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National Cyber Security Strategy

Context:

Amid a surge in cyberattacks on India’s networks, the Centre is yet to implement the National Cyber Security Strategy which has been in the works since 2020.

Relevance:

GS III- Security Challenges

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About National Cyber Security Strategy
  2. Why does India need a cybersecurity strategy?
  3. What steps does the report suggest?

About National Cyber Security Strategy

Conceptualised by the Data Security Council of India (DSCI), report focuses to ensure a safe, secure, trusted, resilient, and vibrant cyberspace for India.

The main sectors of focus of the report are:-

  • Large scale digitisation of public services: There needs to be a focus on security in the early stages of design in all digitisation initiatives and for developing institutional capability for assessment, evaluation, certification, and rating of core devices.
  • Supply chain security: There should be robust monitoring and mapping of the supply chain of the Integrated circuits (ICT) and electronics products. Product testing and certification needs to be scaled up, and the country’s semiconductor design capabilities must be leveraged globally.
  • Critical information infrastructure protection: The supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) security should be integrated with enterprise security. A repository of vulnerabilities should also be maintained.
  • Digital payments: There should be mapping and modelling of devices and platform deployed, transacting entities, payment flows, interfaces and data exchange as well as threat research and sharing of threat intelligence.
  • State-level cyber security: State-level cybersecurity policies and guidelines for security architecture, operations, and governance need to be developed.

Why does India need a cybersecurity strategy?

  • As per American cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks’ 2021 report, Maharashtra was the most targeted State in India — facing 42% of all ransomware attacks.
  • The report stated that India is among the more economically profitable regions for hacker groups and hence these hackers ask Indian firms to pay a ransom, usually using cryptocurrencies, in order to regain access to the data.
  • One in four Indian organisations suffered a ransomware attack in 2021.
  •  Indian organisations witnessed a 218% increase in ransomware — higher than the global average of 21%.
  • Software and services (26%), capital goods (14%) and the public sector (9%) were among the most targeted sectors.
  • Increase in such attacks has brought to light the urgent need for strengthening India’s cybersecurity.

What steps does the report suggest?

  • Budgetary provisions: A minimum allocation of 0.25% of the annual budget, which can be raised up to 1% has been recommended to be set aside for cyber security. In terms of separate ministries and agencies, 15-20% of the IT/technology expenditure should be earmarked for cybersecurity.
  • Research, innovation, skill-building and technology development: The report suggests investing in modernisation and digitisation of ICTs, setting up a short and long term agenda for cyber security via outcome-based programs and providing investments in deep-tech cyber security innovation.
  • Crisis management: For adequate preparation to handle crisis, the DSCI recommends holding cybersecurity drills which include real-life scenarios with their ramifications. In critical sectors, simulation exercises for cross-border scenarios must be held on an inter-country basis.
  • Cyber insurance: Cyber insurance being a yet to be researched field, must have an actuarial science to address cybersecurity risks in business and technology scenarios as well as calculate threat exposures. The DSCI recommends developing cyber insurance products for critical information infrastructure and to quantify the risks involving them.
  • Cyber diplomacy: Cyber diplomacy plays a huge role in shaping India’s global relations. To further better diplomacy, the government should promote brand India as a responsible player in cyber security and also create ‘cyber envoys’ for the key countries/regions.
  • Cybercrime investigation: With the increase in cybercrime across the world, the report recommends unburdening the judicial system by creating laws to resolve spamming and fake news.

-Source: The Hindu

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October 2022
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