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Focus: GS-III Internal Security Challenges

Why in news?

The government is in the process of setting up a system to secure the country’s financial sector from cyber-attacks after agencies pointed to its vulnerability due to the increase in number of digital transactions over the past few months on account of Covid-19, and threats from hostile countries such as China and Pakistan.

Present scenario

  • At present, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) deals with all types of cyber security threats but officials in the administration have been discussing the need for a specialised agency, which could be called Cert-Fin, the officials said, asking not to be identified.
  • Several rounds of discussions have been held at the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) on the matter of securing the financial sector from cyber-attacks.
  • CERT-In functions under the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY).

Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC)

  • FSDC is an apex body for coordination between the various regulators of the financial sector, and is chaired by the finance minister.
  • Its members include top bureaucrats and heads of financial sector regulators such as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority of India (PFRDA), the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) and the Forward Markets Commission (FMC).

Critical issues

  • Banking and ATM networks have been the target of cyber criminals for several years, with attackers often disrupting operations and attempting to steal sensitive data.
  • In one of the biggest attacks of this kind, the data of 3.2 million debit cards used in India was stolen after a malware was injected in a back-end banking system in 2016.
  • RBI’s latest Financial Stability Report also flagged the issue of cyber threats to the financial sector.
  • A report said that hackers from various countries attempted over 40,000 cyber-attacks on India’s Information Technology infrastructure and banking sector over five days in the last week of June.
  • Cyber-attacks against banks and financial institutions globally have increased 238% amid the Covid-19 crisis (lockdown period) and Ransomware attacks increased by nine times during the same period.

-Source: Hindustan Times

December 2023