500% increase in cyber attacks in India during pandemic

India's Cybersecurity Co-ordinator says its new strategy will holistically cover the entire ecosystem of cyber space in the country.

The Indian government is expected to release a new cybersecurity strategy this year Lt. Gen. (Dr) Rajesh Pant, National Cybersecurity Coordinator, Prime Minister’s Office, Government of India has said.

Speaking at an event organised by the Public Affairs Forum of India he said the strategy would holistically cover the entire ecosystem of cyber space in India.

“The vision of this strategy is to ensure safe, secure, resilient, vibrant, and trusted cyber space,” he said. "The new strategy will serve as a guideline to tackle every aspect, whether it is governance or data as a national resource, or building indigenous capabilities or cyber audit, to name a few. There are about 80 odd deliverables coming out of this new strategy,” he added.

Lt. Gen. Pant added the: “The pandemic has increased cyber crimes in India by 500 per cent and India is one of the top three attacked countries in the world as far as cyber attacks are concerned.”

The Indian government has recently connected 1.5 lakh gram panchayats through optical fibre network, thereby increasing the country’s internet connectivity, which in turns means the risk of more attacks. There are also emerging threats from the proliferation of other new technologies such as drones and IoT devices. To ensure a safe, secure and trusted cyberspace, the government has taken a series of initiatives.

“Cybercrimes are increasing. Attribution is the difficult part and now (cyber criminals) they have started taking advantage of dark web and the pandemic gave the perfect storm to the cyber criminals," India's Prime Minister said in 2020.

Highlighting the Prime Minister’s focus on the importance of cyber security, Lt. Gen. Pant said that, “the government has a good framework in place. From 2013 to 2021, the threat surface changed and pandemic and work-from-home has exponentially expanded the threat surface. Cyber security, from the government of India perspective, has become an essential service."

Lt. Gen Pant added: “While other nations have created a black-list of companies that cannot operate in the country, India is the only nation to create a white-list of telecom companies that are allowed to operate in India. The companies allowed must be a trusted source. We were able to create and launch the trusted telecom portal during the pandemic and within six months.”

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