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Securing India’s Cyberspace

GS Paper III:

Syllabus S&T developments and everyday applications & effects

 

Source: Indian Express

Directions: This Article highlights the looming threat in India’s cyber security and suggests a way forward to it. Go through it once. You can use it for value addition.

Context:  The world is moving towards an era in which the applications of quantum physics in strategic domains will soon become a reality, increasing cybersecurity risks.

What is the current threat to cyber security?

  • Outdated protocols: Current protocols like the RSA will quickly become outdated.
    • This means that quantum cyberattacks can potentially breach any hardened target.
  • Threat to digital infrastructure: China’s quantum advances expand the spectre of quantum cyberattacks against India’s digital infrastructure, which already faces a barrage of attacks from Chinese state-sponsored hackers.
    • Particularly worrying for India is the fact that China now hosts two of the world’s fastest quantum computers.
  • India’s dependence on foreign, particularly Chinese hardware, is an additional vulnerability.

Ongoing Development in India?

  • India is getting there slowly but steadily. In February 2022, a joint team of the DRDO and IIT-Delhi successfully demonstrated a QKD link between two cities in UP — Prayagraj and Vindhyachal.
  • In 2019, the Centre declared quantum technology a “mission of national importance”.
  • The Union Budget 2020-21 had proposed to spend Rs 8,000 crore on the newly launched National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications.
  • The Army has collaborated with industry and academia to build secure communications and cryptography applications.

How to make India’s cyberspace resilient?

  • Procurement from other nations: India must consider procuring the United States National Security Agency’s (NSA) Suite B Cryptography Quantum-Resistant Suite as its official encryption mechanism.
  • Emulating cryptographic standards: the Indian defence establishment can consider emulating the cryptographic standards set by the US’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) which has developed a series of encryption tools to handle quantum computer attacks.
  • Develop quantum-resistant systems: India should start implementing and developing capabilities in quantum-resistant communications, specifically for critical strategic sectors.
  • Funding: government can fund and encourage existing open-source projects related to post-quantum cryptography.
  • Participating in the global initiative: India can participate in the Open Quantum Safe project — a global initiative started in 2016 for prototyping and integrating quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms.
  • Prioritising QKDs over long distances, especially connecting military outposts for sensitive communications, can be prioritised to ensure secure communications whilst protecting key intelligence from potential quantum cyberattacks.
  • Diplomatic partnerships with other “techno-democracies” — countries with top technology sectors, advanced economies, and a commitment to liberal democracy — can help India pool resources and mitigate emerging quantum cyber threats.

India needs a holistic approach to tackle these challenges. At the heart of this approach should be the focus on post-quantum cybersecurity.

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Q. What do you understand by Quantum computers and explain how will it revolutionize computing? (250 words)

 

The term ‘Sycamore’ sometimes mentioned in the news recently is related to

a)       Humanoid Robot

b)      Fastest Cloud Computing technology

c)       Quantum Computer

d)      Communication technology

 

Answer: C