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UPSC Civils Daily Mains Question 19th June-2021

The digital age not only brought a complete change in the way we view and experience the world but also raised the importance of cyber security. In this light discuss the need for a renovated cyber security strategy for India. (150 words)

Cyber Security refers to protecting cyber space including critical information infrastructure from attack, damage, misuse and economic espionage. Cyber security is a broad spectrum phrase and relates to preventing any form of unauthorized and malafide access to a personal computer, a laptop, a smartphone or a major network like the national banking system or the railway network or a national information technology asset that also has military implications.

Need for a renovated cyber security strategy for India

With the vision of a trillion-dollar digital component, accounting for one-fifth of the $5-trillion national economy, the importance of cyberspace in India would only keep growing as Indians have taken to mobile broadband like fish to water, driven by affordable tariffs, low-cost smartphones and a spurt in availability of audio-visual content in Indian languages.

Financial services, payments, health services, etc are all connected to digital mediums; and thanks to Corona, this is expected to increase.

CERT-IN has recently issued an advisory that there is a threat of a massive phishing attack.

India was one of the few countries to launch a cybersecurity policy in 2013, not much has transpired in terms of a coordinated cyber approach.

  • Unlike the US, Singapore, and the UK where there is a single umbrella organization dealing in cybersecurity, India has 36 different central bodies—most ministries have their own—that deal with cyber issues, and each has a different reporting structure; each state government has its own CERT.
  • Add to this the fact that while the National Cyber Security Strategy 2020 was to devise a cyber readiness roadmap for organisations and the government for cyber-readiness, this is yet to be announced.
  • India is not even a signatory to some of the basic international frameworks on Cybersecurity like the Convention of Cybercrime of the Council of Europe which not only European nations but Japan, US, South Africa have become signatories to, except India.
  • Indian laws are not in tandem with the ever-changing global cyberspace.
  • The laws are old and hence need to be more dynamic in nature to deal with issues like cyber-espionage, data theft and so on.
  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) is the sole law that deals with cyberspace in India and was passed way back in 2000.
  • Also, the Cyber Law of India has been subject to amendments on various occasions but hasn’t served the changing dynamics and the growing threats and manifestations of cyberwar.
  • Government and the private sector jointly have to give cyber security some priority in their security and risk management plan.

 

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