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Government Building Proactive Cyber Security Ecosystem

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Our nation is taking giant strides to fast emerge as a Digital Economy and build an inclusive Knowledge Society through a series of path-breaking transformative initiatives such as “Make-in-India”, “Startup- India”, “Skilling India”, “Stand-up-India”, and “Digital India” under the dynamic leadership of Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, says P P Chaudhary, Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology and Law and Justice, in an exclusive conversation with Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN).

P P CHAUDHARY
Union Minister of
State for Electronics and Information
Technology and Law and Justice

Our nation is taking giant strides to fast emerge as a Digital Economy and inclusive Knowledge Society through a series of pathbreaking transformative initiatives such as “Make-in-India”, “Start-Up-India”, “Skilling India”, “Stand-up-India”, and “Digital India” under the dynamic leadership of Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The flagship initiative of Digital India stands out uniquely in many ways – in terms of stake holders in industry, academia and Government at various levels in Centre, State and UTs, in terms of its enabling nature, and consequent impact both on economy and society.

In a short span, it has enabled roll out of many new projects and products, covering the entire spectrum of e-Governance space in the country, including G2C, G2B, and G2G, with emphasis on quality in all aspects of service delivery. Aadhaar roll out with over 1.11 Billion enrollments and its successful use in several welfare schemes for direct benefit transfer, as well as for expediting business processes, is unprecedented and unique in the world.

The recent successful implementation of remonetization, in a short span of a little over 2 months, to eliminate the deep rooted menace of corruption and black money, coupled with emphasis on less cash economy and digital payments has further given tremendous boost to digital transactions and multi-digit growth has been reported across various digital transaction platforms. The Government has also set a target of 2,500 crore digital transactions for various payment modes for the fiscal year 2017-18. The developments over the past couple of months have brought focus on the issues of cyber security and safety of digital transactions.

The developments over the past couple of months have brought focus on the issues of cyber security and safety of digital transactions.

The Framework 

The Government is alive to evolving dynamic situations in the crucial area of cyber security and has taken several proactive measures to safeguard country’s sovereignty and national interest with a view to build a secure and resilient cyberspace for Citizens, Business and Government and help transform our country into a digitally trusted society.

Under the overarching Information Technology Act 2000 (along with 2008 amendments), a National Cyber Security Framework is in place which takes on board all the stakeholders. It covers secure cyber ecosystem, assurance and regulatory frameworks, mechanisms for 24×7 operations, indigenous cyber security technologies, workforce development, global cooperation and gap analysis. As part of the framework, a National Cyber Security Policy has been put in place.

Moreover, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has been operational on 24×7 basis and all cyber security incidents are to be reported to CERT-In. Towards building and enhancing awareness of organizations and individuals about measures to ward off cyber attacks and securing their systems, the CERT-In provides important information such as Alerts, Advisories and Vulnerability Notes. It also prepares and periodically updates a Cyber Crisis Management Plan (CCMP) for countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism. This plan is widely circulated to all the stakeholders for strict compliance. Wherever necessary, the requisite guidance and expertise is also extended for its effective implementation. Regular workshops and drills are conducted to impart training and take stock of various measures. Towards mass awareness building, guidelines, white papers, workshop presentations, books, videos and online materials are disseminated through citizen-centric portals such as www.infosecawareness.in, www.secureelectronics. in and www.cert-in.org.

The Government has also set up a number of Cyber Forensic Training & Investigation Labs for training of Law Enforcement Agencies and Judiciary. These labs also provide support for investigation of cyber security incidents and cyber crimes by retrieving and analyzing data from computers and mobiles.

The Government recently announced a number of indigenous tools and solutions along with the launch of Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre (Cyber Swachhta Kendra) under CERT-In. The users can log on to the Cyber Swachhata Kendra portal and clean their systems using the free software solutions. The indigenous tools made available include USB Pratirodh, a desktop security solution, which protects from USB mass storage device threats and AppSamvid, a desktop solution protects systems by allowing installation of genuine applications through white listing. For mobile devices, M-Kavach solution addresses the security threats.

As regards security assurance, the Standardization, Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) Directorate evaluates and certifies IT products for security. STQC carries select key security testing and assessment activities and also conducts various security related training courses.

Future Steps

As can be seen from above, the Government has taken several initiatives and measures to safeguard and secure our cyberspace. However, this is an ever evolving field and cyber threat perceptions keep changing dynamically. This requires constant monitoring and upgrading of our capabilities and capacities. Some of the initiatives in pipeline include the following, namely:

Some of the initiatives in pipeline include the following, namely:

The Government has also set up a number of Cyber Forensic Training & Investigation Labs for training of Law Enforcement Agencies and Judiciary. These labs also provide support for investigation of cyber security incidents and cyber crimes
  • Setting-up of a National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) under CERT-In which would enable anticipation and requisite preparation to counter cyber attacks and to generate cyber security situational awareness.
  • A Computer Emergency Response Team for Financial Sector (CERT-Fin) to work in close coordination with all financial sector regulators and other stakeholders has been recently announced.
  • Vulnerabilities in other sectors are being assessed and sectoral CERTs would be implemented in phased manner on need basis.
  • An expert panel has been setup to study and recommend the changes required in the existing laws, such as IT Act, Criminal Procedure Code, Evidence Act and IPC to plug the gaps, if any, in tackling the various forms of cyber crimes.

Some State governments are also proposing to have their own CERTs. Our country will also be hosting an International Summit on cyber security issues later this year.

The Government is committed to ensuring a safe and secure cyberspace for its citizens. It has a clear vision and roadmap to proactively secure the cyber space and effectively track and counter various facets of cyber crimes in the country.

 

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