India Takes Measures To Boost Cybersecurity Architecture

CIOReviewIndia Team | Monday, 16 November 2020, 10:32 IST

Amid the Covid19 pandemic, India witnessed a surge in cybercrimes. During the addressing session on Independence Day on August 15, 2020, the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi emphasized a robust and effective cybersecurity policy, and he stated, “In this era of technology, our dependence on cyberspace is going to increase multifold. However, cyberspace offers its own risks and threats. The world is very well aware of these. It can be a threat to the social fabric of our country, our economy and can even threaten the development of our nation; we are very well aware of that. India is very cautious and is planning to take steps to combat these risks. Not only this, new systems are continuously being developed. In a short span of time, a draft of a new cybersecurity policy would be presented to the nation. In the coming times, we will have to integrate everything and then work within the framework of this cybersecurity.”

During the COVID19 outbreak, scammers created fake versions of the flagship ‘PM CARES Fund’ payments and many Indians, including Non-Residents Indians (NRIS) fell prey since then. The CERT-IN, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team and ReBIT, the technology wing of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued warnings about online threats and scams, whereby asked for staying aware to financial institutions.

After the Independence Day address, on August 25th, 2020, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), stated in its annual report about the value terms, which involved an amount of Rs. 1 lakh and above, have doubled in 2019-20 period to Rs. 1.85 trillion from Rs. 71,543 in 2018-19 period, up by 159 percent. As per the volume, the total fraud cases have jumped 28 percent to 8,707 in 2019-20 from 6,799 in 2018-19.

A report released by Subex in March 2020, a Bengaluru-based firm, providing analytics to the telecom and communication service provider, stated, for three months in 2019, India encountered the maximum cyber-attacks in the world. The report stated, “The US was the most targeted nation in the world in 2019. However, in the second quarter, India surpassed the US. “Throughout the year, India was in the top 5 (countries) especially after March 2019.”

Modi regime states strengthening cyber-security and the Indian Government is stepping up international cooperation for enhancing the cybersecurity architecture. The second ASEAN-India Track 1.5 Dialogue on Cyber Issues was conducted on October 12, 2020, where Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East) in External Affairs Ministry, stressed on the Indian initiative for tackling the situation with flagship Digital India Programme – Pradhan Mantri Grameen Digital Shaksharta Abhiyan (Prime Minister’s Rural Digital Literacy Campaign) and National Cyber Security Strategy 2020, for the following five years.

India launched The Centres of Excellence in Software Development and Training (CESDTs) in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam for enhancement of digital cooperation, where India is also funding ‘Child Online Risks Awareness Campaign’, and ‘Building Capacity on Digital Public Services Implementation and Cyber Security for Government Agencies’, which belongs to Quick Impact Projects in Cambodia in 2020.

In recent times, on October 7, 2020, India signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with Japan, related to cybersecurity. The MoC is stated to the enhancement of cooperation in the areas of mutual interest, which includes inter-alia, capacity building in the field of cyberspace, protection of critical infrastructure, cooperation in emerging technologies, information sharing on cybersecurity threats/incidents, and malicious cyber activities, as well as best practices for countering them. It is aimed at developing joint mechanisms for practical cooperation to mitigate cyber threats for the security of Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure.

India and Japan have committed to an open, interoperable, free, fair and secure and reliable cyberspace environment and will promote the Internet as an engine of innovation, economic growth, and trade and commerce which will be consistent, with their respective domestic laws, and international obligations, and with the wide-ranging strategic partnership.

Through the MoC, both sides affirmed cooperation in the international arena including in the United Nations, discussing and sharing strategies and the best practices for the promotion of integrity of the supply chain of ICT products, strengthening the ICT security infrastructure with the help of Government-to-government and business-to-business cooperation, in continuation dialogue and engagement in Internet governance fora, and for supporting the active participation by all the stakeholders of the two countries in these fora.

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