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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q: What are the main causes and consequences of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure? How can India enhance its cybersecurity preparedness to deal with such threats? (250 words)

    21 Jun, 2023 GS Paper 3 Science & Technology


    • Start your answer with a brief introduction of Cyber Attacks.
    • Explain its Causes and consequences separately.
    • Write some ways to enhance cybersecurity preparedness.
    • Conclude accordingly.


    Cyberattacks on critical infrastructure are malicious attempts to disrupt or damage the essential services and systems that support the functioning of a nation, such as power grids, transportation networks, communication systems, banking and financial services, etc.


    The main causes of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure are:

    • Technological Vulnerabilities:
      • Weak Security Measures: Inadequate implementation of security protocols and outdated software can create vulnerabilities that cybercriminals exploit.
      • Software Bugs and Exploits: Vulnerabilities in software codes or undiscovered bugs can be exploited by attackers to gain unauthorized access.
    • Human Factors:
      • Insider Threats: Malicious actions or unintentional mistakes by insiders, such as disgruntled employees or contractors, can lead to cyber attacks.
      • Social Engineering: Manipulating individuals through deception and psychological techniques to gain unauthorized access or sensitive information.
      • Lack of Awareness and Training: Insufficient knowledge about cyber threats, phishing techniques, and safe online practices make individuals more susceptible to attacks
    • Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs):
      • State-sponsored Attacks: Governments or state-sponsored groups may engage in cyber espionage or sabotage to gain strategic advantages.
      • Cybercriminal Organizations: Organized criminal groups with sophisticated capabilities seek financial gains through attacks on businesses and individuals.
      • Hacktivism: Activists or hacktivist groups may target organizations or individuals to promote their ideological or political agendas.
    • Cybersecurity Policy and Regulation:
      • Inadequate Legal Frameworks: Weak or outdated laws and regulations related to cybersecurity can create loopholes and insufficient deterrence.
      • Lack of International Cooperation: Cyber attacks often transcend national boundaries, making it essential to have global collaboration and information sharing to combat cyber threats effectively.
    • Economic and Financial Incentives:
      • Financial Gain: Cybercriminals are motivated by monetary rewards, such as stealing sensitive information for sale on the dark web or ransomware attacks.
      • Economic Espionage: Competing organizations or nation-states may engage in cyber attacks to gain a competitive advantage by stealing intellectual property.

    The main consequences of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure are:

    • Loss of Life and Property:
      • Loss of life and property, due to physical damage or disruption of vital services such as health care, water supply, emergency response, etc.
    • Loss of Trust:
      • Loss of trust and confidence, due to breach of privacy, security, and integrity of personal or official data and information.
    • Economic Loss:
      • Loss of economic growth and competitiveness, due to reduced productivity, efficiency, innovation, and trade.
    • Threat to National Security:
      • Threat to national security and sovereignty, due to exposure of strategic assets, vulnerabilities, and secrets.

    India can enhance its cybersecurity preparedness to deal with such threats by:

    • Strengthening its legal and institutional framework for cybersecurity governance, coordination, regulation, and enforcement.
    • Developing its human and technological capabilities for cybersecurity research, innovation, education, and awareness.
    • Enhancing its public-private partnership for cybersecurity collaboration, information sharing, best practices, and standards.
    • Building its regional and international cooperation for cybersecurity dialogue, cooperation, capacity building, and norms.


    • Cyberattacks on critical infrastructure pose a serious threat to the national and global security and stability. India needs to adopt a proactive and holistic approach to enhance its cybersecurity preparedness and resilience, involving all the stakeholders and partners. This will not only protect its vital interests and assets, but also enable it to play a leading role in shaping the cyber domain in a responsible and cooperative manner.

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