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  • Cyber security is concerned with making cyberspace safe from threats
  • Cyber is no more limited to security only, it is now linked with socio economics as well, which includes politics, industry, health, education and critical infrastructure.
  • This is why cyber security and safety has become an imperative issue.

Growing Importance:

  • Cyber security spends in India are rising rapidly because of the massive digitisation movement.
  • The ransomware attacks in the past have added to the urgency of these spends.
  • Cyber-space remains a key area for innovation.
  • Demonetisation and the government’s push for Digital India have pushed demand for cyber security talent.

Need For Cyber security:

  • To ensure critical infrastructure system do not collapse under any situation.
  • To ensure Business continuity.
  • For the success of government initiatives like Digital India, Make in India and Smart Cities.
  • To balance Individual’s rights, liberty and privacy.

India’s Vulnerability on cyber space:

  • India remains vulnerable to cyber-espionage and cybercrime.
  • With the growing adoption of the Internet and smart-phones, India has emerged “as one of the favourite countries among cyber criminals.”
  • There is growing threat from online radicalization.
  • Lack of coordination among different government agencies.
  • Attackers can gain control of vital systems such as nuclear plants, railways, transportation or hospitals that can subsequently lead to dire consequences.

Steps taken by the Government to spread awareness about cyber crimes:

  • Online cybercrime reporting portal has been launched to enable complainants to report complaints pertaining to Child Pornography/Child Sexual Abuse Material, rape/gang rape imageries or sexually explicit content.
  • A scheme for establishment of Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) has been established to handle issues related to cybercrime in the country in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.
  • Establishment of National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) for protection of critical information infrastructure in the country.
  • All organizations providing digital services have been mandated to report cyber security incidents to CERT-In
  • Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre) has been launched for providing detection of malicious programmes and free tools to remove such programmes.
  • Formulation of Crisis Management Plan for countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism.

Challenges involved in ensuring cyber security:

  • New technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning also face new challenges for cyber security.
  • Internet of things are often not built with security
  • New technologies aid hackers too.
  • We don’t have a cyber-security mindset. People still don’t understand cyber risks to an organization
  • Most of the cyber-attacks are not reported
  • Scarcity of cyber security professionals, especially at the leadership level.
  • Cyber bullies, extremists and terrorists are creating havoc within the system.
  • India is not a signatory to the Budapest convention which is the only multilateral convention on cyber security
  • No full time cyber security experts.

Way Forward:

  • Coordination among CERTs of different countries.
  • Nations must take responsibility to ensure that the digital space does not become a playground for the dark forces of terrorism and radicalization.
  • Alertness towards cyber-security concerns should become a way of life.
  • Ensure that vulnerable sections of our society do not fall prey to the evil designs of cyber criminals.
  • Understanding and implementing the global best practices of the cyber space.
  • Need for India to move on from IT security to cyber security.
  • Law enforcement authorities and businesses must punish individuals using technology to cause damage.
  • A person won’t stop causing damage unless there is deterrence.
  • Organisations that are hit by cyber attacks must inform law enforcement immediately instead of worrying about their reputations.
  • Important to have crisis management plans so that it helps to react in a given situation.