do now have specialized IT university, called Punjab IT University, annugurated by punjab chief minister, mian shahbaz sherif, in honor of arifa kareem, in IT Tower near Kalma Chowk Lahore, Pakistan. OK?

    • We have ITU, PUCIT, LUMS, NUST, COMSATS and there are also many more. But you should know an ethical hacker is not build by himself. We Have google which teach us. I teach myself programming and i am the best now in web technologies. There are many others i am just a common person without degree.

  • The day the ISI stops detaining and torturing and killing Pakistanis WITHOUT ANYONE BEING HELD RESPONSIBLE is the day I begin to respect them.

    Until then, they are a cure that is worse than the disease. How can they expect my respect when they harass people like me?

    Did you ever see anyone take an ISI officer to court for anything? Are they angels?

    • If they are killing and torturing Pakistanis who are involved in violence and terrorism then I have no issues with that. In fact I want them to be even more evil in this aspect. If Pakistani judiciary and legal system isn’t good enough to counter the war that Pakistan is facing then be it. Kill the terrorist and dumb him in some garbage zone. I might sound a bit brutal or unethical but for people who kill innocents on the name of ethnicity or sect or religion, I have no respect.

      • — I might sound a bit brutal or unethical but for people who kill innocents on the name of ethnicity or sect or religion, I have no respect.

        I am not talking about the guilty murderers. I’m talking about the innocents that are tortured for no reason. After the CMH was attacked in Rawalpindi one or two years go I went to the CMH in Lahore for my son’s checkup, and the doctor’s PA said I shouldn’t give the guards my CNIC. My wife should instead. Why? Because after the CMH attack, they called up lots of civilians who had visited the hospital and interrogated them harshly.

        Someone (civilian) who takes their family to CMH for medical help shouldn’t be interrogated like that. When even military personal are telling civilians to be careful about giving their CNIC to military guards, you know there’s a problem.

          • Whose life am I living with? Someone else’s?

            It’s very strange that you think that some people’s sacrifice is more than others. The people who climb on power poles to give you electricity or fix your phone connection come into more danger (on average) every working day than the average soldier.

            Note: on average.

                • Definitely no one can feel actual pain other than you. That was really unfortunate. I am not going to argue that what they have done was right or wrong,mostly will say that was illegal and unacceptable but there is other side of the story too.
                  Pakistan is facing serious issues from religious extremists and in my view at least 20 to 30 percent of our population some how some where agree with their ideology even some percentage within forces. No one knows a person next to him is with state or not. Unfortunately fraction of establishment is responsible for establishing non state actors for their interests in past now same groups challenging state.
                  You know lot of confirmed terrorists got bail from courts because of weak criminal and investigative system. In whole world govts made anti terrorist laws so investigative agencies can detain suspects legally but in Pakistan we don’t have. In such situation working according to law is not easy. I am not saying that two wrongs can make one right but we have to be realistic. Intelligence agencies all over the world get involved in illegal activities definitely less than our agencies. My long and boring comment can’t justified them neither I mean that and this can happen with me too and at that time I ll be frustrated like you but we have to understand “ye dunya guddey guddi ka khael ni hai han humain har waqt ise jitna improve kr skte hain karne ki try krni chaye” Sorry in advance if u mind any thing… may u live long & never faced this again….

    • No one need your respect. We are enough to love and respect our army and ISI. Do you ever see/meet the victim of army. Or anyone infront of you told that his relative killed by army and he was innocent. More than 20 agencies are active in Balochistan. Who tackle them you or your media. The worst animal in this world are those who cant differ between savior and the enemy.

      • — Do you ever see/meet the victim of army.

        And so what if I have? Honestly, tell me. Whether I know people who have been tortured or not will not change your mind one way at all. UNTIL YOU PERSONALLY have to see the physical scars or see how they are mentally affected or someone in your immediate family is accidentally picked up, you don’t care.

        You believe the police commit mistakes or can be bribed.
        You believe the bureaucrats commit mistakes or can be bribed.
        You believe the ISI are angels and would never ever ever do anything wrong and anyone they pick up MUST BE guilty by definition.

        Your mind is as closed as your heart.

        — The worst animal in this world are those who cant differ between savior and the enemy.

        “Who watches the watchers?”

        • mr shahid do u mind telling me where u from and which family u belong cuz u sound like that u are working for some agency cuz these days we have lot of people who want ISI to be blamed of something, anything, and u don’t no that ISI is not a persons name it is an agency working under military person’s not under one person, kindly stop these kind of nonsense posts and if u got any problem then go to ISPR I am sure they will solve ur problem/problem’s. Pls no more stupidity abt it. Any proof then go to GEO an indian re presenter’s form and show there. Thank you :)

          • Questioning any branch of the military or the government does not make me a traitor or anti-state activist.

            But the fact that you think so means you lack the ability to imagine cases where THEY MAKE MISTAKES and the affected people have NO LEGAL RECOURSE for compensation.

    • hey Shahid saleem, u seem like an_____________, go to hell we dont need your respect, we will work for the nation. if u think we kill without a reason keep on thinking that way huh.

      (comment edited)

      • I have a better idea: we’ll wait on the Day of Judgement, and then we find out who spoke out or acted against oppressors.

        Just because 99% of soldiers work FOR US and DEFEND US (including in ISI) does not mean that no one should speak out for the 1%.

        • sahid saleem you said
          “I am not talking about the guilty murderers. I’m talking about the innocents that are tortured for no reason”.

          Why would ISI kill innocent for no reason?r you psycho , india or qadiani?

          • — Why would ISI kill innocent for no reason?r you psycho , india or qadiani?

            If you tell me that the ISI has NEVER IN ITS EXISTENCE picked up the wrong person, I have you say you are not living in this world. You are in a world of your own.

            Every single intelligence agency has made mistakes. You think ISI has never made one.

            • you said “Every single intelligence agency has made mistakes. You think ISI has never made one”

              why are you assuming that?? do you have any evidence?

              you always talk against army.

              • I 100% agree wid Shahid Saleem .
                Isi has abducted 100% of innocent Balochs in Baluchistan nd tortured them to death have u guys never heard of missing persons ? if not may i name some ? And even if they were guilty who the eff is ISI to decide ? why those guilty ppl are never shown to the public on media ? why the hell they are never produced in courts for the judges nd judiciary to decide who is guilty nd who’s nt ? i can tell u that the army agencies can abduct anyone (even on personal enmities of officers) and there is no court which can question them !

              • You cannot have it both ways my man. First you attack me (and my religion) for saying ISI kills innocent people by mistake. Then you attack me for saying I assumed you think they make no mistakes.

                Which is it?? If you think they make mistakes, then you know they have harmed innocent people by mistake. Why question my religion yaar?

  • @Shaid – why don’t they harass Aamir Attaa? Why don’t they harass to me?

    You would have Pop up Middle Finger against any of their act – that’s why you are being ‘harassed’ though I think this can be replaced as ‘Checked’

    • WHEN people are harassed, even if by accident (went to the wrong house, got the wrong man, etc), the innocent victims have no legal recourse for the pain the suffer.

      That is what I’m talking about.

      If you say that never happens, then your eyes are closed. It happens in every country around the world, even “civilised” ones.

  • The whole article is based on an assumption that they don’t have one such wing already. I really envy the secrecy of ISI and I guess not everything needs to be displayed in public. It’s fighting an important war, knows its eastern, western threats well. The global pressure of nukes going in hands of terrorist is also not unknown to them, how can I even imagine our agencies of not having an effective Cyber Wing with some of the head-hunted best cyber minds of the country. Not even the officers working in ISI are allowed to disclose their status in agency, so we won’t know who’s working for them in what particular position.

  • we need not just cyber wing but also our own hardware and software for runing such setup …
    some times torjon and virus can also be hidden inside a chip software program …
    so as along we donot make our own hardware and software we are prone to any advance threat ….

    in order to make ourselves completely secure ..
    we need advancement in economy ,education and knowledge ….

  • Hacking or virus create k course to kisi universty institute mai karwate nahi hain to 1 aam student kese hacker banega k dushman se fight mai help kare army ki? China main milions hacker kese ban gay?

  • Our Shaeen (Air Force) cant even stop drone attacks even they are capable of doing so. even worse they cant even stop the attacks on their own airbases (Kamra,Mehran) despite of having threats for it. Then how can you expaect our military (pak army or ISI) to stop cyber attacks????
    As per Rehaman Malik the solution for stopping cyber attacks is to impose a complete ban on the Internet in Pakistan.

    • In a way, you are right. Places that are sensitive should not be connected to the internet in any way. I think they tried to do that in Iran, but somehow someone managed to install the software using a USB drive.

      Also note, for personal info: if you see a USB flash lying on the street, especially in a parking lot outside your office, do NOT plug it into a machine on your office network. 90% of the time it might be just accidentally dropped, especially by a co-worker. But maybe it’s malware destined for someone’s company office.

  • Our Shaeen (Air Force) cant even stop drone attacks even they are capable of doing so. even worse they cant even stop the attacks on their own airbases (Kamra,Mehran) despite of having threats for it. Then how can you expaect our military (pak army or ISI) to stop cyber attacks????
    As per Rehaman Malik the solution for stopping cyber attacks is to impose a complete ban on the Internet and using of computers in Pakistan.

  • No one can do nothing…without involving our ISI, ARMY FORCES, & POLITICIANS…it is written in Pakistan’s FATE…

  • intelligence agencies don’t harass anyone without any reason, they are not man-eaters. 99.9999% of the missing persons are culprits, the remaining 0.00001% are innocents & these are used by people like Hamid Mir to satisfy their personal grudges or to achieve their secret goals.

    • If the cyber wing is going to monitor what i post online, it’s a problem EVEN if i don’t post anything wrong, immoral, or illegal.

      There are superpatriots that you can find everywhere who think that anyone who says any little critical thing about the military, judiciary, their sect of religion, current government in power, their favourite political party etc etc are evil and should be stopped. Or, at least, monitored.

      And that’s what I don’t want.

      In Saudi Arabia, bloggers have to register their blogs with their ministry of interior. That is a POLICE STATE and I will oppose anyone who uses them as an example of a “good cyber policing” country.

  • I totally agree with the Aayan Mirza that our Agencies doesn’t need to come forward and announce publicly that we have these kinds of wings active.

    ISI is very much professional and known as one of the best secret agency in the world so people who are running must be aware of all kind of local and global challenges (including potential cyber attacks) and working with the best minds to handle all such issues.

  • ISI Truly Needs a Cyber Wing To CounterStrike Against Indian Cyber Army Funded and Run By Indian Intelligence Agency RAW(Research And Analysis Wing)

  • Dear all.

    jo cyber war jante hain woh lazmi nhi k software Master ho,cyber hackers ek alag trick hay jo k buhat kam logo main hoti hain ap unko dhoond lo FIA k list sy aur moka do usy Pakistan ki defa k liye

  • @shahid saleem
    wtf yar
    Now you’re one pathetic piece of_______ ______. ISI is the only respectable and trust worthy institute left in Pakistan. Majority of us love them, they’re like a role model for most of us and if u have any problem with that then go F urself and move out to some other country where people actually would care about ur useless dumb-______ comments u filthy useless western media brain-washded______

    (comment edited)

  • To be honest, it’s been an hour, since I’m checking articles that I could not read on thier exact days.. now the wonder to me is, I went through 7 Articles along with comments yet not a single article is free of mr.shahid outragious views..

    I would congrat to amir as his site has been found by a really, good for nothing , attentoon seeker commentor, mr.shahid. people are talking more on the topics being blurted out by shahid, than on the actual subjects of the articles

    the reason is, mr.shahid himself, who seems likely to have nothing to do better than stalking people on blogs.

    mr shaid,I’m deadly sure that you would do bother, replying to even my this post, whilst being compelled by your screwed nature, so regardless to your any responce, the thing I want you to think about it is IF EVEN THERE ARE EVIL-MINDED PEOPLE IN ISI, FOR WHOM YOU HAVE MATHED AS 1%, WE JUST COULD NOT SPEAK ILL FOR THE WHOLE AGENCY AS THE OTHER 99% ARE WORKING ON THIER LIVES TO PROTECT US AND OUR COUNTRY.. not a patch of this planet is there free of BLACKSHEEPS.

    that foregoing point must make sense in your wreteched opinions for ISI unless it bears the resemblance for vacuum.

    let me bye bye by making R.I.P for those who arw dying for attention.


    Well, if they are working to protect us and our country, why can’t they protect us from the 1%?

    See, this is where your argument breaks down completely. I believe in a rule of law, and I believe no one (including the 1%) should be above the law. You disagree because you’re willing to let the 1% do whatever they want and that’s okay and acceptable for you because the other 99% are allegedly protecting us.

  • Nonsense, I mean BRILLANT question if I see with the wisdom you have been blessed with!
    Dear uncle, have you ever came to read something like “Nothing is perfect?” in case yes, then you ought to know that when It comes to human beings or their affairs, errors are always expected.
    If you loathe ISI just because it has the impurity of 1%, you must have sued yourself unless you’re an angle
    at this point, I think I’m barking up the wrong tree, so I won’t check this article again with this bit for you, that please stop wandering your brain further because it’s too small to be outside alone itself. :’) have a good day!

    • When people who claim to protect us make mistakes, and the people they’re supposed to protect are tortured or die, then the effects are irreversible. It is a completely different case when traffic police make a mistake or the shopkeeper overcharges you.

      People die. People are permanently maimed (physically or mentally). What is one life worth to you?

  • Hi Guys,
    I want to let you know that, Pakistan ISI has its own trained cyber experts wing. there is no need to hire any candidate.

  • ROFL….ha ha ha ha ha….first fix your dns servers,and STUXNET,FLAME.Take my advice open two telecom company by this name..LoL

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