Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Discuss India’s piece-meal approach to cyber-security and importance of cyber-security.
Conclusion. Way forward.

Reports this week have suggested a cyberattack on the Kudankulam nuclear power project in Tamil Nadu. Despite the untapped potential, India already is the 2nd largest online market worldwide. Although the advancement of technology and internet has brought with it all related benefits but has also led to massive increase in the cyber-crime affecting people globally. The crime like Pegasus snooping scandal, Wannacry attack has showed vulnerability of India to cyber-crime threats and prevent India from being a leader in cyberspace.

Piece-meal approach of India in Cybersecurity:

  1. The cyber security scenario in India is one of relative chaos and a sense of insecurity arising out of the periodic reports of cyber espionage, cyberterrorism, cyber warfare and cyber crime.
  2. Legal and law enforcement mechanisms have not shifted gears fast enough to grapple with growing cyber crime. The lack of a coherent cyber security policy seriously interfere with India’s national security and economic development. Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) is heavily understaffed.
  3. Although Government has set up National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) but it is yet to identify and implement measures to protect critical information infrastructure.
  4. It is essential that more attention at the highest levels is paid to ensuring that cyber-related vulnerabilities that can impact on critical sectors are identified and removed. India’s approach to cyber security has so far been ad hoc and piecemeal. A number of organisations have been created but their precise roles have not been defined nor synergy has been created among them.
  5. Further, there appears to be no institutional structure for implementation of policies. Neither the private sector nor government has been able to build information systems that can be described as reasonably robust.
  6. The continued perception has been that cyber security is optional. Thus led to increase in threats of cyber-attacks.
  7. International threat of a cyber-war from countries like China and Pakistan has increased in recent times. Lots of equipment’s in India are imported. It is unknown whether these devices are tampered with or programmed for control processes.
  8. The Cybersecurity Policy of 2013 is open and technology neutral. But it needs up-gradation.

Importance of cyber security:

  1. Cyber security is an important arena of internet when the country is moving forward towards a cashless society and digitisation. It is of paramount concern to take cyber security seriously in India with most of the transactions going online and cashless.
  2. Security becomes a challenge as now privacy is a fundamental right as per SC verdict and the rise in cybercrime can lead to violation of private space and liberty of expression.
  3. 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.
  4. The Indian government has embarked on a programme to turn the country into a digital economy. It has unveiled a series of initiatives—from introducing Aadhaar, MyGov, Government e-Market, DigiLocker, Bharat Net, Startup India, Skill India and Smart Cities to propel India towards technological competence and transformation.

In India, it is imperative that cyber networks, software and cyber-physical systems, and platforms should be cyber-secure. This requires a judicious mix of people, policies and technology, as well as robust public-private partnership. The reliance on imported information and communication technology (ICT) products and our inability to screen them for vulnerabilities is a major cybersecurity risk. The need of the hour for Indian government is to develop core skills in cyber security, data integrity and data security fields while also setting stringent cyber security standards to protect banks and financial institutions.