India’s Cyber Security Challenge
TOPIC: General Studies 3
- Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention
- Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
The government is stepping up authority around cyber security to check the rising menace of financial frauds. Global Conference on Cyberspace was conducted in India for first time where the theme for the conference was Cyber4All: A Secure and Inclusive Cyberspace for Sustainable Development. GCCS was launched with a view to establish internationally agreed ‘rules of the road’ for behavior in cyberspace, and create a more focused and inclusive dialogue between all stakeholders on how to implement them.
GCCS 2017 aims to foster a holistic view of cyber space ensuring not only empowerment of individuals but also enabling the Governments to achieve national goals of sustainable development.
What is cyber space?
Cyberspace doesnot have a specific and formal definition but it arrives at a common explanation that it is an electronic world created by interconnected networks of information technology and the information on those networks. The basis for cyberspace is the Internet as a universal and publicly accessible connection and transport network.
Importance of cyber security
Cyber security is an important arena of internet when the country is moving forward towards a cashless society and digitization. Till 2013, India did not even have a cyber security policy in place. It is of paramount concern to take cyber security seriously in India with most of the transactions going online and cashless.
Security becomes a challenge as now privacy is a fundamental right as per SC verdict and the rise in cybercrimes can lead to violation of private space and liberty of expression.
Cyber security becomes a vital law of cyber law today. There is need of new tools; capacity building must be done in various departments and a mechanism in place to address these challenges.
There is now a situation where everything is interconnected. In the modern world, cyber warfare is possible situation. There is a need of technology, processes, procedure and laws and the enforcement agencies which are in turn accountable to government. At present, nothing of this sort is in place. Today a large part of infrastructure of telecom network is procured from companies about whose equipment and integrity has no guarantee from cyber security point of view. Many countries have made progress in quantum communication including china. India still buys equipment from foreign companies. It is time that India invests into indigenous and in telecom sector as communication is extremely crucial for country’s security. India cannot afford to ignore cyber threats as information systems are an essential part of day to day functioning of government: more so with the Digital India programme which intends to empower its citizen digitally.
The IT act is not sufficient to deal with cyber security. The POCSO act about child harassment online has been growing but the conviction rate is only 2.5%. There have been just 11000 reporting done on cybercrime registration as per NCRB data.
The enforcement has to be stronger and the law has to be stricter. Mostly the three year term is given and most of the sections of IT act make them bailable which is not deterrent enough to prevent the criminals. There is no clear provision for cyber stalking, no provision against spamming in IT act, new offences like phishing, sexting, sextortion are still not covered along with others.
There is need for better laws and amend existing laws. For instance grooming, in the IT act, sec 67B doesn’t speak in terms where even contact offence, where the child is contacted online and then met in person offline, is not covered. This can be seen in UK and Scotland.
Ransomware and cyber war and terrorism has increased. Sec 66F deals with cyber terrorism but there are other aspects which need to be addressed.
Way forward- A wishlist
- India should become signatory to cybercrime convention which puts a hurdle in dealing with transborder crime particularly.
- There is a need of cybercrime expert at important police-stations.
- Cyber awareness must be spread and there should be multi-stakeholder approach- technological inputs, legal inputs, strengthening law enforcements, systems and then dealing with transborder crime involves lot of international cooperation.
- Awareness should be at industry, school, college level and law enforcement level and judiciary.
- Build capacity centers nationally and internationally, create disaster recovery centres, monitoring command centres outside India.
- Secure our supply chain. Operating systems, applications, everything is almost outside India. Take control of India’s supply chain.
- Effective and efficient role of national cyber security coordinator who heads the National Cyber Coordination Centre which intends to screen communication metadata and co-ordinate the intelligence gathering activities of other agencies. This years’ budget has specially created a computer emergency response team for the financial sector.
In the last couple of decades India has carved a niche for itself in IT. Most of the Indian banking industry and financial institutions have embraced IT to its full optimization. Reports suggest that cyber attacks are understandably directed toward economic and financial institutions. With innovative, technology led programmes such as AADHAAR, MyGov, GeM, Digital Locker the new India is the land of technological prowess and transformation. Government and the private sector jointly have to give cyber security some priority in their security and risk management plan.
Connecting the dots:
- What is cyberspace? How does it impact India’s national, economic and financial security? Critically examine.