Can We Provide a Cyber Cavalry To Digital India?

India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is expected that we become the third largest economy, behind only the U.S and China, by 2030. It is believed that Information Technology and Communications industry is the backbone of the rising economies. The most compelling and enriching sectors of an economy including banking, railways, government organisations and research institutions rely heavily on the web connectivity provided by the telecommunication industry. Cyber connectivity and communication have become inevitable for the smooth functioning of any organization. As such, ensuring the security and privacy of cyber communications by protecting them from malicious spying and hacking attempts has never been more crucial than in recent times.

The state of cyber security forces in the country is although not in a satisfactory condition. The rumour of cyber breaching of the IRCTC website, one of the largest e-commerce portals in the country, had recently created a lot of uncertainty regarding this matter. The data of no less than a crore customers was at risk, if the rumours were found to true. It was news recently that some fraudsters had spoofed the email account of Binny Bansal, the CEO of  Flipkart and demanded transfer of money from the Chief Financial Officer(CFO) of the same company. Malicious or criminal attacks are believed to rise and become the most common cause for data breach in India. According to cyber experts, there is a 31% likelihood that Indian organizations would experience a data breach of 10,000 or more records over a period of two years. What this clearly shows is the quality of cyber security in the country and the need for serious improvement.

Recognizing this need for cyber security, many actions have been implemented by the Indian government. The Prime Minister’s office created the position of National Cyber Security Coordinator in 2014.Various organizations like National Technical Research Organization, the National Intelligence Grid and the National Information Board are also presently working on the cyber issues in collaboration with the government departments. India has also signed an MoU with the cyber security agencies of the U.K an year ago.

The solution to the problem of internet safety would include increasing the number of cyber security professionals in the country. The government can start by allocating a major sum for cyber security schemes every year. Short-term and long-term courses should be conducted for students and IT professionals to gain the necessary skills to protect our cyber-space from security breaches. These courses should be aimed at providing cyber security not only for government organisations, but also for the commoners who use mobile phones and internet every day. Only 1% of mobile phone users in India own a secure device like an iPhone. This puts almost all the mobile phone users in the country at risk as the remaining phones don’t offer much data security and are easy targets for spying. It is thus the need of the hour for the mobile phone users to be trained about information safety through the usage of strong passwords and other methods

In a country which has about 400 million internet and 1 billion mobile phone users, we definitely have a huge task ahead of us.

It is estimated that by 2025, about one million cyber security experts will be needed in India alone, generating an income of around $32 million. The current number is 62,000 and there is definitely a huge gap awaiting to be filled. A NASSCOM report, also suggests that there is a growing need for more entrepreneurs to venture into the untapped cyber security industry in the country. Cyber security consultancies will be one of the most in-demand sectors in the near future itself.

Our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi said, “I dream of a digital India where cyber security is a part of national security”. The dream is definitely being nurtured but at a snail’s pace. It is necessary to crank it up a notch, so that we can reach this goal sooner by providing the solid cavalry for a strong Digital India.

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