The rampant increase in cyber attacks in India is a cause of concern. These attacks range from blackmailing and fraud for extortion of money to paralysing an important digital infrastructure through distributed denial of service attack. Digitalization has the potential to change the way things work in India but it also exposes the vulnerability of our weaknesses. State and non-state actors are potentially involved in the veil of the digital ruse. Several in the past directed to India were orchestrated by Chinese hacker groups. This makes cybersecurity a national issue of internal security. India needs to be wary of the intentions of it’s naughty neighbours.
At the level of the individual, cyber crimes can take the form of fraud for money through various mobile applications. Recently a racket of such fraudsters was caught by the police. They used mobile based applications to lure people to invest their money. In fact, one application featured among the top five applications of the Google Play store. They made a large sum of money by looting the people. The lack of digital literacy and financial literacy in many people has compounded the problem.
At the national level, such attacks are aimed at disrupting of the availability of a service. The recent attack on Air India was one of the most malicious attacks of 2021. Data of millions of customers was compromised. In past, there have been many attempts on hijacking the power discoms, banks, and other important services.
Cybersecurity infrastructure in India
The ministry of communication and information technology designed the national cybersecurity policy in 2013. It aimed at protecting information including personal, financial, sovereign data and so on. National critical information infrastructure protection centre (NCIIPC) was established for strategic areas like air control, nuclear, space etc.
For noncritical digital assets, India’s computer emergency response team was set up under the ministry of electronics and information technology (MEITY). The National cyber coordination centre (NCCC) was set up to generate situational awareness of existing and potential cybersecurity threats.
Information technology act, 2000 also laid down some provisions for data security. Other initiatives include cyber Swachhta Kendra for botnet cleaning, training programs Like information security education and awareness project called cyber crisis management plan and so on.
Recently the government launched national helpline number 155260 to report cybercrime. Being the third largest Internet user in the world this action was rather late. But as the old saying goes better late than never, finally, citizens will have a platform dedicated to cybercrime.
With growing Internet coverage the need for cybersecurity, data protection and ensuring the privacy of data has also become pertinent. This human resource that is working against cybercrime can be given the assistance of artificial intelligence which are prompt in action and accurate in the identification of attacks. Digital literacy and awareness can no longer be neglected. Most importantly a data security law and an updated strategy should be designed. For a developing country of India’s proportion, a secure way of digitalising the country is a must. A safe digital space should be promised to the citizens of this country.