EDEN IAS

CYBER SECURITY

WHAT IS CYBER SECURITY?

Introduction of Cyber Security

Cyber security can define as the protection of systems, networks and data in cyber space. It refers to the preventative methods use to protect information from being stolen, compromise & attack.

Cyber security is a complex issue that cuts across multiple domains and calls for multi-dimensional, multi-layered initiatives and responses. It has proved to be a challenge for governments because it involves various ministries and departments. It’s more difficult primarily due to be diffuse and vary nature of the threats and the inability to frame an adequate response in the absence of tangible perpetrators.

Advances in information and communication technologies have revolutionized the scientific, educational and commercial infrastructures developed by the government. The IT infrastructure has become an integral part of the critical infrastructure which supports national capabilities such as energy, power grids, telecommunications, emergency communication systems, financial systems, defence systems, space, transport, land-records, public essential services and utilities, law enforcement and security and air traffic control networks, to name a few. All these infrastructures increasingly depend on relay data for communication and commercial transactions.

The evolving nature of the telecommunications infrastructure poses further challenges. The expanding wireless connectivity to individual computers and networks is making determination of physical and logical boundaries of networks increasingly difficult.

KEY TERMS OF CYBER SECURITY

  • Phishing: it is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social websites, auction sites, banks, online payment processors, IT administrators commonly use to lure unsuspecting public.
  • Vishing (Voice Phishing): the term a combination of ‘voice’ and ‘phishing’. When phishing is done with the help of telephonic system, it’s called vishing.
  • Spoofing: A spoofing attack involves one program, system or website successfully masquerading as another by falsifying data and thereby being treated as a trusted system by a user or another program. The purpose of this is usually to fool programs, systems or users into revealing confidential information, such as user names and passwords, to the attacker.
  • Zombies: A zombie is a computer connected to the internet that has been compromised by the hacker, computer virus or trojan horse. It can be used to perform malicious tasks under remote direction. Botnets of zombie computers are often used to spread email span and launch denial-of-service attacks. Most owners of zombie computers are unaware that their system is being used in this way and that is the reason that these computers are metaphorically compared to zombies.
  • Botnets: It sometimes compromise computers whose security defences have been breached and control conceded to the third party. Each such compromised device, known as ‘bot’, is created when a computer is penetrated by software from a malware (malicious software) distribution. These attacks come in the form of bitcoin mining, sending spam e-mails, and DDoS attacks.
  • DDoS: The acronym stands for Distributed Denial of Service and is a favorite black hat tool. Using multiple hosts and users, hackers bombard a website with a tidal wave of request to such an extent that it locks up the system and forces it to temporarily shut down.
  • Malware: A portmanteau of “malicious” and “software”, describing a wide variety of bad software used to infect and/or damage a system. Ransomware, worms, viruses and trojans are all considered malware.
  • Man in the Middle attack: it is an attack where a middleman impersonates each endpoint and is thus able to manipulate both victims. Hackers who commit man in the middle attacks can break the Wi-Fi’s encryption and use this as a means of stealing your personal data because they’re now in the system.

CYBER WARFARE AND CYBER TERROR SECURITY

It is said that the future wars will not be like traditional wars which are fought on land, water or air. While there is no agreed definition of cyber warfare but ‘when any state initiates the use of internet based invisible force as an instrument of state policy to sabotage and espionage against another nation for disrupting their critical infrastructure, is called ‘cyber war’. It includes hacking of vital information, important web-pages, strategic controls and intelligence.

For instance, the Biden administration and western allies formally blamed china for a massive hack of Microsoft exchange email server software and assorted that criminal hackers associated with Chinese government have carried out ransomware and other illicit cyber operations. The broad range of cyber threats from Beijing included a ransomware attack from government affiliated hackers that targeted victims- including in the US- with demands for million of dollars. U.S officials also alleged that criminal contract hackers associated with china’s ministry of state security have engaged in cyber extortion schemes and theft for their own profit.

Whereas when an organization, working independently of a nation state, operates terrorist activities through the medium of cyber space, it is generally called cyber terror.

THREAT TO INDIA’S CYBER SPACE IN CYBER SECURITY

The future war will target crucial areas like:

  1. Defence installations
  2. Sensitive documents related to both internal and external security
  3. Communication networks, including satellites
  4. ATC management
  5. Railway traffic control
  6. Financial services
  7. Premier institute of science, technology and research
INITIATIVES TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT OF INDIA TO COUNTER CYBER SECURITY

In order to strengthen the mechanism to deal with cyber crimes in a comprehensive and coordinated manner, the central government has taken steps, which inter-alia, include the following:

  • The national cyber crime reporting portal has been launched, to enable the public to report incidents pertaining to all types of cyber-crimes with special focus on cyber -crimes against women and children. The incidents reported on this portal, their conversion into FIR’s and subsequent action thereon are handled by the state/UT law enforcement agencies (LEAs) concerned as per the provision of the law.
  • The massive open online courses (MOOC) platform, namely ‘CyTrain’ portal has been developed under the Indian cyber crime coordination center, for capacity building of police officers/judicial officers through online course on critical aspects of cyber crime investigation, forensics, prosecution etc. along with certification.
  • Ministry of home affairs has set up the ‘Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre’ (14C) to deal with all types of cyber crime in the country, in a coordinated and comprehensive manner.
  • The citizen Financial Cyber Fraud Reporting and management system, under 14C has been launched for immediate reporting of financial frauds and to stop siphoning off funds by the fraudsters. A toll-free helpline number ‘1930’ has been operationalized to get assistance in lodging online cyber complaints.
  • Ministry of home affairs has provided central assistance under ‘Assistance to states for modernization of police’ scheme to state governments for the acquisition of latest weaponry, training gadgets, advanced communication/forensic equipment, cyber policing equipment etc.
  • The crime and Criminal Tracking Network and system (CCNS) has been implemented in all the police stations of the country which would help in working towards outlining a uniform cyber strategy, real-time reporting of cyber-crimes, designing analytical tools and setting up a national network of forensic laboratories, ensuring cyber-hygiene, and spreading cyber-awareness to every citizen.
WAY FORWARD TO CYBER SECURITY
  • There must be efforts to bring some uniformity in the laws of all the countries made to counter digital crimes.
  • Keeping in mind the borderless nature of cybercrimes, we must put in place a response mechanism under different laws of the countries. Global cooperation in this area will help in harmonizing cyber security benchmarks, best practices and regulations.
  • There should be greater coordination among cyber agencies of all countries in reporting and action on cyber incidents.
  • Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT’s) must be strengthened to deal with emerging threats due to emerging technologies.
  • Time has come to build a ‘transparent and accountable AI and emerging technologies governance framework’ to ensure responsible use.
  • Given the rise in cyber crime involving digital currency, there is a need for a ‘dedicated common channel’ among the nations to prevent such financial irregularities.
  • There should be 24/7 cyber security mechanism in place for an effective ‘predictive-preventive-protective and recovery’
  • Cooperation in the investigation of cross-border cyber crimes through joint efforts to build a ‘peaceful, secure, deterrent and open’ information and communication technology environment is extremely necessary today.

Sources- The Hindu, PIB