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Cyber Security In Indian Cyber Space

In recent decades Cyberspace has touched almost every sphere of Indian life. Today India aims to connect and empower billion people through Digital India and building next generation infrastructure through smart cities. All these leads to a hyper-connected nation of people, devices, and machines. Security and Integrity of this ever-expanding cyberspace is the Need of the Hour. 

Cyber Security in Indian Cyber Space

India is going to Host the Global Conference on Cyber Space 2017 (GCCS 2017) in the coming week of November 2017. It’s really a positive and progressive step for a young Nation like India. India being an IT Leader and Second big market of Internet Users all over the world also add weight to GCCS 2017. It also becomes more significant especially when Government bet on programs like Digital India, Smart City and Make in India for an inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Current Government’s Development policy have given a wider space to technology lead development process. Whether it is electronic delivery of government services, or programme like Digital India, a renewed focus on technology driven Governance model can be easily seen. Over the years Government’s adoption of Information and Technology enabled services and products have increased manyfolds.IT enabled solutions can be seen in Public Services, HealthCare, Financial Services etc. Not Only that increasing access to Internet, Smartphones and other connected devices by the Indians in coming decades will make India more digitally connected.

In recent decades Cyberspace has also become a complex environment consisting of interactions between people, software and services, powered by a highly distributed set of ICT devices and networks. Use of this Cyberspace by people, businesses, Governments, critical information infrastructure and military is increasing day by day, thanks to Era of Digitization. Cyberspace is the new world order. Now Cyberspace is not limited to few High-tech Industries and business groups. It has a wider horizon and its presence can be seen in every aspect of Human life. Nation-State, Government, Market ,Society all are residents of this evolving Cyberspace .Digital Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence ,Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Deep Learning are making Cyberspace a more dynamic and Organic system which is as lively as our Mother Earth.

Today Mother Earth is vulnerable to many threats, on similar line Cyberspace is also more vulnerable to a wide variety of incidents and threats. These incidents may be intentional or accidental, manmade or natural. These may be led by state or non-state actors. For Example, Data exchanged in the cyberspace can be exploited for nefarious purposes. In Today’s Digital World Technology and Information are the new norms with a vast amount of Data exchange between the highly distributed and connected systems. A significant Portion of this Data can be sensitive information. Its theft or unauthorized access to someone may impact severely the entity to which it belongs. How in 2016 Indian debit card hacking and resultant financial loss to National Payments Corporation of India is a case in point. On the same line data of 17 million users was hacked from Zomato Servers.

A Cyber-attack might be specific to a single system or might impact all the systems in the cyber space. Some of the examples of cyber threats to individuals, businesses and government are identity theft, phishing, social engineering, hacktivism, cyber terrorism, compound threats targeting mobile devices and smart phones, compromised digital certificates, advanced persistent threats, denial of service, bot nets, supply chain attacks, data leakage, etc. Cyber Terrorism, Cyber Crime, Cyber Espionage and Cyber Warfare are the new entrants in Cyber-attack landscape. Use of Dark net and Deep web by the terrorist groups for sale of drugs, weapons and hiring of people is also making the Cyberspace a threat to human civilization.

Though each nation in the world, Developed or Developing, is vulnerable to such cyber-attacks, but when it comes to India, Situation is more sever. Lack of Digital and Cyber Security awareness among the masses, Un-trained regulatory workforce, tardy and disjointed implementation of policies and nascent stage of Cyber Security Ecosystem makes Indian Cyber space more vulnerable. Few Months back cyber-attacks like Petya, Locky impacted the various sectors of Industry. In addition to Government departments, sectors of Industry such as Banking, Energy, Telecom and Defense are being targeted very frequently. In 2016 only 50,362 cyber security incidents were taking place in India as per India’s Computer Emergency Team(CERT-IN).

In General terms, Cyber Security consist of processes, technologies and practices to protect networks, programs, data, device and people from theft, attack, damage or unauthorized access. Till few Years Back, Cyber Security was more related to ICT Security but in Today’s Digital World it embodies multiple dimensions. Network security, Endpoint Security, Data Security, Identity Management, Infrastructure Security, Mobile Security, Cloud security, Disaster recovery with Business continuity planning, Awareness, Regulatory institutes and Cyber Laws are the key dimensions.

Over the Years India has also taken steps for the security of its ICT infrastructure. But a full-fledged thrust in Cyber Security starts reflecting when Government came with India’s first Cyber Security Policy in 2013. It talks about Institutions, Regulations, Workforce and other Broader dimensions of Cyber Security. Though India’s Cyber Security Policy 2013 provides a broader perspective but it has given a direction to India’s Cyberspace security programme. This broader perspective can’t work in the Era of Digitalization. As policy document itself highlighted that Cyber Security is an evolving task. It is the high time for Indian Policy makers to revamp the Indian Cyber Space. A review of Current Cyber Security Policy will be a first step in this journey. Considering the strategic and geo political nature of cyber security it is also a high time for India to have a comprehensive and well-integrated Cyber Security Doctrine. Existing Cyber Security Architecture also needs to be upgraded with renewed focus on Institutions, Processes, and People.

Cyber4Security being one of the Agenda in coming GCCS 2017, Where best of world mind from academia, Industry, civil society and Government will brainstorm over Cyber Security in the context of Cyberspace, We can hope for some Positive and Innovative outcomes which will strengthen the Global resolve of a Secure and Digitally Connected World. It’s a golden time to build global leadership and partnership, spreading awareness and investing on resources, research and innovation.

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