Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sor: Ur­gent need to ad­dress risks from cy­berspace


In­dia’s Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sor Shivshankar Menon re­leased a report on the “Rec­om­men­da­tions of Joint Work­ing Group on En­gage­ment with Pri­vate Sec­tor on Cy­ber Se­cu­rity”, in New Delhi on Oc­to­ber 15, 2012. Mak­ing pub­lic the report, Menon said fac­ing the chal­lenges from cy­berspace re­quires both the government and in­dus­try to work to­gether; the government can­not do this alone nor can the pri­vate sec­tor do it on its own. He said it is a del­i­cate act, how to bal­ance so­cial me­dia re­spon­si­bil­ity with demo­cratic free­dom.

The Joint Work­ing Group ( JWG) was set up un­der the chair­per­son­ship of Latha Reddy, Deputy Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sor to work out the roadmap for en­gag­ing the pri­vate sec­tor in a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship (PPP) for strength­en­ing the cy­ber se­cu­rity ar­chi­tec­ture in the coun­try. It in­cluded rep­re­sen­ta­tives of both government and pri­vate sec­tor. Reddy said, the rec­om­men­da­tions are the out­come of ex­ten­sive and in-depth dis­cus­sions with the in­dus­try. She hoped that In­dia could emerge as a global hub for de­vel­op­ing cy­ber se­cu­rity prod­ucts.

In­dia’s cur­rent eco­nomic, so­cial and in­fra­struc­ture de­velop- ment process is mak­ing greater use of ICT for bring­ing trans­for­ma­tion. How­ever, this de­pen­dence on ICT makes the coun­try vul­ner­a­ble to cy­ber at­tacks that can have se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions for both, the na­tion and econ­omy. Given that the pri­vate sec­tor leads the devel­op­ment and adop­tion of ICT, a need was felt that the government and pri­vate sec­tor col­lab­o­rate and work to­gether to over­come the chal­lenges of cy­ber se­cu­rity.

The JWG has iden­ti­fied the prin­ci­ples and ob­jec­tives that would un­der­pin the over­all frame­work and roadmap for PPP on cy­ber se­cu­rity. It has rec­om­mended a “roadmap” for PPP on cy­ber se­cu­rity which in­cludes set­ting up of an in­sti­tu­tional frame­work, ca­pac­ity-build­ing in the area of cy­ber se­cu­rity, devel­op­ment of cy­ber se­cu­rity stan­dards and as­sur­ance mech­a­nisms, aug­men­ta­tion of test­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties for IT prod­ucts.

In­sti­tu­tional frame­work would in­clude set­ting of a per­ma­nent JWG, with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of government and pri­vate sec­tor, to co­or­di­nate and over­see the im­ple­men­ta­tion of PPP on cy­ber se­cu­rity. A Joint Com­mit­tee on In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion and Ad­vo­cacy ( JCICA) will ad­vise JWG in pro­mot­ing In­dia’s na­tional in­ter­ests at var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional fora on cy­ber se­cu­rity is­sues.

To take the col­lab­o­ra­tion ef­forts ahead, the report iden­ti­fies four pi­lot projects—set­ting up of a pi­lot test­ing lab, con­duct­ing a test au­dit, study of a sam­ple crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion in­fra­struc­ture and es­tab­lish­ment of a multi-dis­ci­plinary Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence (COE). The newly con­sti­tuted JWG would work out the ac­tion-plan for im­ple­men­ta­tion of the rec­om­men­da­tions. Some of the other key rec­om­men­da­tions of the JWG in­clude: • Cre­ation of In­for­ma­tion Shar­ing & Anal­y­sis Cen­tres (ISACs) in var­i­ous in­dus­try ver­ti­cals by the pri­vate sec­tor which should co­or­di­nate with sec­toral CERTs and CERT-In. • Pro­vide train­ing to law en­force­ment agen­cies (LEAs) in cy­ber crime in­ves­ti­ga­tion and cy­ber foren­sics by es­tab­lish­ing train­ing fa­cil­i­ties and de­vel­op­ing train­ing ma­te­ri­als & in­ves­ti­ga­tion man­u­als. • Pro­mo­tion and dis­sem­i­na­tion of cy­ber se­cu­rity aware­ness

among gen­eral pub­lic through mu­tual col­lab­o­ra­tion. • Es­tab­lish­ment of an ‘In­sti­tute of Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Pro­fes­sion­als of

In­dia’ for ca­pac­ity build­ing in se­cu­rity test­ing and au­dit­ing.

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