Why Cyber Security should be Digital India’s foremost priority

Digital India's Cyber Security Landscape

The internet is no longer a prerogative of the well-to-do. With reducing data charges and a greater outreach, the internet has made its way to the remotest corners of India and the world as a whole. While digital connections have enabled individuals and organizations to straddle wider expanses in a shorter span of time, the digital paradox is the genesis of this same internet as a countervailing force that’s limiting its potential. Wondering what this countervailing force is? Cyber crimes! The widespread penetration of the internet and the availability of the massive loads of personal and confidential data in digital form has given cyber conmen greater leeway to utilize their unscrupulous intelligence to execute more sophisticated cyber crimes.

The Progress towards a “Digital India” – India’s Digital Saga

Our honorable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has always been a strong advocate of a “Digital India”. He has implemented several steps for a digitally progressive nation. The Indian digital saga is bejeweled by a number of lucrative ventures and success stories. For instance, India’s teledensity now stands at 82.93% as per latest updated figures and the rural teledensity has also shown a remarkable increase to 50.63%. The Government is aggressively working towards providing high-speed internet connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats through Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) to fuel the dream of a ‘Digitally Connected & Empowered India’. To provide internet access to all citizens, BSNL is installing Wifi hotspots at several important public places such as the Taj Mahal, Haridwar, Sun Temple (Konark), Ajmer-Dargah Shareef and much more.

While there have several instances of Luddites and others harboring regressive mentalities bad-mouthing such digital initiatives, this was the much-needed step to put India in the global limelight in terms of digital evolution. However, a digitally progressive nation also calls for robust digital security. After all, the most digitally advanced nations are often the victims of the gravest cyber crimes. And being the country with one of the world’s swiftest growing population and economy, India needs to position itself in a way that it is able to effectively combat all attempts of attack, espionage, and sabotage of critical digital networks. Thus, the steps towards digitization must be taken in unison with the necessary steps to predict, mitigate and prevent cyber crimes and cyber threats. And the onus of maintaining digital security not just rests on the leaders spearheading the nation or those running an organization but on every individual who is a part of this digital world.

The Indian Cyber Security Status

Ever since its digital transformation has gained pace, India has been at the epicenter of cyber attacks executed by cybercriminals, hacktivists and mostly non-state actors. As per Cherian Samuel, a Research Fellow in the Strategic Technologies Centre at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, such non-state actors who have the support of the usual suspects have been largely found to be involved in cyber espionage by breaking into government networks while the all-time cybercriminals are being nurtured by the ever-increasing Indian Digital landscape. He has also found that Indian networks are being increasingly targeted by ‘patriotic hackers’ and hacktivists who are a part of the larger anonymous arsenal of hackers.

The year 2017 witnessed an all-time high of cyber attacks and frauds faced by Indian companies, according to the Global Fraud and Risk Report from Kroll. Due to the high value of personally identifiable information (PII), e-commerce and banking sectors have worse-hit by such cyber attacks. Ransomware is a major concern for India, especially the Indian Government, as they are often the hapless victims of cyber criminals who steal important passwords and take control of devices.

The recent uproar about the possibility of the biometric details of scores of citizens falling into the hands of private parties left the entire nation in a state of shock. Although the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has refuted such claims of data breach made by a media house, this public panic has led them to implement stronger firewalls such as virtual IDs and face recognition for the sake of data protection.

The most common instances of cyber attacks at organizations have been found to be email-based phishing attacks and then virus/worm attacks. A recent survey shows that the three most common targets for cyber criminals are customer records, employee records, and trade secrets. Compared to the 57% worldwide figure, about 80% Indian respondents said they felt themselves vulnerable to email-based phishing attacks, with other major cybersecurity concerns being data deletion, data alteration and virus/worm attacks.

Beware – The Cyber World is watching you

“Cybercriminals attacked the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website, one of the largest government site in India, and around 10 million customer records were compromised from its server.”

“Binny Bansal, CEO of Flipkart, had his email account spoofed by cyber conmen, resulting in the sending of two emails to the Chief Financial Officer that demanded a transfer of $80,000.”

“The website of Canara Bank fell prey to a cyber criminal who defaced the site by blocking some of its payments services and adding a malicious page on the site.”

The number of worldwide Internet cyber attack traffic directed to India was 6.7 million for the 1st quarter of 2017.

India ranked highest in the world in the share of users attacked with ransomware from 2015-2016.

India ranked 5th in the world in the number of affected by business email compromise (BEC) in 2016.

If the above headlines pertaining to the rising menace of cyber crimes in India do ring an alarm in your head, then it is imperative that you as an individual or an organization should make a conscious effort to increase cyber awareness and arm yourself efficiently to prevent it from harming your reputation and business.

What constitutes a Cyber Crime?

  • Damaging computer source documents – Section 65 IT Act
  • Electronic publication/transmission of obscene content – Section 67 IT Act
  • Violation of privacy/confidentiality – Section 72 IT Act
  • False publishing of Digital Signature Certificate – Section 73 IT Act
  • Obtaining Digital Signature Certificate or license by falsification/suppression of fact – Section 71 IT Act)
  • Any loss/damage to computer utility/resource – Section 66 (1) IT Act
  • Unethical Hacking – Section 66 (2) IT Act
  • Inability to comply with the orders of Certifying Authority – Section 68 I T Act
  • Any illicit access or attempt to access a protected computer system – Section 70 IT Act
  • Failure to help in decrypting any information as intercepted by a Govt Agency – Section 69 IT Act

Busting Cyber Crimes with Incognito Forensic Foundation (IFF) Lab’s Cyber and Digital Forensic Services

Incognito Forensic Foundation has years of experience in assisting organizations to reinforce their data security by predicting and mitigating cyber crimes. Our digital forensic experts leverage their technical and analytical skills to protect business-critical data from illicit disclosure, use, and access.

Our holistic approach to addressing vulnerability involves a thorough and methodological analysis of the actions of competitive organizations that help us identify potential cyber threats. Our sound analysis of images, sound, and other data helps us quickly identify and respond to data leakage or other unauthorized actions.

Our experience of having worked with enterprises in a wide range of sectors has enabled us to keep ourselves up to date with the latest methods and types of cyber attacks. This provides us with the acumen to predict the vulnerability of your organization and providing you with bespoke solutions to evade such risks, as well as remedying measures in the event of an attack.

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