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Cyber Safety and National Security

  • 21 Jun 2022
  • 8 min read

For Prelims: Cyber Security, Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, CERT-In

For Mains: Cyber Safety threat, Government Initiatives for Cyber Safety

Why in News?

Recently, the National Conference on Cyber Safety and National Security concluded in New Delhi.

  • The conference is part of the efforts to create mass awareness for the prevention of cybercrimes in the country.
  • It is also part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate India’s progress and achievements in the 75th year of India’s Independence.

What is Cyber Safety?

  • About:
    • A set of activities and other measures intended to protect cyberspace networks, related hardware and devices software, and the information they contain and communicate, including software and data from all threats including threats to national security.
  • Relation with National Security:
    • Since Cyber-armies have been formed to launch cyberattacks against India, cyber security is closely connected to national security.
      • A cyber-army is a group of soldiers highly skilled in information technology with cyber skills.

What’s upping India’s Cyber Safety threat?

  • Digital India Vision:
    • India is one of the fastest-growing markets for digital technologies fuelling the government's push towards actualising its Digital India mission.
      • Whether creating broadband highways or rolling out services such as Digi Locker and e-governance schemes like the Jan Dhan Yojana, the government has pushed for as much digital adoption as possible.
      • Under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana 45 crore new accounts have been opened and 32 crore RuPay Debit Cards have been distributed in the last 8 years.
      • BharatNet is also developing very fast, 5.75 lakh km of fiber cable has been laid and work has been done to connect 1.80 lakhvillages in the last 8 years which was less than 10,000 8 years ago.
  • Increasing footprint of Digital activities:
    • India now has over 1.15 billion phones and more than 700 million internet users and makes it a large pool of digitally vulnerable targets.
      • In January 2020, India had the second largest Internet user base with over 550 million Internet users.
      • In 2021, 40% of the total global digital payments took place in India.
      • Digital Inclusion increases the potential of digital threats leading to cyber-attacks and crimes.

What distinguishes Cybercrime from Traditional Criminal Activity?

  • Cybercrime, also called computer crime, the use of a computer as an instrument to further illegal ends, such as committing fraud, trafficking in child pornography and intellectual property stealing identities or violating privacy.
    • Most cybercrime is an attack on information about individuals, corporations, or governments.
    • Although the attacks do not take place on a physical body as traditional criminal activity, they do take place on the personal or corporate virtual body, which is the set of informational attributes that define people and institutions on the Internet.

What are the challenges behind Cyber Safety?

  • Service Providers:
    • Rush towards digitisation in almost every sector has led to increased collaborations with application service providers. This is done to provide customers with the best apps and services in the shortest possible time.
    • Hardware and software being of foreign origin or the terabytes of data that is parked on servers outside India serve a potential threat to National Cyber space.
  • Wide Coverage:
    • India has now more than 700 million internet users and makes it a large pool of digitally vulnerable targets. Considering our nation's size and scale, it serves as a challenge to monitor and suspect digital threats.

What are the Present Government Initiatives for Cyber Safety?

  • Cybercrime portal:
    • It aims to enable citizens to report online content pertaining to Child Pornography/ Child Sexual Abuse Material or sexually explicit content such as Rape/Gang Rape (CP/RGR).
  • Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C):
    • The prevention of cybercrimes is being handled through seven pillars under I4C and CIS Division of Ministry of Home Affairs -
    • National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit
    • National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal
    • National Cyber Crime Training Centre
    • National Cyber Crime Research and Innovation Centre
    • Joint Cyber Crime Coordination
    • National Cyber Crime Ecosystem Management Unit
    • National Cyber Crime Forensic Laboratory
  • CERT-In:
    • India's national agency for cybersecurity, The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), has led to a reduction in cyber-attacks on government networks due to its advancements in tackling the nation's cybersecurity.
  • Cyber Surakshit Bharat:
    • It is an initiative from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) that aims at creating a robust cybersecurity ecosystem in India. This aligns with the government's vision for a ‘Digital India’. The National E-Government Division (NeGD) sponsored this program.
  • Cyber Swachhta Kendra:
    • It is an installation under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) aims to create secure cyberspace for Indian users by detecting botnet infections and enabling end-users to clean their systems and secure their systems thereafter to prevent further infections.
  • Personal Data Protection Bill:
    • Worldwide data breaches served a threat to personal security for Indian citizens, the PDP Bill was approved by the union government to protect them from global breaches, focusing on localised data.

Way Forward

  • To achieve the goal of cyber-secure nation, India will require a robust cybersecurity strategy that safeguards government systems, citizens, and the business ecosystem. This will not only help protect citizens from cyber-threats, but also boost investor confidence in the economy.
    • The university and school curriculum must also emphasise cybersecurity as a high-decibel awareness subject.
    • Pressure also needs to be put on officials in the public domain to carry out regular vulnerability assessments and create necessary awareness of the growing cyber threat.
    • A dedicated industry forum for cyber security should be set up to develop trusted indigenous solutions to check cyber-attacks.

Source: PIB

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