- Why does India need to upgrade its Cyber Security policies?
- How can Citizens Help Combat Cyber Attacks?
This Independence Day, citizens of India did not wake up to a usual political speech that quotes about world peace, how the country is putting its best foot forward to battle COVID crisis or communal clashes. The Prime Minister spoke that the government would soon unveil a new cybersecurity policy. He quoted:
“Within next 1000 days, over 6 lakh villages will be connected with a fiber-optic network; we will soon unveil a new cybersecurity policy.”
This news might sound irrelevant to some, but spreading Cyber Security information is the need of an hour for a country whose dependence on cyberspace is increasing. Although India is one of the few nations to launch a Cyber Security policy in 2013, not much has transpired in terms of a coordinated cyber approach. So where are we lacking? Here are some of the reasons why India needs a new Cyber Security policy and that too right now.
Why does India need to upgrade its Cyber Security policies?
- Rapid Digitalization
A refreshed Digital India program is not just an initiative that will be connecting billions of people across the country. But it also plays a critical role in promoting social and economic equity by enhancing access for all to information and in overcoming the country’s infrastructure deficit.
However, the question is: are we ready for it?
Undoubtedly, there are a lot of benefits of digitalization and system motorizations. However; these come at the cost of heightened risk. Some companies are losing no time to digitize their networks and assets, yet they fail to find adequate security support. This act, in turn, widens the scope for hackers to move laterally through a company’s network.
Presently in India, as per a survey conducted by PWC, organizations have experienced 117% more incidents this year as compared to the previous one, increasing more than two times from 2,895 incidents to 6,284 incidents a year. That is perhaps the reason why the Prime Minister has stressed too much on Cyber Security information.
- Lack of skilled workforce
According to a survey by IBM, the current requirement for Cyber Security professionals in India is around 3 million, whereas the workforce is less than 0.1 million in India. With each passing day, a new complex cyber-attack increases the demand of the cybersecurity professional in the market to help professionals defend their businesses. Presently, India is staring at a massive Cyber Security professionals shortage. Moreover, with the increase in integration of embryonic technologies, such as cloud computing, IoT, and so on in wide-ranging processes is gradually leaving the conventional cybersecurity skills redundant.
So, all those who have been planning a career in Cyber Security, this the time to switch your profession.
- Awareness of Cyber Security information at a bare minimum
The main problem that India is facing is that the demand for Cyber Security professionals is less than the supply. To increase the number of Cyber Security professionals, it is essential to provide Cyber Security training, a kind of infrastructure that is lacking in India. Though many institutes are coming up with courses, all of them provide theatrical Cyber Security information, based on studies. There is less exposure to real-life industry trends and projects and the underlying dynamics, which could radically differ from one to another. Nevertheless, it is necessary to have a degree/diploma in Cyber Security to prepare yourself for a career where technology is changing rapidly.
- Usage of Outdated, Unpatched Software: A Weak Link
In India, cyber attacks in small and medium based businesses have been on the rise. As per a study by Accenture (in 2019), 43% of cyberattacks worldwide are aimed at SMBs. India has six crores SMBs that account for 30% of the GDP as per the Confederation of Indian Industry. And this contribution is likely to grow with the adoption of new technologies.
It is perhaps the reason why SMBs need a more cyber-secure environment, which they have been ignoring due to cost issues. And they do not understand the fact that having outdated antivirus software is somewhere like poisoning your business system and wreaking havoc on your security. Not only does it leave your data security vulnerable to hackers but also system failure. Moreover, outdated software is likely to remain more compatible with the latest operating systems.
- Urgent Need to Gear up Internet of Things (IoT) & Critical Infrastructure
The number of internet-connected devices and operational tools are poised to soar in the upcoming years, especially in critical infrastructures such as power, oil and gas, water treatment systems, and transportation are vital for national survival. Any interruption in these sectors can put a lot many lives at risk. To avoid any repercussions at a later stage that can be hazardous for everyone from businesses to government bodies, India needs to invest in R&D and develop skills for IoT & OT Security. It is also critical from a Digital India standpoint, which is a flagship programme of the Government of India that aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society.
How can Citizens Help Combat Cyber Attacks?
As per K7 Computing’s Cyber Threat Monitor Report, Chennai recorded the highest number of cyberattacks in the country in Q4FY20, with 42% infection rate (IR). Chennai is followed by Patna at 38% and Hyderabad, Kolkata and Bengaluru at 35% each. With such tremendous increases in the Cyberattacks, one must take all the necessary precautions at a basic level. While the government is doing its best to address the issues and, there are some precautionary measures that the Citizens of India can take to prevent Cyber Attacks. Some of them are as follows:
- Install reliable and reputable anti-virus software.
- Use devices with auto upgradations.
- Do not click on email attachments unless you know the source. Likewise, if you have received any social media invitation from the people you do not recognise, delete it instantly.
- Purchase software from a reputable source; never download and install an application from an unknown source.
- Keep on changing the software by using a unique combination of numbers, letters and case types.
- Install latest browsers like Mozilla, Edge, Chrome or Safari, as some older browsers may not support anti-virus, and thus, are more vulnerable to attacks.
The number of cyberattacks is increasing. This is the main reason why a lot many companies are looking for skilled professionals. But, the availability of a skilled workforce does not live up to the demand in the industry. The Data Security Council of India shared data saying that India needs around 1 million cybersecurity professionals.
The industry is immense, but to secure a career in it, one needs to have proper knowledge of fundamentals. For this, it will be ideal to enrol for the Stanford Advanced Computer Security Program to gain skills recognised with a certificate from the Stanford Center for Professional Development. Send your queries at firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will get in touch with you as soon as possible.
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