General Studies Paper 3 (Internal Security) (Science & Technology)
Question:- 55. “Digital India requires strong focus on cyber security.” What are the challenges faced by cybersecurity in India. What can be the solutions for near future that India as a nation can resort to?. Answer in 250 words.
Sep 02, 2022
The Digital India campaign aims to make government services available to citizens electronically by online infrastructure improvement and also by enhancing internet connectivity. It aims to provide digital infrastructure as a source of utility to every citizen; governance and services on demand. It looks after the digital empowerment of every citizen.
With Indians using the internet for all their needs, ranging from shopping to banking, studying to storing data, cyber crimes have also increased in proportion to usage. Recurrent incidents like the Pegasus snooping scandal, Wannacry attack etc. have shown vulnerability of India to cyber-crime threats.
LINKAGE POINT: The following are the major challenges to cyber security in India:
1. Lack of an updated and all-round cyber security policy: The incoming policy is still yet to be announced, while the existing national Cyber Security Policy from 2013 remains outdated and poorly implemented. Delays have notable implications for India’s digital transition, diplomatic initiatives, and domestic privacy.
2.Digital Data Threat: Growing online transactions have generated bigger incentives for cybercriminals. Besides, establishments looking to mine data (customer information, results of product surveys, and generic market information), they also create intellectual property that is in itself an attractive target. Also, coordination between government agencies and the private sector does not function within a trust-based ecosystem. While India’s cyber security initiatives have been mostly defensive, the government has also built capacity for offensive pursuits.
3.Cyber warfare: The actions by a nation-state or international organization to attack and attempt to damage another nation’s computers or information networks.
4.Lack of Infrastructure: Critical infrastructure is owned by private sector, and the armed forces have their own firefighting agencies. However there is no national security architecture that unifies the efforts of all these agencies to be able to assess the nature of any threat and tackle them effectively. Most equipment and technology systems are vulnerable to cyber threats just like any other connected system. Although the government has set up National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC), it is yet to identify and implement measures to protect critical information infrastructure.
5.Lack of specialists: Globally, India ranks 2nd in terms of the number of Internet users after China (Internet World Stats, 2017). However, India has a negligible base of cyber-security specialists, when compared to internet user base.
6.Lack of robust law enforcement mechanisms: India’s approach to cyber security has so far been ad hoc and unsystematic. Despite a number of agencies, policies and initiatives, their implementation has been far from satisfactory. Also, due to the existence of too many agencies with overlapping functions in the field of cyber security, coordination between these agencies is poor.
7.Delay in solving cases which motivates cyber criminals even more.
There have been many initiatives taken by the government to enhance cyber-security in India: (use a flowchart/ diagram to represent this part as it has not been directly asked so that it doesn’t affect your word limit and doesn’t give an impression that you are beating around the bush)
-Information Technology Act, 2000 and its Amendment of 2008 : Currently. the response to most cyber incidents in India is guided by this Act
-National Cyber Security Policy, 2013: The policy provides the vision and strategic direction to protect the national cyberspace.
-The CERT-In (Cyber Emergency Response Team – India)- national nodal agency for responding to computer security incidents as and when they occur.
Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) – apex coordination centre to deal with cybercrimes.
Cyber Swachhta Kendra- provides a platform for users to analyse and clean their systems of various viruses, bots/ malware, Trojans, etc.
Cyber Surakshit Bharat- to spread awareness about cybercrime and building capacity for safety measures for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline IT staff across all government departments.
Cyber-Crime Prevention against Women & Children’ Scheme- aims to prevent and reduce cyber crimes against women and children.
LINKAGE POINT: However, to ensure robust cyber security for citizens, the following measures must be resorted to:
1.There is an urgent need to build capabilities and capacity for application, equipment and infrastructure testing.
2.Immediate attention has to be given to human resource development which would increase the number of experts who can effectively manage the cyber security of the country.
3.Investments should be made on R&D to develop more innovative technologies to address increasing cyber security threats.
4.It is important to bring a robust policy and effectively implement the same. Further, duties and responsibilities should be defined clearly for smooth functioning and better coordination among departments and stakeholders. The National Cyber Security Strategy can play an important role in this regard.
5.A periodic awareness campaign by the government and big private organizations should be conducted to aware people about cyber security threats.
6.It is important to strengthen the public- private partnership on cyber security.
As data becomes the world’s most precious commodity, attacks on data and data systems are bound to intensify. Cyber-security is needed in the present era of increasing connectivity. Although the government has taken many proactive steps, much needed to be done to enhance the country’s cyber-security so that the vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy can be realized. With India’s highly skilled IT workforce, efforts must be harnessed and redirected towards strategic use by the government. With strengthened cybersecurity defences in India’s future, Indian businesses will become more competitive on a global level and create a safer digital India.