Rajya Sabha TV- Security Scan: Cyber Security
Cyber security is a broad spectrum phrase and relates to preventing any form of unauthorized and malafide access to a personal computer, a laptop, a smartphone or a major network like the national banking system or the railway network or a national information technology asset that also has military implications. Whether it is for the email, WhatsApp, net banking or Paytm, almost everyone is dependent on internet and hence potentially vulnerable.
What is the Issue?
It is just 21 years that public internet has come to India and right now India has large number of subscribers for internet usage. The pace of growth and the pace at which usage is increasing is pushing us towards a digital society. When all this growth is happening, there are many issues that come up like cyber crimes. The fine line among the tools that are used for some petty crimes, terrorist groups, state or non state actors is insignificant. Most importantly, absence of any geographical barriers makes it a reason for concern.
In case of internet security, attribution is very difficult. Traditional security concepts like deterrence and retaliation are difficult to apply. This is an inherently transnational thing. There are severe limits to what one country can do in order to manage internet. Internet needs global governance and how efficient it is determines security.
After land, sea, air and space, cyberspace has been officially declared as the 5th dimension of warfare which is acknowledged as US and some other NATO countries have already done it. Land, sea and air are well defined physical spaces to be defended unlike cyberspace. Military alone cannot handle it. Close cooperation is needed between those who are handling the networks, defence services and civilians as well up to some extent. All over the world now, armed forces have started having a separate branch called cyber branch named in different ways making strategies for defence as the armed forces have to take the lead in various places to defend the nation.
This is a dynamic area where there is a need to regularly upgrade networks, security services and control over the assets a country possesses in order to be less vulnerable to cyber attacks. The National Cyber Security Policy came up in 2013 which has well laid out 14 parameters but the implementation needs to be far more strict. An organization supposed to come up is National Cyber Coordination Centre but three years have passed but not much has been achieved in this area.
Countries like USA, Russia, China and Japan are quite good in implementing the security measures. Most of the cyber attacks in India are done from Pakistan which are very carefully crafted. Those attacks that might affect the functionality of defence services are worrying for India like data acquisition systems.
Lot of equipments in India are imported. It is unknown whether these devices are tampered with or programmed for control processes. Therefore, much more rigorous testing of the stuffs that are being imported for telecommunication, power grid management or air traffic control should be done.
Cyber security has many degrees of relevance as far as India is concerned and is applicable across most domains. Cyber security has become a global challenge and countries like India will have to acquire much higher levels of national capacity and niche expertise to ensure composite national security whether it is cyber technology, commerce, law or global internet management. Young India should become more cognizant of this orientation and the collective effort must be there to give this sector the attention it requires.