Given India’s cyber security imperatives, the National Democratic Alliance government has stepped up efforts to protect the critical networks from any such attacks, with international cooperation one of its focus areas.
As part of this strategy, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, or CERT-In, is looking at security cooperation arrangements with its counterpart agencies in other countries that will share information in a timely manner to prevent cyber attacks and crimes. India has already inked such agreements with the US, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Also, CERT-In which is the national nodal agency responsible for cyber security and works under the ministry of electronics and information technology is in touch with global service and product providers for advance information regarding cyber threats and attacks.
The development assumes importance in the backdrop of sensitive data leak of the Scorpene submarines being constructed in the country. Following the incident, the government fast-tracked setting up a National Cyber Coordination Centre and a Botnet and Malware Detection Centre with a spending of Rs.900 crore and Rs.100 crore, respectively, as reported by InfraCircle on 7 September.
“We are looking at security cooperation arrangements in the form of the memorandum of understandings (MoUs) between CERT-In and its overseas counterpart agencies that will share information,” said a senior government official requesting anonymity.
The government has also articulated a crisis management plan for countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism for implementation by all ministries and departments of central government, state governments and their units in critical sectors.
A National Cyber Security Policy, 2013, was unveiled by the previous United Progressive Alliance government to safeguard physical and business assets of the country such as air defense systems, power infrastructure, nuclear plants and telecommunications networks.
Queries emailed to the spokesperson of the ministry of electronics and information technology on 8 September wasn’t immediately answered.
The issue also assumes importance as there are 1.4 million users across central and state governments who use government email addresses—nic.in and gov.in—and other services such as the Internet, intranet, and video conferencing. The government departments are dependent on data centers of National Informatics Centre.
Experts are aware of the clear and present danger.
“While earlier, developed nations were prime targets, Indian organizations have been barraged by attacks and are now on a par with other global companies at the receiving end of cyber attacks,” PwC India, a consultancy wrote in a report.
In June, the Reserve Bank of India mandated all banks to immediately put in place a cybersecurity policy elucidating the strategy containing an appropriate approach to combat cyber threats, given the level of complexity of business and acceptable levels of risk.
With the rapid increase in a number of Internet users in India, there is a need for a secure cyberspace. The number of Internet users in the country stood at 371 million at the end of June this year.
In March 2015, the prime minister’s office created the position of first cybersecurity chief and Gulshan Rai, national cyber security coordinator at the National Security Council Secretariat, was appointed. Rai used to head eSecurity and the cyber law division under the earlier ministry of communications and IT.
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