The advent of initiatives such as Digital India and Smart City has brought about a paradigm shift in connectivity, services and threats in urban and rural areas. While greater connectivity promises wider deliverables, it also paves the way for the emergence of new vulnerabilities. Several leading companies in energy, telecommunications, finance, transportation and other sectors are targeted by new-age cyber criminals/adversaries.
The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), in a report on cyber security, had warned of system failures across India due to cyberattacks against critical infrastructure. As per CERT-IN, one cybercrime was reported every 10 minutes in India during 2017. As alarming as it may sound today, but in the future, with 5G and IoT, on which AI will ride as part of economic nerves system of a country in war and peace (or we will be under permanent “peace-in-war”), these threats will be like walk in a garden. We can no longer be in a delusion that cyber security threats dwell exclusively in abstract cyberspaces or software. Hardware can be seriously compromised (for e.g., Super Micro motherboard hacking of Apple, a Bloomberg story).
China and PLA believe that AI will fundamentally change the character of warfare, resulting in a transformation from today’s informatized warfare to future intelligentized warfare. A RAND study adds that China is preparing for systems destruction warfare, in which wars will be won by the belligerent that can disrupt, paralyze or destroy the operational capability of the operational system of the enemies, which includes sabotaging a country’s cybersecurity infrastructure.
Now, work is required to be done in defining a Public Private Partnerships to develop a cyber security framework with participation of all national security players, owners/entities and regulators of critical infrastructure, Indian industry and innovation ecosystem to create intelligentized products. As internet is world wide web, with a wall at the gate of China, Team India needs to define and develop its cyber defence in partnership with global friends. In true “Make-in-India” spirit, given the Indian competitive advantages, it will be a win-win for all.
The Make in India initiative has identified 25 core sectors as part of its effort to give a special thrust. While cyber security is not one of the sectors, it could be embedded in certain sectors like — defence manufacturing, electronic systems, and IT and BPM. Make-in-India on cyber security and development of indigenous solutions to fight combat cyber-crime is the only way to create a viable “cyber defence” for India.
In today’s times, traditional methods of cybersecurity are inadequate to combat cybercrimes. Hence, there is a need to devise mechanisms which are proactive in nature and help in identifying and preventing cybercrimes/ cyber warfare.
The FICCI-EY report on ‘Innovation led cybercrime management’ (http://www.ficci.in/publication.asp?spid=23113) delves into the strategies to confront new-age cyber-criminals with effective strategy for cybercrime management. I am confident that this report will be of considerable value to all the stakeholders in managing the threats in cyberspace which affect everyone.
The author is Chair, FICCI Committee on Homeland Security.