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Understanding Link 16 and threats to Pakistan's security

CriticalThought

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The man will have no interest in jeopardizing his career and the firm in jeopardizing their reputation for releasing their clients opsec.

These fears are unfounded and based upon bias and hearsay. If it is going to be compromised then it would be from manufacturing nation and not the individual sitting as CIO.
I have raised questions, and will do so in the future as well, whose answers I do not expect to receive. Because, the competent people who can answer them should either not be posting on this forum, or should not be talking publicly on the topic. We need a level of intellectual maturity as a nation to realize that some topics can be pointed out, but left out from further discussion. This is the reason I have previously requested the ability to create locked threads to which no one else can post.

To answer your points, this guy doesn't need to do anything illegal to harm Pakistan's interests. As part of his move to Amazon cloud, he simply needs to plan for disaster recovery scenarios by geographically replicating data. Now assuming Viasat holds information related to Pakistan's national security, this information can end up physically in some data centre in India. Meanwhile, being the good American that he is, and given the laws around data security in US and Europe, he will conveniently ensure that sensitive US data stays within the US, sensitive European data stays within Europe, etc.

As long as you depend on foreign companies for elements of your national security, your sensitive information will be similarly dealt. Pakistan has no financial, political, or legal leverage over Western suppliers. If people in important positions are not losing sleep over this, then they are incompetent and this doesn't bode very well for the country.

It should be noted that once data is stored physically in an Indian data centre, it should be considered compromised even if it is encrypted. If the system is using local encryption keys, then the data will be unencrypted locally before transmission, thus it is compromised. But even if encryption keys are stored remotely, India has the means and connections to put professional cryptanalysts on breaking the codes.

Finally, there is the matter of Viasat having two R&D centres in India. Future mandatory updated to our F-16 may very well be developed in India. A very disconcerting state of affairs, indeed.
 

SQ8

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I have raised questions, and will do so in the future as well, whose answers I do not expect to receive. Because, the competent people who can answer them should either not be posting on this forum, or should not be talking publicly on the topic. We need a level of intellectual maturity as a nation to realize that some topics can be pointed out, but left out from further discussion. This is the reason I have previously requested the ability to create locked threads to which no one else can post.

To answer your points, this guy doesn't need to do anything illegal to harm Pakistan's interests. As part of his move to Amazon cloud, he simply needs to plan for disaster recovery scenarios by geographically replicating data. Now assuming Viasat holds information related to Pakistan's national security, this information can end up physically in some data centre in India. Meanwhile, being the good American that he is, and given the laws around data security in US and Europe, he will conveniently ensure that sensitive US data stays within the US, sensitive European data stays within Europe, etc.

As long as you depend on foreign companies for elements of your national security, your sensitive information will be similarly dealt. Pakistan has no financial, political, or legal leverage over Western suppliers. If people in important positions are not losing sleep over this, then they are incompetent and this doesn't bode very well for the country.

It should be noted that once data is stored physically in an Indian data centre, it should be considered compromised even if it is encrypted. If the system is using local encryption keys, then the data will be unencrypted locally before transmission, thus it is compromised. But even if encryption keys are stored remotely, India has the means and connections to put professional cryptanalysts on breaking the codes.

Finally, there is the matter of Viasat having two R&D centres in India. Future mandatory updated to our F-16 may very well be developed in India. A very disconcerting state of affairs, indeed.
The first paragraph seems to be irrelevant to the discussion - not sure what intellectual superiority trip you seem to be implying you are on.

All scenarios are hypotheticals, and all that apply to EVERY user of US equipment. Tomorrow if Huawei opens a R&D center in India(which they are trying) , you can voice concern on their equipment being used in pk.

We have had greater compromises on our security from military personnel from “brotherly” countries than Indians employed for firms we procure defense equipment from. More importantly, our procurement process does take into account strict NDA’s and so far any “violations” of it have usually been tackled pretty strictly - in fact the greater threat is internal talkers than Indian “agents”.

Finally, until we actually have a robust economy, streamlined education and “honest” R&D - we will need to procure good and reliable defense equipment of which a decent part of it comes from the west. It is a known devil and we live with it everyday - and unless you have a magic formula to change it tomorrow that doesn’t involve some hypothetical Chinese or an untested avenue, then we just have to live with it.
So far, despite all the Indian penetration in the US of which viasat is a small percentage. Despite Indian Americans being part of Raytheon, L3 and other suppliers; no one in the Indian military or intelligence services has any idea of our plans, our radio comms, our emissions gathering and datalink information. And the two AMRAAMs found their mark without being jammed - and the Indians aren’t talking to Raytheon about how to counter it but to the Israelis.
 

The Accountant

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The attached PDF file provides good details about Link 16. I am providing the link to original but also typing out the information because the PDF has images in it.

https://issuu.com/janesintel/docs/idr_2004_viasat_4pp_cp?fr=sOTJiOTQ4MTk3OA


One thing this article makes clear is that Link 16 is being developed by a company named Viasat. I have previously shared my concerns that India will try to make inroads into upstream suppliers of electronic equipment to PAF. So I tried to look at the employees of Viasat, whereupon I came across this:

https://www.viasat.com/news/viasat-strengthens-management-team-adds-three-executive-hires


This is a news update from Viasat's website that is as recent as March 5, 2020. Just over a month ago, an Indian has been hired to the post of CIO at Viasat, the company developing Link 16 that is used by PAF. Now, mine are simply paranoid concerns, so they could be misplaced. But when it comes to the security of the homeland, there is no such thing as too paranoid. This man, Krishna Nathan, is the Chief Information Officer. He is the top boss looking after information security, access levels etc. In his previous role, he was involved in a shift to Amazon cloud - a company that is chock full of Indians.

There are other disconcerting facts about Viasat. It has an office in India along with two R&D centers. Is part of the software being used by PAF actually developed in India? This is a very serious matter.

Finally, with Rafale, India has the option to install Link 16 as well:

http://www.rafale.co.in/a-formidable-deterrence-capability/wide-information-sharing.php


So here is the biggest question: Can India utilize a possible intelligence asset Dr. Krishna Nathan to gain the know how that enables its Link 16 capable Rafale fighters to listen to secure PAF communications? I believe the possibility is definitely there, and should be further investigated by Air Intelligence.
I doubt that access to link 16 means u can intercept secure comminication.

I am not an expert but with very basic knowledge i believe that secure communication is based on encryption keys of source signal. This encryption key must have been validated through multiple other checks at the receiving end. Anyone tryong to intercept must have the secured key of source machine and other encryption codes which must have been unique and under control of the owner of the aircraft rather than the company itself.
 

MastanKhan

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I doubt that access to link 16 means u can intercept secure comminication.

I am not an expert but with very basic knowledge i believe that secure communication is based on encryption keys of source signal. This encryption key must have been validated through multiple other checks at the receiving end. Anyone tryong to intercept must have the secured key of source machine and other encryption codes which must have been unique and under control of the owner of the aircraft rather than the company itself.
Hi,

I once read a Czek article on Link16---they claimed it is very insecure and can be sabotaged---.
 

dbc

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Hi,

I once read a Czek article on Link16---they claimed it is very insecure and can be sabotaged---.
It depends entirely on OPSEC, the system becomes vulnerable if the crypto key generation, storage, handling by PAF personnel is compromised. So to reiterate it depends on PAF OPSEC and the people that operate the system.
 

Tumba

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Hi,

I once read a Czek article on Link16---they claimed it is very insecure and can be sabotaged---.
Definitely not software part, as the encryption can only be broken by triple digit qubits in real time(which wont exists for 2-3 decades) when it matters, unless some backdoor chip is not installed by hardware manufacturers cant be deciphered...
 

CriticalThought

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The first paragraph seems to be irrelevant to the discussion - not sure what intellectual superiority trip you seem to be implying you are on.

All scenarios are hypotheticals, and all that apply to EVERY user of US equipment. Tomorrow if Huawei opens a R&D center in India(which they are trying) , you can voice concern on their equipment being used in pk.

We have had greater compromises on our security from military personnel from “brotherly” countries than Indians employed for firms we procure defense equipment from. More importantly, our procurement process does take into account strict NDA’s and so far any “violations” of it have usually been tackled pretty strictly - in fact the greater threat is internal talkers than Indian “agents”.

Finally, until we actually have a robust economy, streamlined education and “honest” R&D - we will need to procure good and reliable defense equipment of which a decent part of it comes from the west. It is a known devil and we live with it everyday - and unless you have a magic formula to change it tomorrow that doesn’t involve some hypothetical Chinese or an untested avenue, then we just have to live with it.
So far, despite all the Indian penetration in the US of which viasat is a small percentage. Despite Indian Americans being part of Raytheon, L3 and other suppliers; no one in the Indian military or intelligence services has any idea of our plans, our radio comms, our emissions gathering and datalink information. And the two AMRAAMs found their mark without being jammed - and the Indians aren’t talking to Raytheon about how to counter it but to the Israelis.
You prepare not according to what the enemy has done in the past, but what he may do in the future. Now that you have shown him your capability while inflicting minimal damage, just wait and see what he does in the next battle.

The intellectual trip would be in applying the crux of my reasoning to other electronic equipment that Pakistan has. In this particular case, the magic wand was waved by the geniuses who envisioned, planned, and implemented Link-17. But if you want an even more magical solution, stand all the incompetent decision makers, traitors, boot lickers of the West in a line, and shoot them.

After 72 years of incompetence, there isn't much of a magical solution and you shouldn't put me on the spot by asking me to come up with one. But we should highlight these problems because if there is any hope, it is in jogging the conscience of someone somewhere who can subsequently take bold actions. I refuse to keep silent and do nothing. Btw, the bold actions are the planning and execution of semi-conductor fabrication within Pakistan. I find it interesting that 5th gen goals are being kicked off through design of 'stealth' airframe, rather than trying to break stealth through electronics. A much better approach would have been to design a prototype, test it with electronic equipment to find out its limitation, and iterate. You end up with a solid design as well as advanced electronics that can deal with many of the stealth characteristics that you have explored in your designs.
 
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CriticalThought

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The man will have no interest in jeopardizing his career and the firm in jeopardizing their reputation for releasing their clients opsec.

These fears are unfounded and based upon bias and hearsay. If it is going to be compromised then it would be from manufacturing nation and not the individual sitting as CIO.
Please take a look at this career oriented, upstanding Indian:

Intel sues former employee, accusing him of stealing trade secrets as he left for Microsoft | Windows Central

How can you continue to post on this forum without feeling any shame at your posted quoted above? Instead of coming together to create a single voice and message, we have traitors in our ranks who try to argue the enemy's case for them. You bluntly rejected the very premise of OP based upon nothing but your incredulousness.

I said it before, I will say it again. Pakistan is at risk from Indians holding top positions in companies whose products are used by sensitive functions of the state. I hope to highlight this, and bring it to the notice of those responsible for such matters.
 

SQ8

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Please take a look at this career oriented, upstanding Indian:

Intel sues former employee, accusing him of stealing trade secrets as he left for Microsoft | Windows Central

How can you continue to post on this forum without feeling any shame at your posted quoted above? Instead of coming together to create a single voice and message, we have traitors in our ranks who try to argue the enemy's case for them. You bluntly rejected the very premise of OP based upon nothing but your incredulousness.

I said it before, I will say it again. Pakistan is at risk from Indians holding top positions in companies whose products are used by sensitive functions of the state. I hope to highlight this, and bring it to the notice of those responsible for such matters.
Took you all this while to cherry pick a case in order to make a blanket argument so that you could salvage some pride?

Bright one arent you.
 

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