“I dream of a Digital India where cyber security becomes an integral part of our national security. The world is so worried about cyber security. One click can change a lot of things,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the launch of Digital India Week on July 1, 2015.
In his recently concluded Digital India Mission in San Jose, USA, Modi opined on the importance of data privacy and security, intellectual property rights and cyber security. As human lives are getting more and more wired, nations like India and USA are extending robust cooperation by promoting digital economy and increasing global cyber-security. The involvement of big tech giants like Google, Microsoft, IBM and GE amongst others during Narendra Modi’s recently concluded US trip lays down the perfect platform to discuss on issues of individual privacy, enterprise security and national security. As the world is going digital with every passing day, cyber security has to be at the heart of Digital India dream.
So what necessitates the need to address issues related to cyber-security in the wake of a Digital India under the flagship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi? In March 2015, few months before Digital India Week was launched, personal information of the Chief of army staff and 50,000 army officers was compromised. If national security can be put to such security risks, imagine how insecure is individual privacy in a wired world?
India currently has 319 million internet users and mobile internet users are projected to be in excess of 213 million by the end of 2015 (Intel South Asia). The number is massive and in the context of Digital India, netizens will have greater access to government information and e-government services. Cyber security landscape changes every six months and considering the way Digital India is growing, the country still has a long way to go in the fast evolving turf wars on cyber space supremacy.
Security advisors point towards the limited requisite IT and cyber security skills the country has to handle an ever-increasing Digital India. In a situation where cybercriminals are hacking every possible information with their intelligence, Indian cyber security professionals lack the required expertise and motivation to combat these individuals. In a wired world, political boundaries and distances do not matter because cyber-attacks can happen from anywhere and from any corner of the world.
So, how will Modi’s Digital India survive? The answer lies in “Make in India” cyber security tools and resource development. India has to,
- Develop a team of top-level experts who are skilled in five major areas of cyber security- Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond and Recover (Definition by NIST).
- Public and Private enterprises have to allocate larger budgets for cyber-security and invest in highly skilled cyber security professionals
- Public awareness to cyber security becomes necessary in the wake of a “Digital India.”. Smartphones are master spying devices and can be remotely controlled without the owner’s knowledge. With time, massive awareness programmes for citizens have to be conducted regularly in India
- Public Private Partnership (PPP) model should be encouraged to promote the digital wellness of the country. If information has no boundary, then there should be no boundary between public and private enterprises in the proliferation of digital literacy.
Security has to help create a new and bold Digital India.