Is India Equipped To Handle High-Risk Cybersecurity Threats?

Over the years, India is transforming into a digital economy, and with this cybersecurity threats are becoming a serious risk for the nation’s success. Not only private organisation but Government organisations also keep their confidential data online which is becoming highly risky with the increasing instances of hacking.

India is a talent factory when it comes to technology, however, is it true in terms of cybersecurity? According to a cybersecurity report by Cisco, Indian cybersecurity deals with 250,000 to 500,000 alerts per day, which is nearly thrice the number of alerts at global companies. Also, nearly 39% of these alerts remain unattended.

Here in this article, we will see how India is witnessing some of the serious cyber attacks and what step the nation is taking regarding this.

Instances Of India Falling Prey To Cyber Threats

According to a source, more than 22,000 Indian websites were hacked between April 2017 and January 2018 and all the compromised websites, there were 114 government portals. It was informed to the Lok Sabha in a written reply by Electronics and IT MoS KJ Alphons on March 2018.

“As per information reported to and tracked by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), a total of 22,207 Indian websites including 114 government websites were hacked from April 2017 to January 2018. A total number of 493 affected websites were used for malware propagation,” KJ Alphons stated.

On September 10, 2018, the Union Public Service Commission’s (UPSC) website was hacked by a 17-year-old teenager. The website’s homepage was displaying the image of a popular cartoon character, Doraemon with the caption: “Doraemon!!!! Pick up the call”, while the title track of the cartoon played in the background. That is not all, the page also displayed “I.M. STEWPEED” at the bottom.

Another instance of Indian government website getting hacked was in 2016 when the Indian railway ticket booking website, IRCTC was hacked. IRCTC is India’s one of the largest e-commerce websites, lakhs of transactions are done on the website on a day to day basis, and this incident injected a fear that information of around 1 crore people might be at risk.

On 6 April 2018, even India’s official ministry of defence (MoD) website—mod.gov.in—was hacked. Just within minutes after the hack, the official twitter account of MoD confirmed the attack.

Furthermore, Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Defense wrote on Twitter that the required action has been initiated after and the website shall be restored shortly.

Not only these, but there were many other serious website hacks. However, India is still not becoming capable enough to completely stop this kind of cybercrime activities.

The Latest Hack

Amid brewing tensions between India and Pakistan, recently, the website of the country’s ruling political party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was taken offline after hackers defaced the site. The website was hacked on 5 March 2018 and the website was still under maintenance when this article was published.  

That is not all, after the incident, Social media was abuzz with screenshots of a meme featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Efforts To Combat Cyber Crime

With a mission to digitally empower Indian citizens, “Digital India” campaign is at the heart of Government of India’s development policy. However, as the nation continues to achieve its goals, threats in cyberspace are also becoming sophisticated. And India has already witnessed some of the major attacks. Now, keeping that in mind, it is high time that India prioritises its security of the personal data of its citizens and update its Cyber Security measures.

In 2013, India announced its first ever national-level Cyber Security Policy, which was aimed at building secure cyberspace for citizens of the country, businesses, and the Government. Apart from this, the nation has also taken other steps which include the creation of the position of the National Cyber Security Coordinator by the Prime Minister’s Office in 2014; appointment of India’s first chief information security officer (CISO) in 2016 with the aim of enhancing cybersecurity in the country and subsequently, all ministries were asked to appoint Central Information Security Officers.

Later, in order to combat and prevent cyber security violations, the Indian Government’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) in February 2017 launched Cyber Swachhta Kendra, a botnet cleaning and malware analysis centre. It was basically a new desktop and mobile security solution for cybersecurity.

Bottom Line

Despite all the necessary steps and measures, India continues to witness cyber-attacks, and the recent BJP website hack skyrocketed the need to have a robust cybersecurity infrastructure.

More than policies and protocols, it is high time that India should start looking for the best cybersecurity experts. Also, a significant cybersecurity curriculum in schools and college has become a must; knowing the cyberspace at a very young age will not only help students to be aware of the threats but will also encourage them to take their career a step forward in terms of cybersecurity.

India is a nation full of talented individuals and if the talent is utilised properly, then definitely the nation can do wonders.

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