Amid The Excitement For Upcoming Lok Sabha Election, Is Cyber Security Being Neglected?

According to a recent study, titled Which countries have the worst (and best) cybersecurity, India secured the 15th place among all the 60 other countries. The list was from worst to the best — the number one rank being the least secured and 60the being the most secured. This statistics might not surprise you as we have already witnessed some of the worst hacks and breaches. According to the Global Risk Report 2019,  India has faced one of the largest data breaches where the government ID database, Aadhaar was hacked exposing records of all 1.1 billion registered citizens.

That is not all, the website of the world’s largest political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got hacked on 5 March 2018 and was under maintenance for more than a week. The website of the Chhattisgarh BJP was also hacked last month and reportedly the culprits behind the act were some Pakistani cyber attackers.

The irony here is, the victim of these attack is the ruling party of the nation. It is not only pushing the party towards some of the worst consequences but also making the citizens of the nation doubting their cyber privacy.

BJP is not the only body that has faced such incidents, but there are other bodies such as Congress party and the UPSC who have witnessed some of the worst hacks. And if we list down some more instance of India facing the wrath of cyber-attacks, the list will be a little longer.

Where Exactly India Is Lagging?

Time and again, hacks and breaches have alerted India to tighten its cybersecurity, however, the government doesn’t seem to be much active about it. But why is that? Even after facing some of the worst breaches we are not stepping in to do something about the security?

Let’s have a look at some of the key reasons why India could be falling prey to cyber attackers:

Negligence

This is definitely one of the prime reasons behind Indian websites getting target again and again. There are many instances when websites of many govt. organisations get compromised and instead of taking severe action against it, they just fix the site and go live. Proper investigations must be carried out every time some suspicious activity is recorded. This is very common with small sized organisations.

Talking about the architecture of most of the government websites, they are still old-school. There are many websites that are built on some of the most basic technology and can be hacked using simple XSS or SQLi methods.

A website is not just about displaying the works of an organisation, but it is something bigger than that. And it is high time government organisations should understand that and upgrade their entire infrastructure to match the latest tech trends

Lack of knowledge & expertise

Many students from the technology background would definitely agree with this. When someone pursues a technology-centric course, the chances are less they would be taught the complete nuts and bolts of cybersecurity. And as a result, the nation itself struggle to find the best talent.

Whether you call it a political strategy or technical failure, the question would always be against the personnel working for the cybersecurity space of the nation — why did it take so much time to fix the BJP website? Nowadays, people are becoming more and more curious, and they always seek for explanations and answers. So, the more these kind of incidents happen, the more people step in with bullet questions.

When we look at private organisations, they take immediate measures to mitigate the effect of a hack or breach.  There are instances where private companies have fought back and even prevent hackers from gaining access to their website. Unfortunately, this is unlikely in terms of government websites.

The Focus Is Always On The Elections

India is definitely one of the enthusiastic nations when it comes to elections; from ministers to citizens get actively engaged with all the rallies and other events. But amid all these activities, is the government forgetting that it has recently faced some of the worst breaches and should do something about it.

As the poll day is nearing, the political parties are actively taking the stage on social media in order to gather information about each individual voter—their likes, interests and political opinions. However, when it comes to the security of the same individual’s cyberspace, there is not much happening.

Bottom Line

Technology is evolving at jet speed and with time it is not only empowering business or organisations, but it is also giving its superpowers to the cyber attackers. It has literally become a rat race — the one who embraces changes fast wins — be it the cyber attackers or the cybersecurity personnel.  Therefore, it is high time, that India should look back once and see what went wrong then and understand what can be done now.

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