Cyber Security – CERTs, Policy, etc

Forestalling the cyber threats India faces


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: CERT-In

Mains level: Paper 3- Identifying the cyber threat

The article highlights the threat of a cyber attack on India’s critical infrastructure and suggests the need to take preventive measures.

Targetting the infrastructure

  • The U.S.-based cyber security firm, Recorded Future revealed that the past blackout in Mumbai was linked to the cyber attack from China.
  • Recorded Future had also found an increase in malware attacks targeting the Indian government, defence organisations and the public sector.
  • Also that, coinciding with Chinese incursions in Eastern Ladakh, certain Indian power facilities had been targets of a cyber attack.
  • This indicates that India’s key infrastructure facilities, such as the power sector, are now in the crosshairs of a hostile China.
  • Indian government agencies, such as the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) needs to be on its guard.

Exploiting vulnerabilities

  • China’s cyber offensive is directed against many advanced nations as well.
  • In attempting this, what China is doing is essentially exploiting to perfection the many vulnerabilities that software companies (essentially those in the West), have deliberately left open (for offensive purposes at an opportune time).
  • Exploiting this loophole, and also turning matters on its head, it is companies in the western world that are now at the receiving end of such antics.
  • Chinese cyber espionage sets no limitations on targets.
  • Towards the end of 2020, and as the world prepared for large-scale deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, their attention was directed to vaccine distribution supply chains around the world.

Way forward

  •  Nations should beware and be warned about how cyber attacks can bring a nation to its knees.
  • This was well demonstrated way back in 2016 through a major attack on Ukraine’s power grid.
  • The Ukraine example should be a wake-up call for India and the world, as in the intervening five years, the sophistication of cyber attacks and the kind of malware available have become more advanced.
  • India, could well be blindsided by Chinese cyber attacks on critical infrastructure if the latter sets out to do so, unless prophylactic measures are taken in time.

Consider the question “Examine the threat posed by cyber attack on the critical information infrastructure? Suggest the ways to deal with it.”


Cyber’ could well be one of China’s main threat vectors employed against countries that do not fall in line with China’s world view. Drawing up a comprehensive cyber strategy, one that fully acknowledges the extent of the cyber threat from China, has thus become an imperative and immediate necessity.

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