Center Of Excellence (CoE) For Internet Of Things (IoT) In India

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why Indian Critical Infrastructure Are Vulnerable To Cyber Attacks?

In the present interconnected world, cyber security capabilities of India must be urgently developed. In fact, Indian critical infrastructure and cyber security challenges and issues have assumed so much significance that Indian government declared the establishment of National Critical Information Protection Centre (NCIPC) of India.

The best way to ensure critical infrastructure protection in India is to make it a part of national cyber security policy of India. Various cyber security issues of India must also be part of such cyber security policy of India. Further, besides energy, defense, transportation and telecommunication, the financial sector which includes banks and stock exchanges must be suitably protected in India. Unfortunately, till now cyber security challenges of India remain unredressed.

The reliance of consumers and businesses on the cyberspace and interconnected networks would continue to increase. Critical industries like electric, water, oil and natural gas, transportation, automotive, and aerospace are increasingly dependent upon Industrial Control Systems like Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA).

In fact, SCADA has become the new cyber attacks battlefield against India. An attack upon SCADA is essentially an attack upon the critical infrastructure of a nation. The SCADA systems may involve a human machine interface (HMI), a supervisory system managing the processes, remote terminal units (RTUs) interacting with the supervisory systems, programmable logic controller (PLCs) usable as field devices, etc.

Initially, running on proprietary control these have evolved with the availability of low-cost Internet Protocol (IP) devices, thus increasing the possibility of cyber security vulnerabilities and incidents.

The arrival of technology and augmented accessibility of broadband connectivity together with smart phones have eased the way in which consumer interacts and transacts online. Moreover, with the mass use of e-governance applications under the mission mode projects (MMPs) where citizen services are being provided online, human rights protection in cyberspace of digital citizens (netizens) must be ensured. This has resulted in the emergence of some very unique “Digital Issues” that were not available before the traditional governmental functioning.

Businesses are trying to cater this digital citizen by providing a whole host of applications operating at various platforms through various channels. Cyber security of these platforms, channels and applications are utmost important for the government and industry to ensure trust in the customer.

We must focus on the national cyber security elements- Framework, Machinery, Responsibility and Operations for all the critical information sectors like power, energy and finance. Suitable deliberations must take place with cyber security stakeholders of India on operating technologies like smart grid and industrial control system; the security and privacy imperatives of e-commerce, m-commerce and e-governance application and platforms. The cyber security ramifications at the global level must also be analysed. If Indian government is willing to protect t its critical infrastructures all these issues must be kept in mind.

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