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Opt for open source codes for better software security: Kalam

By Our Special Correspondent

The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, releasing a souvenir to mark the silver jubilee celebrations of the Navy's Weapons and Electronic System Engineering Establishment on Thursday. The Navy chief, Admiral Madhvendra Singh, looks on. — Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

NEW DELHI, JULY 1. The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, today advised defence scientists to shun proprietary systems and opt for open source codes to enhance software security in defence networks.

"Open source codes can easily introduce the users to build security algorithms in the system without the dependence of proprietary platforms. We should take maximum care to ensure that our solution is unique to protect our own defence security solutions implemented on open platforms," the President observed at the silver jubilee celebration of the Indian Navy's Weapons and Electronic System Engineering Establishment (WESEE). During his interaction with IT experts in civilian and defence fields, Mr. Kalam has consistently advocated the use of open source software over proprietary software whose building block is rarely disclosed by corporates who own and sell them.

The President wanted defence application focussed networks to use all possible means, including high-level software, to guard against a possible security breach. Systems that could survive even under the unforeseen worst-case attack beyond the security perimeters were the need of the hour. Even though the required software for the equipment could be developed by the private industry, technical know-how and the architecture should be fully available to defence IT experts so that they could ensure life support for the software on their own.

Apart from dwelling on the security related challenges that were inevitable with the increasing use of new technologies in the area of warfare, Mr. Kalam also dwelt on the triad of future technologies which he referred as "nano-bio-info." The world market for nano materials, nano tools, nano devices and nano biotechnology should be over a hundred billion dollars. The fastest among them is nano biotechnology. Nanotechnology worked at the molecular level to create structures with fundamentally new molecular organisations, explained the President, adding that potential benefits covered diverse fields such as materials and manufacturing, nano electronics, computer technology, medicine and healthcare, environment and energy, aeronautics and space, biotechnology and agriculture. Many of these areas had applications in the defence sector and would help countries employing them to leapfrog in the science of warfare.

Mr. Kalam also complimented the WESSE for interfacing diverse weapons and equipment procured from the west and east Europe on a single platform. This was a difficult task as it involved accounting for a variety of input-output characteristics, mutual interference and electro-magnetic compatibility profile. Having successfully accomplished this task, the President wanted the organisation to gear up for the next challenge — integrating the indigenously developed Indian platforms and weapon systems for optimal performance. The President also complimented the WESEE for deploying the nation's first indigenous command and control system for a warship platform.

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