India makes it to Top 10 in Global Cybersecurity Index 2020

Image Source: The National Bulletin

On Tuesday, the United Nations published its 202Image Source: The National Bulletin0 Cybersecurity Index report and ranked India 10th in the world. Ironically, the year 2020 marked the largest number of data breaches in India! Read on to understand the predicament.

What is cybersecurity?

According to the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU), cybersecurity is the collection of tools, policies, security concepts, security safeguards, guidelines, risk management approaches, actions, training, best practices, assurance and technologies that can be used to protect the cyber environment, organization and user’s assets. The general security objectives comprise the following:

  • availability
  • integrity, which may include authenticity and non-repudiation
  • confidentiality

ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI)

The GCI is a trusted tool that gauges the global commitment of countries around the world to cybersecurity in terms of raising awareness of the importance and different dimensions of the issue. GCI is built on five pillars:

  1. Legal Measures
  2. Technical Measures
  3. Organizational Measures
  4. Capacity Development, and
  5. Cooperation

The index ranks nations using 82 questions developed by a panel of experts.

World’s most secure nations

As per GCI 2020,

  1. US — Most secure nation
  2. UK
  3. Estonia
  4. South Korea, Singapore, Spain
  5. Russia, UAE, Malaysia
  6. Lithuania
  7. Japan
  8. Canada
  9. France
  10. India — improved its ranking and jumped up 37 places

India’s steps towards a resilient cybersecurity mechanism

  • Information Technology Act (IT) 2000 — primary law that deals with cyber-crime and digital commerce in India; covers a broad range of offences including child pornography, cyber terrorism etc.
  • CERT-In (Cyber Emergency Response Team — India), 2004 — national nodal agency that responds against computer security threats
  • National Cyber Security Policy, 2013 — provides the vision and strategic direction to protect the national cyberspace
  • National Cyber Security Coordination Centre (NCCC), 2017 — performs real-time threat assessment
  • Cyber Swachhta Kendra, 2017 — platform for users to analyze and clean their systems by removing various viruses, bots/ malware, Trojans, etc.
  • Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative, 2018 — aims to spread awareness about cybercrime and build the capacity of frontline IT staff across all government departments
  • Sandes Platform, 2020 — instant messaging platform like WhatsApp that ensures secure communication between users

Efforts ≠ Outcome?

India witnessed 93.1 million malware attacks at the beginning of 2020 and in February 2021- a year after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic- the number quadrupled to 377.5 million cyberattacks.

Image Source: Business Standard

Are Indians truly ‘cyber-safe’?

India does not have a specific legislation dealing with user data breach cases or penal actions relating to the same. The Personal Data Protection Bill, which is proposed to deal with such cases of data breaches, has been pending in the Lok Sabha since 2019. The lack of clear regulatory frameworks and policy execution impacts our country’s overall cyber hygiene.

Author’s opinion

With the world shifting to home-schooling, hybrid and work-from-home models, there is dire need for a national cybersecurity strategy that makes a citizen feel secure. India’s global ranking on certain parameters definitely doesn’t reflect the grim reality of digital India. Possessing the true potential of a global leader, India needs to address its ‘cyber truth’ and mitigate the damage- both economical and psychological, caused by cyberattacks.

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