[Answered]Discuss various threats and challenges to cyber-security in India. What initiatives are being taken by the government to enhance cyber-security in India?

Demand of the question

Introduction. Contextual introduction.

Body. Discuss various threats and challenges to cyber-security in India.

Conclusion. Way forward.

The number of people having access to the internet In India is increasing day by day. Despite the untapped potential, India already is the 2nd largest online market worldwide. Although the advancement of technology and the internet has brought with it all related benefits but has also led to an increase in the cybercrime affecting people globally. The crime like the Pegasus snooping scandal, Wannacry attack has shown vulnerability of India to cyber-crime threats.

Various threats and challenges to cyber-security in India:

  1. Cyber terrorism: It is premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which results in violence.
  2. Digital Data Threat: Growing online transactions have generated bigger incentives for cybercriminals. Besides, establishments looking to mine data (customer information, results of product surveys, and generic market information), they also create intellectual property that is in itself an attractive target.
  3. Cyber warfare:It involves the actions by a nation-state or international organization to attack and attempt to damage another nation’s computers or information networks.
  4. Cyber Infrastructure Concerns: Most equipment and technology systems are vulnerable to cyber threats just like any other connected system. Although the government has set up National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC), it is yet to identify and implement measures to protect critical information infrastructure.
  5. Lack of specialists: Globally, India ranks 2nd in terms of the number of Internet users after China (Internet World Stats, 2017). However, India has a negligible base of cyber-security specialists, when compared to internet user base.
  6. Lack of robust law enforcement mechanisms: India’s approach to cyber security has so far been ad hoc and unsystematic. Despite a number of agencies, policies and initiatives, their implementation has been far from satisfactory.
  7. Lack of Coordination: Due to the existence of too many agencies with overlapping functions in the field of cyber security, coordination between these agencies is poor.

Initiatives are being taken by the government to enhance cyber-security in India:

  1. Information Act, 2000: The Information Act, 2000 (amended in 2008) is the primary law for dealing with cybercrime and digital commerce in India.
  2. National Cyber Security Policy, 2013: The policy provides the vision and strategic direction to protect the national cyberspace.
  3. The CERT-In (Cyber Emergency Response Team – India): CERT-In has been operational since 2004. It is the national nodal agency for responding to computer security incidents as and when they occur.
  4. Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C):The Union Government has decided to set up 14C. It will be apex coordination centre to deal with cybercrimes.
  5. Cyber Swachhta Kendra:Launched in early 2017, the Cyber Swachhta Kendra provides a platform for users to analyse and clean their systems of various viruses, bots/ malware, Trojans, etc.
  6. Cyber Surakshit Bharat: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, launched the Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative to spread awareness about cybercrime and building capacity for safety measures for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline IT staff across all government departments.
  7. The Cyber Warrior Police Force: In 2018, the government announced its plans to introduce CWPF. It is proposed to be raised on lines of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
  8. Cyber-Crime Prevention against Women & Children’ Scheme:Implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the scheme aims to prevent and reduce cyber crimes against women and children.

Way Forward:

  1. Building capabilities: There is an urgent need to build capabilities and capacity for application, equipment and infrastructure testing.
  2. Human resource: Immediate attention has to be given to human resource development which would increase the number of experts who can effectively manage the cyber security of the country.
  3. R&D: Investments should be made on R&D to develop more innovative technologies to address increasing cyber security threats.
  4. Policy and Governance: It is important to bring a robust policy and effectively implement the same. Further, duties and responsibilities should be defined clearly for smooth functioning and better coordination among departments and stakeholders.
  5. Awareness: A periodic awareness campaign by the government and big private organizations should be conducted to aware people about cyber security threats.
  6. Strengthening Private Partnership: It is important to strengthen the public- private partnership on cyber security.

Cyber-security is needed in the present era of increasing connectivity. Although the government has taken many proactive steps, much needed to be done to enhance the country’s cyber-security. It is important to bring a robust policy and effectively implement the same.

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