Taking on hackers: India plans cyber security centre

cybersecurityStepping up efforts to tackle the surge of cyber attacks on the government and other sensitive establishments, India’s government is expected to set up a cyber security centre to provide real-time assessment of cyber security threats and an integrated national plan to tackle them.

The National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) will facilitate a more robust cyber security arrangement that provides defence for key national Indian computer networks.   The NCCC will work with agencies like the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) to develop a holistic defence system that addresses cyber threats pro-actively. Setting up the NCCC is projected to cost over $ 190 billion. It will be a multi-agency body under Department of Electronics and IT.

“The NCCC will collect, integrate and scan [Internet] traffic data from different gateway routers of major ISPs at a centralised location for analysis, international gateway traffic and domestic traffic will be aggregated separately … The NCCC will facilitate real-time assessment of cyber security threats in the country and generate actionable reports/alerts for proactive actions by the concerned agencies,” says a government note, cited by a Hindustan Times report.

This purported liberal scope of the NCCC has raised concerns that operations would mean all internet accounts, even those on social media platforms, would be subject to the federal internet scanning agency.

The extent of vulnerability of India’s cyber systems were made evident by the recent hacking of the National Informatics Centre (NIC), an agency which provides network support for all central government officials as well as websites for various ministries and projects. The government is also sensitive to cyber attacks after revelations that the US National Security Agency spied on the BJP, the opposition party which now leads the ruling coalition, in 2010. According to a government survey, in 2013, there were over 780 attacks that damaged sensitive computers across 88 cities and over 350 hacking attempts on sensitive computer systems. India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval has voiced concerns over these cyber attacks.

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