7th November 2019 : The Hindu Editorials Notes : Mains Sure Shot
Question – What is Cyber security and where does India stand in it?( 250 words)
Context – The recent Malware attacks.
What is cyberspace?
- The term was coined by William Gibson in his novel ‘Neuromancer’ in 1984.
- It is a domain that is characterised by the use of electronics and the electromagnetic spectrum to store, modify, and exchange data via networked systems and associated physical infrastructures.
- In effect, cyberspace can be thought of as the interconnection of human beings through computers and telecommunication, without regard or without being affected by physical geography.
- In the 1990s, the word ‘cyberspace’ emerged to define an invented physical space that some people wanted to believe existed behind the electronic activities of computing devices.
How is cyberspace different from the internet?
- Simply put, the internet is a set of computer networks that communicate using the internet protocol (an intranet) whereas cyberspace is a world of information through the internet.
Why in news?
- The increased instances of hacking and malware attacks for example, the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant was breached by malware, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) confirmed the breach. Similarly Whatsapp sued Israel-based NSO group for the use of its ‘Pegasus’ spyware on thousands of users.
What is cyber security?
- Cyber security refers to a body of technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorised access.
- It may also be referred to as information technology security.
Why is cyber security important?
- Central and State governments in India are increasingly transforming infrastructure and public services so that they are digitised and delivered via the internet and other electronic forms. For example, the state of Kerala is currently in the process of becoming a ‘digital state’ and moving all services from banking, citizen state communications, and everyday transactions to a digital platform. National projects range from shifting corporate transactions to e-format in order to reduce corporate fraud, to establishing one integrated database for governmental information from various departments.
- Though the shift to digital allows governments to be more transparent and efficient while allowing citizens and residents to register for government services, obtain and file government forms, apply for employment, it also allows for further expanded government collection and collation of personally identifiable data. With the increasing use of technology in government-to-citizens interactions it is important to ensure that when e-government projects are implemented, they adopt integrated schemes to maintain adequate privacy safeguards prior to collecting and using data. The government’s growing practice in collecting, retaining and managing personal data without adequate privacy protection in place, pose a wide range of privacy concerns such as data mining, profiling, function creep and inappropriate use of data.
Different types of cybercrime:
- Identity theft
- Cyber terrorism
- Cyberbullying and,
India’s cyber security challenges:
- There is lack of coordination among different government agencies. So, in spite of instituting a National Cyber Security Coordinator in 2014, the tussle between the National Technical Research Organisation (the nodal agency for cyber security) and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology impede coordination.
- Lack of National level architecture for Cyber-security – Critical infrastructure is owned by private sector, and the armed forces have their own fire-fighting agencies. However there is no national security architecture that unifies the efforts of all these agencies to be able to assess the nature of any threat and tackle them effectively.
- Lack of uniformity in devices used for internet access. With varying income groups in India, not everyone can afford expensive phones. In the US, Apple has over 44% market share. However, in India the iPhones with their higher security norms are used by less than 1% of mobile users.
- Lack of trained and qualified manpower to implement the counter measures.
- Lack of awareness and the culture of cyber security at individual as well as institutional levels. As there is no National regulatory policy in place for cyber-security there is a lack of awareness at both company level as well as individual level. Domestic netizens can protect and be protected from the cyber-attacks only if there is a guided and supervised legal framework.
- As Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Virtual reality & augmented reality, Internet of Things (IOT) will be the future, the government needs to invest more on these.
- There is a need to increase the number of cyber security experts and IT security auditors.
- The CERT-In should tie up with leading academic institutions to continuously engage in R&D on issues related to cyber security and cyber-space.
- There is a need for increased partnership of government and private sector since the majority of the country’s cyber resources are controlled by entities outside of the government.
- Indian agencies working after cyber security should also keep themselves aware and alert about the advancements made by the other countries and always be up to date and ready.
- The Supreme Court has declared privacy as a Fundamental Right so the government should design better privacy laws in the country must be enacted addressing the concerns regarding encroachment on citizens’ privacy and civil-liberties.
- Also the cyber security laws need to be continuously upgraded as new challenges emerge and technology gets more sophisticated.
Note – There is another article today on vaccine hesitation. It has been covered in detail. Refer to the editorial of 18th September.