India needs to move aggressively in areas of cybersecurity, cyber hygiene: IT Secy

IT Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney said that it is especially important that India moves aggressively in the area of cybersecurity.

 As connected systems and increasing use of smartphones raise the risk of vulnerabilities, India with its proven prowess in software and services should now move aggressively in the area of cybersecurity, a senior IT Ministry official said on Wednesday.

"We have an estimated $1.9 billion (about Rs 13,500 crore) in cybersecurity service business, and $450 million (about Rs 3,200 crore) of cybersecurity products business from India. There is also presence of multinational and Indian entities which engage in R&D in cybersecurity...all of it currently amounts to $5 billion (about Rs 35,500 crore) worth cybersecurity ecosystem in India," said IT Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney.

This, he said, needs to grow significantly with Indian cybersecurity products.

"It is especially important that we move aggressively in the area of cybersecurity," Sawhney said, citing a connected world with a rising number of computing devices.

"We are more dependent on computing equipments, communications and storage systems and with that the vulnerabilities are significant," he added, emphasising the need for cybersecurity and cyber hygiene products and tools.

Sawhney was speaking at the launch ceremony of 'Cyber Security Grand Challenge' that seeks to provide a platform to innovators and start-ups to align their efforts in the development of products and solutions for critical cybersecurity problems.

In February 2019, a report from Cybersecurity Ventures suggested that the cybercrime damages will cost the world more than $6 trillion by 2021. Surprisingly, the GDP of India was only a little above $2.6 trillion in 2017, according to a report by the World Bank.

Also in the year 2018, Quora — a Q&A forum popular among Indian readers — notified its users that an unauthorised third-party gained access to its data. As a result, accounts of nearly a hundred million users and their data was compromised.

Data breaches of this scale are occurring from time to time, and the need for proper cybersecurity measures is intense.

However, with the game-changing innovations in automation and artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity is trending towards automation.

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)