Cyber Attacks- is your computer going to be next? - Seeker's Thoughts

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Cyber Attacks- is your computer going to be next?

Since the use of computers, the technologies have changed for both – good and bad. The good side of the technology is that it made life easy and long while the destructive minds which are also inevitable in nature use these technologies for their selfish motives and to harm the society. Earlier there were wars between kings, which later on shifted to national boundaries and now the new era of war has taken place- “Cyber Attacks”. 

 The Ransomware
The new kind of crime where the computer of the individual is hacked and to access own computer the user has to pay the ransom and these types of viruses are called Ransomware. WannaCry has been on the hit list for troubling users.  India was one of the worst-hit countries by the WannaCry Ransomware -malware affecting sectors such as banking, finance and manufacturing last year.

The main Dilemma- Don’t know who attacks!  
Attacks are often anonymous and difficult to attribute to specific actors, state or non-state. Advanced Precision Threats (APTs) carried out by anonymous hackers are often silent and go unnoticed for long periods.

Where does India Stand?
The government is stepping up authority around cybersecurity to check the rising menace of financial frauds. Global Conference on Cyberspace was conducted in India for the first time with a view to establishing internationally agreed ‘rules of the road’ for behaviour in cyberspace and create a more focused and inclusive dialogue between all stakeholders on how to implement them.
To combat the cyber threat, the government is coming up with more cybersecurity labs.
1.      Digital Investigation Training and Analysis Centre (DITAC)
The government has earlier launched the Digital Investigation Training and Analysis Centre (DITAC) to tackle these crimes.
DITACs will monitor and police cyber-crimes committed through different platforms such as mobile, email, computer and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
2.     National Cyber Coordination Centre
Apart from DITACs, the government also established the National Cyber Coordination Centre, an operational cybersecurity and e-surveillance agency in India.
NCC, set up in 2015 as a part of the National Security Council Secretariat, should be strengthened to bring about a much-needed synergy among various institutions and to work out a coordinated approach to cybersecurity, including cyber deterrence.

Has the plan worked?
India emerged as the third most vulnerable country in terms of risk of cyber threats, such as malware, spam and Ransomware, in 2017, moving up one place over the previous year, according to a report by Symantec.
As per the report, India continues to be the second most impacted by spam and bots, third most impacted by network attacks, and fourth most impacted by Ransomware.
India faces the highest number of Cyber Security Threats
India faces the highest number of cyber security threats in the Asia-Pacific region with over 500,000 alerts daily, according to cybersecurity report, Cisco 2018 Asia-Pacific Security Capabilities Benchmark.
Union ministries and elite security agencies, apart from government bodies, have been victims of a wide range of cyber-attacks, from website defacement to Ransomware. 
The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), the governmental nodal agency for dealing with and handling of cybersecurity threats, had less than 1% of the reported number of incidents come from security researchers.
With the growing adoption of the Internet and smart-phones, India has emerged as one of the favourite countries among cybercriminals. There is a growing threat from online radicalization. Lack of coordination among different government agencies may increase the risk of cyber-attacks. India is not a signatory to the Budapest convention which is the only multilateral convention on cybersecurity.

A team of Ethical hackers
Need for efficient information security systems: - With more and more companies entering the e-commerce ecosystem and adopting new technologies like cloud computing, the threat from imminent security breaches is clearly demanding the need for efficient information security systems.
Cybercrimes are becoming more common and attackers more sophisticated with rouge nation-states and terrorist organisation funding criminals to breach security networks either to extort hefty ransoms or compromise national security features.

Trained Manpower The rising threat from cyber-attacks has exposed the severe shortage of talent in this sector. As per 2015 figures reported by Nasscom, India needed more than 77,000 white hat hackers as against only a mere 15,000 certified professional ethical hackers in that year.

Ethical Hackers?
These professionals employ methods similar to that used by malicious hackers, but they are required to be a step or two ahead of their vicious counterparts. Ethical or white hat hackers may be employed by the government, banks, or private firms to prevent cybercrime. They hack the system with the permission from the client and present a maturity scorecard for the network that highlights their overall risk. Ethical hacking firms with specially trained professionals come to the rescue of businesses while ensuring the effectiveness of service and confidentiality.  Businesses are faced with the challenge of dealing with complex security requirements that need to be updated as per changing hacking tactics, handling hidden vulnerabilities and evolving technologies.

While many new businesses are better prepared in the case of cyber-attacks, traditional businesses still lack the proactive understanding of the need for ethical hacking. For example, in India, banks having faced the brunt many-a-times are hiring professional help to secure their networks. Hotels and other service wings of the industry seem to be lagging behind.

Much More to be done
Coordination among CERTs of different countries is going to be helpful. Nations must take responsibility to ensure that the digital space does not become a playground for the dark forces of terrorism and radicalization.
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