Sunday 1 March 2015 Home | Sitemap | Contact Us

  Research Papers  |  Books  |  Items
Security Issues South Asia » IW & Cyber Security » India Cyber Security: Need for Robust Approach
Rahul Bhonsle

Oct 18, 2012

Print Bookmark Email

India Cyber Security: Need for More Robust Approach

Even as, “cyber wars,” have become a reality across the globe, India’s security czars have issued a report on Recommendations of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Engagement with Private Sector on Cyber Security. The pork barreled Report which appears to be designed to benefit the large Information Technology sector in the country has a narrow focus that of convergence in public and private sector on cyber security. The motive is laudable yet the proposals appear to be too infirm to facilitate development of capabilities in meeting the challenges in the cyber domain in real time. Some issues which need consideration are outlined as per succeeding paragraphs.

Given the express task to the National Security Adviser (NSA) Mr Shiv Shanker Menon by the Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh, the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) has been seized with this challenge for some time now. In response to a question by a media person on his return from the Non Aligned Meet (NAM) in Tehran the Prime Minister indicated, "I have been asking my NSA to zero in the gaps to find a viable policy to tackle the menace of cyber terrorism threat." Possibly the ambit includes all facets of threats emanating from the cyber domain and not just cyber terrorism.

Ms Vijay Latha Reddy the Deputy National Security Adviser is the point person for cyber security in the NSCS and has been the steering force behind the JWG. While the NSCS is an ideal medium for deliberations on important issues of national security, there are challenges it is likely to face in implementing proposals which essentially fall in the ambit of various ministries. The NSCS can at best push the envelope (files) for implementation yet it being a deliberative body has limitations in execution of the policy or even recommendations of its own report.

Thus there are serious concerns on this front and like many documents hitherto fore the JWG should not remain, “on paper”. Perhaps the issues which involve interests of private sector may get implemented given the vigor in this dimension, whereas when government institutions are involved ground for skepticism does exist.

The recommendations of the JWG Report are based on two seminal studies one by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and a second one by the industry bodies NASSCOM and Data Security  Council of India (DSCI).  Both these studies released in March 2012, have highlighted some of the key challenges faced by India in the cyber domain and recommended institutional and other mechanisms to overcome the same.

The pace at which changes take place today may have rendered assessment of threats by these reports somewhat dated. Evidence denotes a full fledged cyber war being waged between Iran on one hand and United States and Israel on the other. Attacks on Iranian nuclear and energy infrastructure by the now famous Stuxnet worm have been followed by Duqu, Flame and mini Flame. These have been allegedly carried out by state parties implying US and Israel. On the other hand Iran is being accused of targeting US banking infrastructure and oil companies in the Gulf. Some of these attacks were fairly common denial of service attacks; others have affected the infrastructure for days.

Will the JWG Report prepare us for these scenarios referred to by some as a, “cyber Pearl Harbour,” the answer is clearly no; neither the report is proposed to be so. May be there is a more expansive document in the government domain which will cater for all cyber threats, cyber war, crime, terrorism, espionage and privacy violations. A holistic assessment of threats and strategy to meet these challenges is necessary if we want to realistically face the cyber challenge.

More over a central coordinating agency for cyber security does not exist and but for the NSCS which as has been highlighted is not an executive body the diffused approach split in many ministries, with Information and Communication, Home Affairs and Defence being the principal ones is unlikely to produce quick results.

The differences as well as linkages between cyber and information and communication security have also to be highlighted. These are different domains and have to be addressed separately as well as holistically. The dimension of information threats to societal security spread through the cyber and communication networks is a different ball game altogether and actions in the computer security domain are not likely to prove of help in meeting such challenges.

One common factor in the two reports by IDSA and NASSCOM- DSCI was identification of the need for Cyber Command in the armed forces with defensive and offensive capabilities. Present capability for offensive cyber attacks is likely to be in the National Technical Research Organisation as per some reports. The effectiveness of these is not clear even as some countries ranging from the United States, Russia, China, Iran and Israel are already fielding offensive cyber forces. Raising such units with calibrated capabilities is hopefully under consideration though this may not be reflected in the open domain.

Suffice to say, the JWG Report is hopefully the first step in India’s cyber capability accretion and a concerted campaign to meet this ever expanding challenge has to be undertaken under a nodal executive agency at the earliest.

Related Tags


Article by Same Author

China’s Afghan Strategy: A Four Pronged Approach
Religious Radicalisation of Indian Youth a Concern
Security Imperatives of Indo Pakistan Dialogue
India China Border Stand Off - De-escalate, Delineate and Set Norms
BAT Actions on LOC: Tactics with Strategic Impact
Underlying BDCA Message – exercise restraint – Leadership to Military
India’s Defence Budget 2012-13: A Holistic Analysis
Challenges to India’s Regional Diplomacy
Three Simple Drills to Avoid Gaya Blasts
Indian Air Force: Wither Offensive Air Support in 1962
Kashmir Terrorism Uptick: Portends or Empty Threats?
US Confirms Pole Position in India’s Bilateral Relations
Legacy of Kayani Era: First Impressions?
India’s Bangladesh Dilemma Gets More Complex
Terrorism in India: Demand and Supply Dynamics
Defence allotments remain in estimated range
Pakistan Elections: Rush of the Fortune Seekers
Bhutan Elections: India Backs PDP’s Surprise Win
Is Pakistan Army Launching Operations in North Waziristan?
Nawaz continues to dither on top military appointments
Pakistan Prime Minister’s Ajmer Visit – A Review
Tracking South Asia Through the Decade
Karzai's India Visit: The Agenda
Smart Strategies For Defence Indigenisation
Pakistan Elections & Indo Pakistan Relations
France Emerging as Third Pole In Defence Co-Operation with India
PM Modi visit to Vikramaditya: Signaling Hard Power
India’s Defence Budget 2014-15 – Expect a 15 - 20 percent Hike
India’s Counter Naxal Security Strategy
Indigenisation of Capital Acquisitions
Pakistan Interior Minister’s Comments Subverts Indo Pakistan Relations
Talks With Rebels
Kidnapping in Iraq: Options for the Indian Government
Is Bangladesh On the Sights of Al Qaeda?
Trade versus Security – India’s China Dilemma?
Proactive Prevention of Corruption to Energize Defence Acquisitions
India in a Spot in Bangladesh
Ex Sudarshan Shakti – Integrated Theatre, Network Centricity
India Launches New Generation AGNI 4, Prepares for AGNI 5
Pakistan’s Coming Civil Military Standoff?
New Terror Networks Unravelled
NSCN IM Blames Government for Failure of Peace Talks
India Russia Defence Relations: Setbacks but Stable
Maldives Presidential Elections: Political Instability May Continue
Clinton’s South Asia Visit: Beyond Bonding with Mamata
India in SCO
India and the Emerging Eurasian Strategic Landscape
FDI in Defence: Jaitley Empowers Indian Defence Industry
Pakistan’s National Security Dilemma: Prioritising Internal Security

Y! MyWeb

Home | Security Trends South Asia | Security Issues South Asia | Top Stories | Publication  | Events | About Us | Contact Us | Disclaimer  | Privacy Policy
© Copyright of Security-risks 2015 All Rights Reserved Web Design India Internet
In case you come across any suspicious activity, any suspicious movement or have any information to tell to the Anti-Terror Squad, please take a note of the new ALL INDIA TOLL-FREE Terror Help-line "1090". Your city's Police or Anti-Terror squad will take action as quickly as possible. Remember that this single number 1090 is valid all over India. This is a toll free number and can be dialled from mobile phones also. Moreover, the identity of the caller will be kept a secret.

Please try to make aware each and every citizen of India about this facility.

BC is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is famed for its natural beauty.Vancouver is BC's largest city.