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India needs to enhance the cyber resilience of Digital economy

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With the government putting a sharp focus on digitisation and a cashless economy, “digitisation of everything” and a top class digital infrastructure is a top priority. With an ever increasing digital landscape, India needs to be on guard to enhance its cyber resilience, explains Dr Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator, Govt of India, in an interview with EC’s Sandhya Michu.

Some edited excerpts:

How do you perceive the current cyber threat landscape?

India is witnessing huge digital transformation. As the contribution of digital to the overall GDP grows, there is a need for a highly sustainable cyber security framework. This is important as the cyber threat landscape is becoming ever more complex and destructive. Over the last few months, attacks targeting governments and enterprises have increased significantly in both number and range with measurable impact on reputation, revenue, operations and customers. Last year, India witnessed a number of cyber breaches, malicious ransomware and economic espionage.

Your suggestions on helping India counter cyber crime effectively?

I would urge all the parties affected by cyber threats, especially security software makers, to work closely with the government in identifying malicious systems to build resilience. Every stakeholder needs to have shared responsibilities and vision to have a transparency centre at the national level.

Every company in a cyber security domain has set up transparency centres that might help them and their client, but not for society or the nation at large. We need a consolidated transparent center at the national level where all the things can be looked at together simultaneously lawfully.

While the Digital India initiative will increase the relevance of the Internet, it will also expose the country to large cyber-attacks. Hence, we need to to make more investments in the area of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

How do you think emerging technologies like machine learning and AI will help in bolstering security?

Today, large organisations have installed sophisticated security solutions to protect their data from any cyber attacks, are finding it challenging to defend against targeted attacks. Hence, we have to focus on process and skills to make our companies more cyber resilience, efficient and productive. Following the cyber security processes and right skills, will help enterprises in improving the resilience of their digital systems. Machine learning and AI is a double-edged technology, which will help in identifying background processes, but at the same time, also provides hackers with information to breach systems. If we follow processes and properly interpret the results of AI or machine learning, we would be able to enhance the resilience of our digital systems and minimise impact of many cyber attacks. There is a need for security companies to work closely with government organisations like the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team and National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Center to secure the digital ecosystem.

What are some of the top initiatives taken by the Government for making digital transactions more secure?

The government is seriously implementing the security policy with the help of the Reserve Bank of India and SEBI. Currently, the RBI is focused on regulations and compliance. Among all the financial installations, the part which is governed by SEBI is more risky. In case of RBI, the money travels from one bank to another one. Each transaction is closely monitored. In case of non financial institutions like stock exchange, the tracking of risk parameters are much higher. Having said so, the government is taking various steps to bring every digital transaction under the gamut of our cyber policy.


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