Thursday, 26 June 2014

CYBER SECURITY - Need or Just An Apprehension ?

The World Wide Web consortium which is popularly known as Internet has added several new dimensions to the way computers are being used today. Due to over dependence on Information & Communication Technology in today’s globalised world, it has become imperative to protect citizens’ lives, and governmental institutions from the growing menace of cyber crimes. Thus, the term Cyber Security consists of two terms viz. Cyber, that is, the entire space of ICT and Security which means protection against any probable or perceived threat.
The core principles of cyber security can be identified as confidentiality, integrity and availability. Cyber security is the sum total of all activities and operations which are aimed at reduction and prevention of threat and vulnerabilities and having in place policies for protection, incidence response, data assurance, data recovery and much more. It has become a global menace. Nations around the globe are creating their cyber armies. The attackers could be hackers or terrorists or some spy men who could inflict severe damages to critical infrastructure like banking systems, air traffic control system, power infrastructure, gas pipelines. Their objectives could be anything ranging from shutting down the system, promote hatred, steal confidential data, gain access to the system, and manipulate data or simply espionage on the working of the governmental institutions.
The prolific use of internet for applications such as e-governance, e-Commerce, e-Banking, e-Learning etc. has made e-Security an important aspect of Computers and Networks. There is a need to consider cyber security as an essential component of national security. All stakeholders must foresee and plan for various challenges arising out of growth of internet and digitalization of governance. Consequently, National Cyber Security Policy, 2013 was unveiled by the government. The spate of incidents which has drawn the attention of policymakers includes attack by STUXNET VIRUS.  Although, its main target was Natanz Nuclear site in Iran but organizations across the world (including India) operating with Siemens suffered a collateral damage. FLAME VIRUS was also used for data gathering espionage.  Therefore, the key features as envisaged in this policy include: 
·         Creating a national level nodal agency coordinating the matters related to cyber security.
·         Ensure that all organizations keep aside some specific budget to implement security policies and initiatives.
·         Undertake and invest in various R&D programs in area of national cyber security.
·         A 24*7 operational national level computer emergency response team (CERT) which will handle all communication in cyber crisis situations. 
India’s major security concerns lay across its borders viz. China and Pakistan. Pakistan defaces Indian websites by writing derogatory messages against India since 2000-01. On the other hand, China has pledged to create best “informatised” army. The attacks and counter-attacks on governmental websites are a testimony to this fact.
Thus, to ensure the security of our nation, government, national security experts and industry catering to strategic sectors of the economy should come together. Companies must invest in putting cyber defence architecture. Government should create an environment within which the security is built into our cyber and communications working methods.
ICT thus poses many social, economic, and security related challenges. Consequently, lack of security in cyber space undermines confidence in information society. But, without the active cooperation and engagement between nations, it is doubtful that any country can protect all by itself.