To alert federal authorities to ramp up cyber-security measures in the country, policy think-tanks in the technology sector have reached out to the National Security Council of India, calling for urgent measures to tackle potential internet threats leading to data exploitation within or outside the country, the media reported on Thursday.
The National Security Council of India (NSA) is the federal agency that advises the Prime Minister on matters of national security and strategic interest.
In a written note, experts urged the NSA to explore improvised ways of implementing end-to-end encryption on devices and services along with working on tighter norms on breach disclosure.
Besides, the note also highlighted the use of open-source software as a recommendation to tighten India’s grip on online security.
Open-source software works after unique source code is released under a legal license that only entitles the copyright holder the right to access, modify and circulate the software. The use of an open-source browser would allow the easy traceability of any infectious malware that could pose a danger to India’s web ecosystem.
Currently, India has nearly 500 million monthly active internet users, a number that is bound to escalate in the coming years. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constant push towards making India digitally-enabled, both government and citizens are embracing multi-functional web technologies. This widens the array of cyber-security threats that now surround India.
In April 2018, media reported that nearly ten official government websites, including those of the Federal Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home Affairs, were hacked, showing Mandarin characters, indicating the involvement of Chinese hackers or China’s involvement in the hack-attack.
In September and November 2019, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant were attacked by cyberspies in a bid to extract internal information.
India’s federal Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad revealed that over 300,000 cyber breaches including phishing, network scanning and virus attacks were tracked on the civilian front alone.
From over 50,000 in 2016 to over 315,000 in 2019, cyber-attacks have increased multi-fold in the country.
India’s federal government now plans to pass legislation to classify information as personal, sensitive or critical, restrict cross-border data transfer and require data storage within the country.