A Report from Securing Cyber Space – 2017 organised at India International Center, New Delhi
On 14th & 15th July, India International Center was abuzz with people keen to hear government officials and delegates on policies and current state of cyber ecosystem in India. The occasion was the opening of a two day conclave on Securing Cyber Space -2017, the first run-up event to Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS). MoS Electronics & IT PP Chaudhary inaugurated the event and shared the vision outlined by PM Modi for a digital India. MoS PP Chaudhary’s Global Conference on Cyber Space, an international event that focuses on state of cyber ecosystem globally, will be held in India on 23rd and 24th Nov 2017. The Global Conference on Cyberspace (GCCS) aims to deliberate on the issues related to promotion of cooperation in cyberspace, norms for responsible behavior in cyberspace and to enhance cyber capacity building. Ministerial delegates from more than 50 countries and two thousand delegates from more than hundred countries will join the conference. The magnitude of the event makes it the biggest edition in the six year history, since its inception in 2011. Ministry of electronics and Information Technology, Digital India & National e-Governance Division has left no stone unturned to ensure that this mega event attracts the attention of the stakeholders from the ecosystem across the globe.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Digital India has not only introduced millions of Indians to digital world but has also made them more aware about various schemes launched by the government. PM Modi’s vision of empowering Indian economy through creative use of technology has created lasting impact on youth and old alike. For the first time in the history of modern India, Indians feel empowered and can engage in dialogues with their representatives. The adoption of Digital India is not just limited to cities but also to remote villages which have experienced a communication and identity vacuum since independence. A testimony to the growing and transparent digital India is the fact that India has climbed up 11 positions in United Nation’s e-governance index since 2014 and there been a whopping three fold growth in e-governance transactions per day.
The Conclave was organized by Policy Perspectives Foundation led by former Intelligence Bureau chief PC Haldar & Cyber Peace Foundation led by Vineet Kumar. MoS Electronics & IT PP Chaudhary said “Cyber Security is the need of the hour because the entire globe is boundary-less”. He emphasized on the role of collaboration between nartions on strengthening cyber security. Cyber security, he said, cannot be responsibility of a single identity. It is larger issue and academia, policy makers and civil society must unite to strengthen the ecosystem. The MoS also cited the need of high speed internet connectivity to connect 250,000 gram panchayats for effective and prompt e-governance. Transitioning to inclusion which has been one of key pillars of Modi government he said financial inclusion requires strong cyber security so that the stakeholders and users are assured of it’s seamless and secure functioning. He addressed the social aspects of cyberspace by stressing on strict law enforcements to combat extremism and hate speeches. Referring to the recent hacking attacks, he said that it should be taken as an alarm and all the stakeholders should unite to ensure a secure cyber space. In his appeal to academia, think tanks, members of the civil society and policy makers he said that a collaborative effort will take us far in achieving the dream of Digital India.
Ranjit Lal, Director – National e-Governance Division addressed the opening by emphasizing on the goals of GCCS. The themes of GCCS this year are cyber for inclusion, cyber for security and cyber for diplomacy. He also encouraged the attendees to participate in the event and contribute to the event by sharing their ideas on the website. Mr Lal said that there are 15-20 run up events planned till 23rd Nov, 2017. These events will be in the form of B2B events, webinars and seminars. Dr Gulshan Rai, India’s first cyber security chief was also present at the occasion and started his keynote on by stating how hard it is in the current scenario, to predict the outcomes of technology given the rapid pace of its evolution. Dr Rai mentioned ‘Governance of Internet’ and ‘Governance on Internet’ are two different things but closely interconnected by the users that are audience in later and stakeholders in the former. He said, unlike nuclear where the term proliferation is rapidly used, control is used for cyber even though proliferation of offence tools has increased
Digital India promises inclusion on all the levels. Dr Ajay Kumar (IAS) Addl. Secretary Ministry of Electronics & IT told us that in addition to capacity building, many govt. schemes can be accessed digitally so and people have do spend hours standing in queues. To equip the new digital citizens of India, digital literacy programs are in place and from 2014-2016 alone 82.7 lacs candidates have been successfully trained in the under Digital Literacy. Dr Kumar also mentioned that content in regional languages is now available so that rural India doesn’t feel isolated when they log on to internet. Major services delivered through digital kiosks are voter ID card, utility bill payments, Aadhaar services, land records and numerous others that makes Digital India a combination of convenience and efficiency. GCCS could not be better timed. Since cyber is borderless, the nations must unite to combat and regulate the policies that ensures security and safety of citizens and businesses alike. While the corporation have deep pockets to spend on cyber security, the citizens rely on government and service providers to keep their internet life safe and secure. The conclave also focused on various aspects of digital life and conducted round tables on socio-tech issues such as safety of women and child. Ms Karnika Seth, a distinguished cyber lawyer at Supreme court of India who contributes regularly to forums and has authored a book titled “Protection of Children on Internet” shared how frequently she gets cases related to online abuse and the laws around it. Ruzan Khambata, who started Police HEART (Help Emergency Alert Rescue Terminal) a pilot project active in Ahmedabad uses technology that tracks your location and triggers immediate action from police.
Being borderless, once considered as the biggest virtue of internet now calls for more regulation and surveillance. Today, anybody with good or ill intent, can virtually travel at the speed of light halfway around the planet. For cyber criminals, this technology has been a boom, as they hop from one country to another virtually hacking their way in an effort to frustrate law enforcement agencies. This ability to country hop, one of internet’s greatest strength creates enormous jurisdictional and administrative problems for police and is often the main reason why cyber crime investigation is so challenging and often feckless. A police officer in New Delhi has no authority to make an arrest in a remote Chinese province. North Korea wasbeing linked to attacks on banks in 18 countries, according to a new report from Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky. The stolen money is likely being spent advancing North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons, according to two international security experts. These kind of cyber attacks present multiple dimensions of problems that sprout from them. Financial frauds and then using the money to fund terrorist outfits are some the issues that nations have to combat on a regular basis. Banks and security researchers have previously identified four similar cyber-heists attempted on financial institutions in Bangladesh, Ecuador, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Global financial and economic losses from the “WannaCry” attack that crippled computers in at least 150 countries could swell into the billions of dollars, making it one of the most damaging incidents involving so-called ransomware. Cyber risk modeling firm Cyence estimates the potential costs from the hack at $4 billion, while other groups predict losses would be in the hundreds of millions. The attack is likely to make 2017 the worst year for ransomare scams, in which hackers seize control of a company’s or organization’s computers and threaten to destroy data unless payment is made. In 2016, such schemes caused losses of $1.5 billion, according to market researcher Cybersecurity Ventures. That includes lost productivity and the cost of conducting forensic investigations and restoration of data, said Steve Morgan, founder and editor-in-Chief of Cybersecurity Ventures. In 2016 alone, cyber attacks against financial services cost consumers more than USD 10 Billion. Most of the times it is not the CIOs, Cyber Security Officers or other professionals who identify these attacks, it is most the angry consumers who draw attention of authorities to these mis-happenings. Cyber is now considered 5th domain of war (in addition to Land, Water, Sky & Space). As India is waking up this this Information revolution, it is important that we go prepared and geared to this unknown territory filled with cyber crime perpetrators and syndicates that are always on a look out for soft targets. Amidst, the challenges that this connected world pose to us, India hosting GCCS can be seen as a vote of trust from the world and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology should be applauded for this achievement.
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