Global Cybersecurity Index 2020

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    Recently, Global Cybersecurity Index 2020 (GCI) was released by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

    About

    • GCI is a project of the ITU to rank the cybersecurity capabilities of nations across the globe.
    • The ranking is based on four pillars: legal measures, technical measures, capacity building measures and organisational measures.
    • ITU: Part of the UN, founded in 1865, HQ: Geneva, Switzerland.
    • Cybersecurity: Practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks.

    Key Points

    • The US topped the index, the UK and Saudi Arabia ranked 2nd.
    • Yemen, Vatican and Micronesia shared the last position.
    • India’s Performance: India ranked 10th position, earlier it was at 47; China (33) & Pakistan(79).
      • 4th spot in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Challenges Ahead for the Countries Worldwide

    • Digital gaps amongst nations create an unsustainable environment in the cyber domain.
    • Growing digital reliance in the post-COVID era has exposed digital disparities which must be bridged through capacity building.
    • There’s a sophisticated use of cyberspace by terrorists to broaden their propaganda and incite hatred.

    Importance of Cybersecurity

    • Increasing dependency on technology
    • Prevent Critical attack installation of the country
    • Personal Data Leak (Mobikwik data leak, impact on competition.)

    Reasons for increasing Cyber Attacks in India

    • Adverse relations with China: China is considered one of the world leaders in information technology. Therefore, it is expected to have capabilities to disable or partially interrupt the information technology services in another country. 
      • Combined with the recent border standoff and violent incidents between the armies of the two countries, the adversity in relations is expected to spill over to attacking each other’s critical information infrastructure.
    • Asymmetric and covert warfare: Unlike conventional warfare with loss of lives and eyeball to eyeball situations, cyber warfare is covert warfare with the scope of plausible deniability, i.e. the governments can deny their involvement even when they are caught. Similarly, even a small nation with advanced systems and skilled resources can launch an attack on a bigger power, without the fear of heavy losses. 
      • Therefore, cyber warfare has increasingly become the chosen space for conflict between nations.
    • Increasing dependency on technology: As we grow faster, more and more systems are being shifted to virtual space to promote access and ease of use. However, the downside to this trend is the increased vulnerability of such systems to cyber-attacks. 
      • For e.g. there is a concern of widespread damage and huge loss if hackers are able to intrude into the nuclear, financial or energy systems of a country. Since almost all sectors of an economy are dependent upon power, the takedown of the power grid can substantially impact the economy.

    International Efforts

    • Budapest Convention: 1st international treaty to address cybercrime; India not a signatory.
    • Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN): US-based not-for-profit organisation for coordinating & maintenance of several databases.
    • Internet Governance Forum: UN forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on Internet governance issues. 

    India’s Preparedness to Ensure Cybersecurity

    • Well-organised structure: Agencies including  Computer Emergency Response Team – India (CERT-In) & National Cyber Security Council.
      • IT Act, 2000.
      • Strategies under National Cyber Policy, 2013. 
    • Banning of unsafe apps: Recently, India had banned apps that posed a threat to security.
    • Awaited National cybersecurity strategy: Comprehensive plan in preparing & dealing with cyber-attacks (Pre, Post and During the attack).
    • Recent initiatives:  Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative, National Cybersecurity Coordination Centre (NCCC), Cyber Swachhta Kendra etc.
      • Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C): Launched in 2018, It is an apex coordination centre to deal with cybercrimes.
      • The Cyber Warrior Police Force: It was organised on the lines of the Central Armed Police Force in 2018.

    Issues with Cyber Security

    • Low digital literacy among the general public
    • Poor cybersecurity infrastructure
    • State-sponsored cyber attacks
    • Increased internet usage and technology advancement like 5G, IoT, crypto etc.

    Way Ahead

    • Human Resource Development: The human resource is crucial and there is an urgent need to create an informal Indian team of Cyber Warriors.
    • Infrastructure Strengthening: The critical infrastructure managers should also be well trained in cyber warfare and well equipped with all the technologies for isolating viruses and attacks.
    • Mock Drills using White Hackers: There should be a reward for white hackers who can highlight the shortcomings.
    • Awareness: The managers and Common mass must be made aware.
    • Involvement of the Private Sector: Often the private sector is seen as a key innovator and their help can be crucial in securing cyberspace.
    • Separate wing under Army or Navy as Cyber Command on lines of US.

    Source: TH