DATA SECURITY COUNCIL OF INDIA (DSCI) REPORT ON CYBERSECURITY STRATEGY
Data Security Council of India (DSCI) has prepared a report to ensure a safe and vibrant cyberspace for India focussing on areas like large scale digitisation of public services, State-level cyber security etc
WHY DOES INDIA NEED A CYBERSECURITY STRATEGY
As per American cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks’ 2021 report
- Maharashtra was the most targeted State in India — facing 42% of all ransomware attacks
- India is among the more economically profitable regions for hacker groups and hence these hackers ask Indian firms to pay a ransom, usually using cryptocurrencies, in order to regain access to the data
- One in four Indian organisations suffered a ransomware attack in 2021. Indian organisations witnessed a 218% increase in ransomware — higher than the global average of 21%.
- Software and services (26%), capital goods (14%) and the public sector (9%) were among the most targeted sectors
Increase in such attacks has brought to light the urgent need for strengthening India’s cybersecurity
WHAT IS THE NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY STRATEGY
Conceptualised by the Data Security Council of India (DSCI), the 22-page report focuses on 21 areas to ensure a safe, secure, trusted, resilient, and vibrant cyberspace for India.
The main sectors of focus of the report are:-
- Large scale digitisation of public services: There needs to be a focus on security in the early stages of design in all digitisation initiatives and for developing institutional capability for assessment, evaluation, certification, and rating of core devices.
- Supply chain security: There should be robust monitoring and mapping of the supply chain of the Integrated circuits (ICT) and electronics products. Product testing and certification needs to be scaled up, and the country’s semiconductor design capabilities must be leveraged globally.
- Critical information infrastructure protection: The supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) security should be integrated with enterprise security. A repository of vulnerabilities should also be maintained.
- Digital payments: There should be mapping and modelling of devices and platform deployed, transacting entities, payment flows, interfaces and data exchange as well as threat research and sharing of threat intelligence.
- State-level cyber security: State-level cybersecurity policies and guidelines for security architecture, operations, and governance need to be developed.
WHAT STEPS DOES THE REPORT SUGGEST
To implement cybersecurity in the above-listed focus areas, the report lists the following recommendations:
- A minimum allocation of 0.25% of the annual budget, which can be raised up to 1% has been recommended to be set aside for cyber security
- Setting up a Fund of Funds for cybersecurity and to provide Central funding to States to build capabilities in the same field
Research, innovation, skill-building and technology development
- Investing in modernisation and digitisation of ICTs, setting up a short and long term agenda for cyber security via outcome-based programs and providing investments in deep-tech cyber security innovation.
- Furthermore, a national framework should be devised in collaboration with institutions like the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and ISEA (Information Security Education and Awareness) to provide global professional certifications in security
- Create a ‘cyber security services’ with cadre chosen from the Indian Engineering Services
Crisis management: For adequate preparation to handle crisis, the DSCI recommends holding cybersecurity drills which include real-life scenarios with their ramifications. In critical sectors, simulation exercises for cross-border scenarios must be held on an inter-country basis
Cyber insurance: Cyber insurance being a yet to be researched field, must have an actuarial science to address cybersecurity risks in business and technology scenarios as well as calculate threat exposures. The DSCI recommends developing cyber insurance products for critical information infrastructure and to quantify the risks involving them
Cyber diplomacy: Cyber diplomacy plays a huge role in shaping India’s global relations. To further better diplomacy, the government should promote brand India as a responsible player in cyber security and also create ‘cyber envoys’ for the key countries/regions.
Cybercrime investigation: With the increase in cybercrime across the world, the report recommends unburdening the judicial system by creating laws to resolve spamming and fake news. It also suggests charting a five-year roadmap factoring possible technology transformation, setting up exclusive courts to deal with cybercrimes and remove backlog of cybercrimes by increasing centres providing opinion related to digital evidence under section 79A of the IT act.