Towards New National Cyber Security Strategy: 12th India Security Summit

Union Government will find ways to deal with “cyber threats”

According to a Data Security Council of India (DSCI) report in May, “India saw the second-highest number of cyber-attacks in 2016-2018”. Further, the average cost for a data breach in the country has risen 7.9% since 2017, with the average cost per breached record amounting to INR 4,552 ($64). While Several facts signify that India is among the top hosting countries for online frauds, second only to the United State (US). The other three countries most targeted by phishing are Canada, the US and the Netherlands as well. 

For instance, Over 80 Indian government websites and critical systems were targeted by alleged Pakistani hackers within hours of the Pulwama suicide strike on February 14, in the recent year. Notably, some also managed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), were also hacked. At the same time, The ‘website’ of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) went into maintenance mode after an alleged hacking attempt by hackers across the world, just before the parliamentary election 2019.

To cycle the same, On Aug 28, The annual 12th India Security Summit on ”Towards New National Cyber Security Strategy”, was successfully organized by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Which creates a platform for the Central Ministries, State Governments, Academia, Industry and other global stakeholders to come together and deliberate on the way forward in order to get rid the cyber attacks.

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Significantly, The Union minister Jitendra Singh on August 28 remarked that, ‘cyber technology’ has become one of the top threats and also expressed expectations that the ‘menace of cyber security’ will be overcome soon by the Union Government of India. He remarked while addressing the 12th India Security Summit on the above mentioned theme. In this regard, “Cyber Swachhta Kendra” is a great effort of government which is a part of the Government of India’s Digital India initiative under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. 

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Moreover, Digital culture is being transferred from generation to generation. The Indian society has gone through a rapid evolution as far as new technology, special communication technology is concerned. Further, Every technology has it’s own utility. Similarly, Cyber Technology is a big boom in contemporary scenario. But besides being a boon the same technology has become one of the greatest threats, mentioning the cyber threat in the wake of national security, The Union Minister asserted.

The concept of security has itself undergone changes in the last few decades. “It has assumed proportions; external as well as internal“. “It is important to understand that terrorism is terrorism and there cannot be a distinction based on caste, creed and religion”. Thus, there is a dire need to set priorities and expressed hope that the threat of cyber security will be overcome soon and “we will find ways to deal with the cyber threat”, The Union minister asserted.

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Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy argued that, “we live in a digital world and that security is one of the challenging areas that all of us have to think upon”. As we are adopting different technologies, we are also facing different challenges particularly on cyber security. It is the need of the hour for cyber safe society. “New tools and technologies must be developed at faster rate for cyber security”, adding that cyber space is becoming the new battlefield. He remarked while addressing the 12th India Security Summit.

In other words, The Country needs to strengthen its defence against rising cyber attacks and also formulate a ‘national strategy’ for reducing the risk of cyber crimes. The Union Government has taken major cyber security related initiatives focusing more on central monitoring threat analysis and in promoting research and development in cyber security. As per he examined that, ‘cyber security’ is the collective responsibility of all and invited suggestions from the stakeholders to counter the cyber threat worldwide.

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According to Ministry of home affairs, The Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre to act as a nodal point in the fight against cyber crime. And it will identify the research problems and needs of law enforcement agencies and take up R&D activities in developing new technologies and forensic tools in collaborations with academia and research institutes within India and abroad. “The Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre will coordinate all activities related to implementation of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties with other countries over cyber crimes”.

As per the research by Cybercrime Ventures reveals that the cost of cybercrime damage could reach $6 trillion annually by 2021. And this rapid increase in damage is due to the fact that more and more agencies – companies are shifting towards digital assets for their businesses. So hackers now have more causes to attack companies including top governmental agencies.. Thus, it is becomes a great matter of concern for policy makers in India.

Thus, There is much concern from government and media sources about technical damage that could be caused by cyberterrorism, and this has prompted efforts by governmental agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to put an end to cyber attacks and cyberterrorism. These kind of attacks can be also defined as the intentional use of computers, networks, and public internet to cause destruction and harm for personal objectives.

Experienced cyberterrorists, who are very skilled in terms of hacking can cause massive damage to government systems, hospital records, and national security programs, which might leave a country, community or organization in turmoil and in fear of further attacks. Many academics and researchers who specialize in terrorism studies suggest that cyberterrorism does not exist and is really a matter of hacking or information warfare. They disagree with labeling it as terrorism because of the unlikelihood of the creation of fear, significant physical harm, or death in a population using electronic means, considering current attack and protective technologies.

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Despite all of this, on Aug 28, Director General of National Informatics Centre Neeta Verma mentioned that, India is the third largest user of the Internet and the cybercrime has increased manifold in the recent years. She also remarked that, various steps are taken by the government to provide cyber security and emphasized on the efforts by all stakeholders to supplement the efforts of the union government. However, This is not a one-time task but an ongoing and joint responsibility of all, she remarked while addressing the 12th India Security Summit.

To cycle/fix the growing cyber threats across the globe, world could rely on identity management software that uses top-notch authentication methods to secure the accounts of all registered users.. While India underlined the need to take forward inter-alia people-to-people cooperation, cooperation in science and technology and innovation in order to get rid about the same. Also, As per the National cybersecurity coordinator stated that it would help achieve the government’s goal of a $5 Tn economy. Approximately, INR 25K Cr budget needed for this, marked government official. In a move to make the internet a safer place for businesses and citizens, the Indian government will unveil an official cybersecurity strategy policy in January next year.

Author: Trilok Singh, (https://trilok.facebook.com/) is living in India, New Delhi. Founder and CEO at Youth Darpan MediaIASmind.com, and India’s Journal. MA in Political Science, Kirori Mal College, Faculty of Social Science (2015-17), University of Delhi. Currently Studies at Rau’s IAS Study Circle, CP, New Delhi and ISOMES, Noida.

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