A quest for order amid cyber insecurity

  • IASbaba
  • July 31, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Topic: General Studies 2 and 3:

  • Basics of cyber security
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

A quest for order amid cyber insecurity

Context: Cyberinsecurity of individuals, organisations and states is expanding amidst COVID-19. 

Do you know? 

  • Between them, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have added more than a trillion dollars in market value, since the start of 2020.  
  • In one week in April 2020, reportedly, there were over 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19 

Increased instances of Cyber Attacks around world 

  • Twitter hackers collected $120,000 in full public gaze 
  • A “ransomware” target in California quietly paid 116.4 bitcoins or $1.14 million. 
  • China has been accused of hacking health-care institutions in US working on novel coronavirus treatment.  
  • United Kingdom has warned of hackers backed by the Russian state targeting pharmaceutical companies conducting COVID-19 vaccine research. 


  • Inadequate Focus on Cyber Security: More of our critical infrastructure is going digital with increased digital interactions but it has not been matched with adequate safeguards for the cyber space 
  • No Global Commons: Borderless cyberspace, as a part of the “global commons” does not existThe Internet depends on physical infrastructure that is under national control, and hence is subject to border controls too. 
  • Multiple Players: Cyberspace has multiple stakeholders, not all of which are states. Non-state actors play key roles — some benign, some malignant.  
  • Difficulties in regulationThe infrastructure on which the Internet rests falls within jurisdictions of many states with differing approaches. Also, many networks are private, with objectives differing from those of states.  
  • Competing Interests & Unframed Norms: World is at an incipient stage of looking for “cyber norms” that can balance the competing demands of national sovereignty and transnational connectivity 
  • Agenda at UN: In 1998 that Russia inscribed the issue of ICTs in international security on the UN agenda. Despite various committees working on this subject, issues such as Internet governance, espionage, and digital privacy are kept out 
  • Domain of Experts: Generally the growth of technology is way ahead of the development of associated norms and institutions. As a result, cybersecurity is a niche area whose regulation has been largely left to experts. 

Way Ahead for India 

  • Globally, India needs to partake in shaping cybernorms.  
  • Acceding to the Budapest Convention, or Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe (CETS No.185), is an option that India should examine.  
  • India also needs to encourage private sector to get involved more in industry-focused processes such as the Microsoft-initiated Cybersecurity Tech Accord and the Siemens-led Charter of Trust.  


In preparation for the larger role that cyberspace will inevitably play in Indian lives, we need a deeper public understanding of its various dimensions. Cyberspace is too important to be left only to the experts. 

Value Addition 

The Christchurch Call 

  • The Christchurch Call to Action Summit (also called the Christchurch Call), was a political summit initiated by New Zealand Prime Minister in the aftermath of Mosque shooting in March 2019 in Chirstchurch, New Zealand 
  • The Call aimed to bring together countries and tech companies in an attempt to bring to an end the ability to use social media to organise and promote terrorism and violent extremism. 
  • India has also signed the non-binding agreement 

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