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Cybersecurity firms laud govt move to set up CERT for financial sector

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Global cybersecurity firms and industry experts have lauded government move to set up Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to strengthen cybersecurity of the financial sector and check cyber frauds. They say that a CERT specifically for the financial services sector is aligned to the need of the hour.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushing for digital transaction after recent demonetisation move, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced to set up a Computer Emergency Response Team to strengthen security of the financial sector amid increasing incidents of cyber frauds.

In his Budget 2017 speech Finance Minister said, “Cyber security is critical for safeguarding the integrity and stability of our financial sector. A Computer Emergency Response Team for Financial Sector (CERT-Fin) will be established.” This entity will work in close coordination with all financial sector regulators and other stakeholders.

While the opposition parties have termed the budget to be lacking “vision” and “damp squib”, experts and industry heads have been upbeat. They say that the Budget 2017 is at par with their expectation and they welcome the move to strengthen the digital infrastructure in rural India, by allocating Rs 10,000 Cr for Bharat Net Project and ensuring optimum level of cybersecurity.

“We especially appreciate the Computer Emergency Response Team to be setup post the budget announcement and dedicatedly monitor cyber hacks, ensuring the security and integrity of online data. The synergy created by these announcements, along with the efforts of cyber security solutions is going to inspire new users to come online, aiding India’s transition to a digital economy,” said Amit Nath, ‎who heads corporate business of SMB focused cybersecurity firm F-Secure in India.

Echoing the same view, Altaf Halde, managing director – South Asia for Kaspersky Lab said, “Post demonetisation the number of digital transactions have increased and so the concerns about cyber security. The decision to set up a CERT for financial sector will lead to greater collaboration between the technology companies and the banking system in the country.” “This will create more opportunities domestically for the IT and technology businesses in India and offer higher trust level for customers,” he said.

Surendra Singh – Country Director, Forcepoint said that setting up CERT reaffirms Digital India’s long term commitment towards securing consumer’s against cyber frauds. “We believe that this initiative will help to strengthen security of the financial sector amid the increasing incidents of cyber frauds thereby protecting the consumers of various financial institutions,” he added.

On the other hand, while Rostow Ravanan, CEO and managing director of Mindtree termed the decision to set up CERT a “great initiative which will smoothen coordination between finance regulators. Experts are of the view that CERT is a good beginning but government should link regulatory authorities such as SEBI and RBI for the development of a comprehensive guidelines, regulations and better compliance.

“A CERT specifically for the financial services sector is aligned to the need of the hour. Linking regulatory authorities (SEBI and RBI) will help in the development of more comprehensive guidelines and regulations for financial services companies,” said Sivarama Krishnan, leader- Cybersecurity, PwC India.

While IT industry lobby body Nasscom urges the government to expedite the process of setting up of CERT for financial sector, The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is looking for more details such as: how different this team will be from CERT-IN headed by ministry of electronics and IT.

“We already have a Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-in) which reports to the ministry of electronics and IT. We will have to see how different this team will be from CERT-IN,” said Pradipto Chakrabarty, Regional Director, of CompTIA.

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