Friday, June 20, 2014

Cyber Security Challenges For The Modi Government

The cyber security threats emanating from malware like Stuxnet, Duqu, Flame, Uroburos/Snake, Blackshades, FinFisher, Gameover Zeus (GOZ), etc are now well known. No country can afford to ignore these cyber threats as computer systems are now essential part of day to day functioning of governments around the world. The cyberspace landscape of India is also fast changing and suitable policies must be formulated by the Modi government to tackle the same effectively.

Cyber security is an international issues and it requires international cooperation to be effective. For instance, the cyber breach of Ebay has international legal ramifications and one cannot contend that the place of establishment alone would feel the consequences. However, there are some nations that are not in favour of international technology transfer in the field of cyber security. In one such incidence, India has opposed the proposal to include cyber security technologies under the Wassenaar Arrangement.

However, cyber security in India is in a poor condition.  Cyber security of banks in India is also required to be strengthened. The banks operating in India are not at all serious about maintaining cyber security of banking related transactions and this is resulting in many cyber and financial crimes in India. In the absence of appropriate skills development and modernisation of law enforcement agencies of India, police force are finding it really difficult to solve technology related crimes. Further, cyber security of sensitive databases like National Identity Cards would also require strong privacy protection and cyber security compliances.

Another problematic are is absence of an implementable telecom security policy of India. Most of the policies and regulations in this regard are clearly unconstitutional in nature as they are neither balanced nor in compliance with the constitutional requirements. Experts believe that the stand of Modi government regarding e-surveillance projects like Central Monitoring System (CMS) Project of India and Internet Spy System Network and Traffic Analysis System (NETRA) of India must be made clear. Otherwise, this would create troubles for the government as well as for the telecom security policy in the near future.

The cyber security challenges for the Modi government must be given due importance. Cyber security should be an essential component of the national security policy of India. The cyber security trends in India 2013 (PDF) have highlighted major shortcomings of Indian cyber security initiatives and the same must be addressed by Modi government as soon as possible. Although National Cyber Security Policy (NSCP) 2013 has been declared yet it needs both updation and implementation as per opinion of cyber security experts.

We need dedicated cyber security laws in India and effective cyber security policies. For instance, we have no cyber warfare policy of India (PDF) and this is a major lacuna in the contemporary times. Similarly, critical infrastructure protection in India (PDF) is also not up to the mark and it needs to be strengthened. Let us hope that the Modi government would do needful in this regard.