The country’s cyber security system is like an unguarded house waiting to be broken into, over and over again. And so fragile is the security apparatus, which protects crucial intelligence relating to the government systems, that the nation is fast turning out to be a sitting duck for espionage rings on the lookout for top secret information.
Consider this. A Chinese cyber espionage ring secretly dropped spear-phishing emails to random IDs used by the government departments on April 27. The document titled, ‘BJP won’t dump Modi for Nitish, NDA headed for split’ was too enticing to be ignored. The malware used in the attachments went on to compromise the system and stole sensitive data through the backdoor.
Surprisingly, the government agencies responsible for securing the country’s cyberspace woke up from its deep slumber only on June 4, 2013 when undercover counter-cyber espionage experts of Russian computer security agency ‘Kaspersky Lab’ blew the whistle on ‘Operation Travnet’, which is believed to have compromised sensitive systems in at least 40 countries including India. Barely a week later, the Centre stumbled upon yet another espionage operation, this time by the country’s natural ally, the US. Washington’s ‘PRISM’ programme was secretly snooping on our communication network and had collected over 6 billon pieces of intelligence.
An embarrassed New Delhi reacted along the expected lines and announcing that it would fast-track the proposal to raise a separate cyber security wing.
The ambitious plan, which will cost approximately Rs 1,000 crore, will coordinate the functioning of the IB, RAW the Military Intelligence (MI), NTRO and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). However, intelligence officials expressed concerns, fearing turf war among the agencies involved.