The sad case of our cyber security
Three days gone and the website of the Central Bureau of Investigation is still down. When queried about the same, the answer was work was still on and more importantly the investigation was on in full swing.
It is an established fact that the hacking of the CBI website was the handi work of the Pakistan Cyber Army. Looking back at this attack there are many points that come to light and cyber security experts point out that the most disturbing of all the facts on the cyber security front is that the government of India is yet to notify a large number of sensitive websites as protected systems.
The amendment to the Information Technology Act made a provision for the government to notify all sensitive sites under it as protected systems. Under this provision, a mere attempt to access a protected system would invite a jail term of up to ten years. This would not deter a Pakistani from hacking the website under the classification of a protected system, but within the country the systems would be much more secure.
Pavan Duggal, an expert on cyber security tells rediff.com that most of the highly sensitive websites in India which are under the government ofIndia are not notified as protected systems. The IT act says that any person trying to even access the site under this category will imprisoned for ten years. The fact that the government has not done this despite the act being in place for nearly two years only speaks about the seriousness in fighting cyber crime.
The attack on the CBI site brought into question an important fact whether India has its own Cyber Army. India does have a set of ethical hackers who are meant to protect our systems. However there are a lot of issues that surround this and one ethical hacker who did not wish to be named pointed out the following problems that they face.<
He says that they do not enjoy the patronage of the government. The much needed security that they ought to have has not been provided by the government. This is in total contrast of the Pakistan Cyber Army which enjoys the complete patronage of both the Government and the ISI.
In addition to this some of the ethical hackers in India who were supposed to work for the government have complained about too much police interference. Very recently there was an incident in which the police had issued a couple of directions to the ethical hackers. These persons say that they were upset with this kind of interference and they should not be told how to go about their job. This kind of kills our motivation and we feel that our own system is against us. Our job requires precision and a lot of dedication and at times we would suo motu indicate the problems faced by the Indian systems. However there was not much reaction to this and we have been clearly told that we need to work when we are asked to work.<
Duggal points out that there are plenty of ethical hackers in India. However we do not have a cyber army in that sense of the word. It is high time that India thinks in that direction in order to act pro actively to protect our sovereign interests.
Look at the case of the CBI website. It has been four days and it is still not up when it should have been done in three hours time. The message we have sent out is loud and clear that we lack a pro active national cyber strategy on cyber crime. Moreover the Pakistanis have exploited our security loop holes and we are only showing how weak we are by undertaking the restoration process so late.
The Intelligence Bureau on the other hand has been constantly warning against such attacks. It has been more of a challenge this time, but there could well be a situation where our crucial data is accessed. A fully functional and dedicated cyber army is very much required and it should comprise IT professionals. It is more important that they constantly work towards securing our web sites than hack into systems of our neighbouring nations.
Meanwhile the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) says that it is developing a mechanism to make websites hack proof. The DRDO pointed out that cyber security is a major concern for national security and feels that they could develop hacking proof devices.
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