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Cyber Security: Need of the Hour

Internet services started in India in late 1990s, internet now plays an imperative role in the society. In this contemporary phase amid the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus where everyone and everything is going online and digitalization is becoming crucial, it is pertinent to have strong cyber laws to ensure the security of our data. According to the U.S. research report of 2015, the meaning of Armed conflict does not only incorporate bombs, bullets or the use of armed forces but it also encompasses Cyber warfare, which raises concerns of the cyber security. After the conflict that occurred at the Line of Actual Control, the Indian government has taken various methods to keep a check over the threats that China could impose upon us.


A TIMELINE OF CYBER-ATTACKS ACROSS THE GLOBE

Cyber-attacks are referred as cyber warfare in simple words it can be defined as a computer-based attack by one country to another country, cyber attacks can also be executed by hackers and terrorist groups to diminish or to wipe out the government or the economy of any particular country [1]. Numerous cases of cyber-attacks have been registered across the globe since the internet gained momentum.


Countries like South Korea and Ukraine had faced some of the worst cyber-attacks in the year 2013 and 2015 respectively. Three major banks and two news channels of South Korea were cyber-attacked by North Korea, due to which South Korea had to go through a loss of 750 million U.S dollars. In 2015, Russia attacked Ukraine and disabled their power grid just two days before Christmas. Also, Target the second largest US discount retail chain was targeted in the year 2013, the hackers hijacked data of 110 million customers including their personal and banking details.[2]


Recently, Australia has also claimed of a cyber-attack against them, many governmental as well as private services has been attacked, this attack has also affected their banking and health sector adversely [3]. Hence, it can be seen that cyber-attacks are actually a major threat to the nations, it is a powerful weapon which can either activate or deactivate the defence system or the nuclear system of any country, it can destroy the economy of the country and can devastate its government.


INDIA-CHINA CONFLICT IN RELATION WITH CYBER SECURITY

In today’s world cyber warfare is a major threat against the security of any country, also according to the Global information security survey,2018, India was ranked second in terms of targeted cyber-attacks. As a response to this threat Indian government by using its powers vested in Section 69A of the Information Technology Act and IT Rules, 2009, has imposed a ban on 59 Chinese applications, before the execution of this ban the Indian government consulted Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Home ministry and Cyber Crime coordination center.


Section 69A of the Information Technology act, 2000, is an exception to the secrecy of the information and the general rule of maintenance of privacy, it says that if in the interest of the sovereignty of India, defense of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, for investigation of any offence or for the prevention of incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence as mentioned above, the government can then in such situations put a ban upon the access of any application.[4]


Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in a press statement said that these applications were compromising the security of the nation the ministry also added that many complaints against these applications were registered before, in these complaints it was said that these applications are using the data of the user in an unauthorized manner. Indian cyber-crime coordination center and Home ministry had given many recommendations to block all these applications before. All these applications had Data mining in common, which means stealing of user’s data, all these applications were dangerous towards national security, privacy and data of the user [5]. The government consequentially now would command department of telecom to ask all the internet service providers to block the IP address and access to these applications in India.


Moreover, Cyber Intelligence firm (CYFIRMA) has indicated towards the point that Chinese hackers are looking forward to attack some of the biggest agencies of India. Cyber Intelligence firm in their report has claimed that a hitlist to attack a few companies and agencies has been prepared by Chinese hacker forum, many media agencies, private companies, defence ministry and foreign ministry of India is also listed in this hitlist. [6]


PROVISIONS IN INDIA TO COMPETE AGAINST CYBER-ATTACKS

The Information technology Act, 2000, is an effective act which deals with the matters related to such computer-based attacks and breaches, it deals with hacking of computers, if computer documents are tempered then also this act comes into force, in combating cyber-terrorism. It has all the provisions which can resolve and deal with the concerns related to cyber-security and cyber-crimes [7]. National cyber policy came in 2013, to control the secure cyber ecosystem, National Computer Emergency Response Team was formed and it is a nodal agency, it is responsible for taking measures in in emergency situations and to maintain a record.


National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre was made to protect the critical information it is another nodal agency, it takes care of the security-based information of the country. Keeping in mind the security of our country the government banned fifty-nine Chinese applications. Now, after the imposition of a ban upon these applications it is directly going to affect the evaluation of some big Chinese companies such as Alibaba, TenCent and Baidu.


Also a demand for creating an Integrated cyber command has been there from a long time in the country, most of the countries today have a group of cyber experts who look into such matters, India currently does not have any preparation like this, Indian although is going to bring a new cyber-security guideline soon.


CONCLUSION

As a response to the jostle that took place in the Galwan valley, India banned fifty-nine Chinese applications and stopped the import and export of the goods. The ban on these applications was the need of the hour because all these applications were fetching the data of their users resulting to data mining and being a threat to cyber-security and the privacy of the user’s identity and data. It is evident that China has always been on the top when it comes to cyber-attacks and cyber-attacks are required to be treated crucially as it can devastate the economy of the whole country.


After the ban imposed on these applications by the Indian government China has been making various attempts to tamper the data of several private and government owned agencies of India, because the ban has potentially decreased the evaluation of big Chinese companies, also TikTok, which had its thirty percent Indian-based users had suffered massively. India is well-versed with all the necessary provisions that are required to delve with the contemporary situation still there is a great need for maintaining a team of ethical hackers, who would work for the government and assist the Indian government in sensitive and important matters like these.


REFERENCES

1) Kevin Ferguson, What is Cyberwarfare, Tech target (visited on July 28, 7:38 am) https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/cyberwarfare?amp=1

2) Id.

3) TOP 10 of the world's largest cyber attacks, and how to prevent them, Outpost 24 (visited on July 28, 9:22) https://outpost24.com/blog/top-10-of-the-world-biggest-cyberattacks

4) Information Technology Act and IT Rules, 2009, Section 69A.

5) Devina Sengupta & Anandita Singh Mankotia, India steps up vigil for Cyber Attacks from China after apps ban, Economic times, (Published on July 1, 2020) (Visited on July 28, 8:32 am) https://m.economictimes.com/tech/internet/india-steps-up-vigil-for-cyber-attacks-from-china-after-apps-ban/amp_articleshow/76710580.cms#referrer=https://www.google.com

6) Cyber security in India, Lexology (Visited on July 28, 8:59 am) https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspxg=4cd0bdb1-da7d-4a04-bd9c-30881dd3eadf

7) Information Technology Act, 2000


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This blog has been authored by Harshita Verma who is a 2nd Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) student at Delhi Metropolitan Education, IP University, Delhi.


[PUBLICATION NO. TLG_BLOG_20_5904]

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