Cyber Security – CERTs, Policy, etc

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Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Basics of cyber security

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Digital India, NCIIPC, Defence Cyber Agency

Mains level: Cybersecurity and related issues


Growing threat of Cyberwarfare

  1. As “Digital India” grows, vulnerabilities of cyber warfare will only increase
  2. A 2017 study conducted by Symantec found that India ranked fourth in online security breaches, accounting for over 5 percent of global threat detections

Types of cyber threats

  1. Cyber crimes
  2. Cyber theft
  3. Cyber espionage
  4. Cyber intrusions

Measures taken to reduce such incidences

  1. Setting up of the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC)
  2. The appointment of a National Cyber Security Coordinator

Real danger for India

  1. The real danger to India lies in targeted cyber attacks coming from adversarial nation states
  2. Countries like China can bring immense assets to bear in carrying out sophisticated cyber attacks
  3. Cyber warfare is going to become a regular part of the arsenal of nations

National strategy to counter cyber threats

The three main components of any national strategy to counter cyber threats are defence, deterrence and exploitation

  1. Critical cyberinfrastructure needs to be defended and the establishment of the NCIIPC is a good step in this direction
  2. Deterrence in cyberspace is a hugely complex issue. Cyber warfare is characterized by an absence of clarity
  3. Cyber operations cannot be a standalone activity but integrated with land, sea and air operations, and a part of information warfare (exploitation)

Setting up of a Defence Cyber Agency

  1. India is one of the few countries which still does not have a dedicated cyber component in its military
  2. The setting up of a Defence Cyber Agency has been announced but this is a typical half-hearted step which characterizes our strategic planning process
  3. India will never achieve the full capability of fighting and defending in the cyberspace if this agency is hobbled by limited mandates and roles
  4. It would be instructive to take a leaf out of the US Cyber Command, which has one of its focus areas as “strengthening (the) nation’s ability to withstand and respond to cyber attack

Way forward

  1. We are still unclear about how a future cyberwar will play out but capabilities definitely exist, particularly with China
  2. It would be absurd not to prepare, and the military must be at the forefront of this preparation

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