Showing posts with label CRITICAL ICT INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION IN INDIA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CRITICAL ICT INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION IN INDIA. Show all posts

Friday, January 6, 2012

Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) And Homeland Security (HS) In India

World over critical infrastructure protection (CIP) and homeland security (HS) are considered as top priority areas. This is logical as well since both CIP and HS are important parts of national security of any nation.

With the growing use and dependence upon information and communication technology (ICT), nations are focusing upon ensuring robust cyber security. The international cyber security policy framework and Indian response to the same are proof of the same. In fact, India is considering use of public private partnership (PPP) for internal security of India. Although India is also considering working in the direction of cyber security yet its speed and efforts in this direction are slower as compared to international cyber security standards and efforts.

Cyber security in India is not what is required. As per the cyber security trends in India 2011 by Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB), cyber security expertise and practices adopted in India are neither adequate nor qualitative. There is an urgent need to strengthen the cyber security mechanisms of various stakeholders in India.

Homeland security in India needs to be strengthened. In fact, India US homeland security dialogue has already been initiated. Homeland security and cyber security market in India is growing. In fact, Microsoft and Symantec are exploring the cyber security market of India. European Union (EU) has also invited India to participate in a mega cyber security and cyber crime project.

Critical national infrastructure security in India needs to be strengthened. Highly sophisticated malware like Duqu, Stuxnet, etc targeted India in the year 2011 and India is still investigating the Duqu malware. Indian nuclear facilities, automated power grids, satellites, defense networks, governmental informatics infrastructures, etc are vulnerable to sophisticated cyber attacks. It is still not clear whether Indian satellites are safe from cyber attacks.

Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) is another area of concern. Cyber protection of SCADA systems in India must also be ensured. Similarly, Indian defense and security against cyber warfare needs to be developed so that cyber attacks against India can be thwarted. A good cyber security policy in India must be formulated that must include a critical ICT infrastructure protection policy of India as well. Similarly, effective legal and policy framework for cyber security must also be created in India.

Although there are numerous aspects of Cyber Security Policy of India yet Critical Infrastructure Protection in India and Critical ICT Infrastructure Protection in India are the most important aspects of the same. Similarly, cyber law of India must also be strengthened to effectuate cyber security in India. Hopefully Indian government would consider these aspects this year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Indian Defense And Security Against Cyber Warfare

Of late, India is increasingly targeted for cyber espionage, cyber warfare, cyber terrorism and many similar cyber attacks. Indian response to the same remained lukewarm. Obviously the news of sophisticated Malware targeting Indian critical infrastructure is no big surprise.

For instance, some claim that Stuxnet Malware was responsible for the destruction of an Indian broadcasting satellite. Similarly the Duqu Malware used the command and control servers located in India. The latest being that the servers of National Informatics Centre (NIC) of India were compromised and used for launching cyber attacks upon other nations.

In this background India must analyse its cyber skills and capabilities. Is India ready for cyber warfare, cyber terrorism, cyber espionage, cyber attacks, etc? We have still not formulated any cyber warfare policy of India. In fact, cyber security in India is an ignored world. Even there is no cyberspace crisis management plan of India that is actually implemented at the national level.

At the legal framework level as well India is lagging far behind. We have no dedicated legal framework for cyber security in India. Even the cyber law of India needs many suitable amendments as it has become outdated.

These issues require political will to resolve and presently that seems to be missing. Although Kapil Sibal is doing a great job yet he seems to be overburdened with many responsibilities. This is resulted in sidelining of cyber law and cyber security issues.

Now Kapil Sibal has given positive hints about these issues, things may change in the near future. But till then Indian cyberspace is vulnerable to all sorts of cyber attacks.

India is not at all ready to tackle cyber warfare, cyber terrorism, cyber espionage, etc with the present framework of mind and cyber capabilities. Indian defense and security against cyber warfare is missing and the same needs to be strengthened as soon as possible.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cyber Warfare Policy Of India

Cyber Warfare is a concept that is not clear yet. Some believe that there is nothing like Cyber Warfare as there is no involvement of traditional military actions. Others believe that Cyber Warfare is a reality of the present time and future wars would be fought in Cyberspace. Whatever the opinion may be but it is clear that Nations have to protect their Critical ICT Infrastructures and Strategic Computers from growing Cyber Attacks.

Cyber Warfare and Cyber Terrorism are issues that cannot be taken lightly by any Country. From these threats emerge the necessity of having a robust Cyber Security for Defense Forces in India. These issues are important as they strike at the very root of the Critical ICT Infrastructure Protection in India. However, India is not doing the needful in this regard. Cyber War Capabilities should be an Integral Part of Indian National Defense and Security.

India needs a sophisticated and robust Technological Command Centre to defend its global network of computer systems. It must develop both offensive and defensive capabilities under one roof. Strategic information and tactical inputs are essential part of modern warfare that can be lost or gained through Cyber War methods. There is no doubt that India needs good Cyber War Capabilities to meet the growing threats of Cyber Warfare.

Malware are posing significant threat to India yet there is no attention towards Cyber Security in India. For instance, we need Express Legal Provisions and Specified Policies to deal with issues like Denial of Service (DOS), Distributed Denial of Services (DDOS), Bots, Botnets, Trojans, Backdoors, Viruses and Worms, Sniffers, SQL Injections, Buffer Overflows Exploits, etc. Till now India has done nothing in this crucial direction and we are still waiting for the Cyber Security Policy and Strategy of India. Obviously, we have no Cyber Warfare Policy of India as well. Even the Cyber Law of India is weak and ineffective and deserves to be repealed.

The biggest hurdle before curbing Cyber Warfare Threats at the International level is Lack of Harmonisation in this regard. Till now we have no “Internationally Acceptable Definition” of Cyber Warfare. Further, we have no Universally Acceptable Cyber Crimes Treaty as well. There is also no International Cyber Security Treaty. India is not a part of any International Treaty or Conventions regarding Cyber Crimes, Cyber Security, etc.

We cannot have a Cyber Terrorism Policy in India till we have a Cyber Crimes Policy in India, Cyber Security Policy in India other similar Policies. Indian Government must urgently work in this crucial direction as it is the most urgent need of the hour.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cyber Warfare Against India

Cyber warfare is a concept that is still haunting the international community. The situation is so serious that north atlantic treaty organisation (NATO) has sought stronger cooperation with India to counter growing cyber threats.

Cyber warfare is still a murky area as different countries deal with cyber attacks and cyber warfare attacks differently. While countries like US are considering it as an act of aggression on the footing of war yet other countries are taking divergent views. However, all countries are willing to use every possible cyber capabilities as preventive and curative cyber methods.

Till United Nations (UN) steps in and enacts “universally acceptable” international cyber law treaty and international cyber security treaty, this problem would remain murky and difficult to resolve. Further, nothing can benefit more than an international cyber security cooperation that is urgently required.

The incidences of cyber attacks, cyber terrorism, cyber espionage, cyber warfare, etc are increasing against India. However, in the absence of India’s national cyber security policy, cyber security in India is a neglected field. We must urgently develop cyber warfare capabilities in India to thwart growing cyber attacks against India. Further, we must also formulate a cyber warfare policy in India that is presently missing.

Cyber warfare is also the reason why we need to ensure critical infrastructure protection in India and critical ICT infrastructure protection in India. In fact the growing cyber attacks are affecting Indian critical infrastructure. Thus, cyber security capabilities through techno legal cyber security trainings in India must be strengthened. We must stress upon cyber security skills development in India.

The situation is equivalent to a wake up call and Indian government must take urgent steps to strengthen Indian cyber security. The sooner it is adopted the better it would be for a safe and secure cyberspace of India.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

National Cyber Security Policy Of India

The recent cyber attacks upon India have proved once again that we need to pay more attention to cyber security in India. Cyber security in India is required not only to protect sensitive information stored in the computers of strategic Indian departments and ministries but also to safeguard the present and future critical infrastructure of India.

Not only critical infrastructure protection in India is needed but also critical ICT infrastructure protection in India (CIIP in India) is need of the hour. CIIP in India is an area that requires urgent attention of our policy makers. We must formulate a critical ICT infrastructure protection policy of India as soon as possible.

Similarly, cyberspace crisis management plan of India is also required to be formulated. We must formulate a national ICT crisis management plan of India. Further, Indian crisis management plan against cyber attacks and cyber terrorism must also be formulated.

All these, and many more, aspects must be made a part of the cyber security policy of India. A national cyber security policy of India must be formulated in this regard that is made implementable after a reasonable period. Issues like cyber warfare, cyber terrorism, cyber espionage, international cyber security cooperation, etc must be part of the same.

We need a clear and implementable cyber security strategy of India. The cyber security policy and strategy of India must be techno legal in nature that can take care of both technical and legal aspects of cyber security.

There is no second opinion that national security policy of India is required and cyber security is an essential and indispensable part of the same. The sooner we formulate and adopt the same the better it would be for the larger interests of India.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cyber Attacks Are Affecting Indian Critical Infrastructure

These days information and communication technology (ICT) has become an indispensable part of our day to day life. Many critical infrastructures have now been connected with ICT in one form or another.

This is the reason why we need to ensure critical infrastructure protection in India and critical ICT infrastructure protection in India. We also need to strengthen the cyber security of India and the best way to do so is to formulate the national cyber security policy of India.

Cyber attacks and cyber threat are increasing against India. However, cyber security in India is not up to the mark and is ailing badly. There are many factors for the poor performance of Indian cyber security and lack of adequate expertise is one of them.

Whether it is strategic government department’s computers or critical infrastructure, all of them are under constant cyber attack risks. Take the example of the recent cyber security incidence that has affected the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) security systems.

Three months ago, a ‘technical snag’ had hit operations at the state-of-the-art T3 terminal at IGIA. It now turns out it was caused by a “malicious code” sent from a remote location to breach the security at the airport.

A hunt has been launched to nab the perpetrator with the CBI registering a case under the IT Act and IPC. Investigators say that the “malicious code” was in the form of “attack scripts”, which means a programme was written by an expert to exploit the system’s security weakness.

While the efforts of CBI is praiseworthy yet when it comes to timely and appropriate actions, CBI does not score well. For instance, the case of CBI’s website defacement has not been investigated in the manner it was required. Cyber crimes investigations in India need to be improved to make effective investigation and get desired results.

In the present case of IGIA as well the news of the cyber attack has come after three months and this has weakened the case to a great extent. We need timely detection and effective cyber crime investigation capabilities in India to deal with cyber attacks and cyber crimes. Indian government must conduct effective trainings and courses for cyber crimes investigations in India.

Coming to the present case, the check-in counters, transfers counters and boarding gates at the IGI are operated using the Common Use Passengers Processing System (CUPPS), maintained by Aeronautical Radio Incorporated (ARINC). The CUPPS operates on a common software-and-hardware platform that integrates all information such as an airline’s reservation system, the expected time of departure and the capacity at waiting lounges. The problem in CUPPS started at 2.30 am on June 29 due to which check-in counters of all airlines at T3 became non-operational.

“This forced the airlines to opt for manual check-in and as a result passengers had to wait. There are around 172 CUPPS counters and only a third were functioning online,” said an official. The investigation revealed that someone had hacked into the main server of the CUPPS and introduced a virus.

It took nearly 12 hours to restore the system. The CBI was also called in as officials suspected it was a security breach. “We found that there were serious security lapses,” said a CBI official.

The agency had also asked for details of records of CUPPS and staff handling the system. “Once we receive the details, it will be analysed to see if any official is involved. It appears that someone sitting at a remote location had operated the system. We have registered a case under the IT Act and other relevant section of the IPC,” added the CBI official.

Indian critical infrastructures are under strong cyber attacks and we need to take this seriously. In cyber crimes and cyber attacks cases taking months to investigate them means loosing the case. We have to develop real time cyber security capabilities in India to avoid such failures.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


In recent years, the frequency and sophistication of cyber security attacks on global Critical Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure (Critical ICT Infrastructure) has greatly increased. Cyber-security experts have been warning of the vulnerability of Critical Infrastructure like Power, Energy, Transportation, Water Systems, etc to malicious hackers. Recently hackers have penetrated power systems in several regions outside the U.S. and in one case caused a power blackout affecting multiple cities. This shows the importance of a “Robust Cyber Security Mechanism” for Critical ICT Infrastructure. The Cyber Security Trends in India are not very encouraging.[1] To worsen the situation we have a weak Cyber Law in India.[2] Critical Infrastructure Protection in India must be taken seriously in the larger interest of Indian Citizens/Persons. Crisis and Risk Management by improving security systems integration, interconnectivity and interoperability would help India a lot.[3] The Power and Energy Sector of India must also take the cyber security risks seriously as their ignorance may bring disastrous results. The Government of India has still not shown its “E-Readiness” to accept this reality despite the suggestions and recommendations of Perry4Law and PTLB TM/SM in this regard. India also performed poorly as per the norms and standards of “UN E-Government Survey-2008”. This work is also an appeal to the Government of India to take “Cyber Security Seriously” in India. Cyber Security is witnessing many important phases and trends. From the perspective of mere “fun game” cyber crimes and contraventions have emerged as “professional activities” and have been transformed into a “profession” itself. No country of the world is safe from various cyber crimes and contraventions and all are struggling hard to tackle them. But the fact remains that law and its enforcement are lagging far behind than the standards and practices needed to effectively curb them. The Cyber Security in India is missing and we have a weak Cyber Law in India. We have to develop technologies and capabilities to protect Indian Citizens/Persons in areas such as transport, civil protection, energy, environment, health, etc. Additionally we have to increase the Security of infrastructures and utilities supporting areas such as ICT, transport, energy and services in the financial and administrative domain, etc. Critical Infrastructure Protection in India must be taken seriously in the larger interest of Indian Citizens/Persons. Crisis Management by improving security systems integration, interconnectivity and interoperability would help people of India a lot. The first step towards establishment of a safe and secure cyber space is enactment of a stringent cyber law. The cyber security initiatives are of no use in the absence of a strong, safe and effective law. Similarly, a strong law unsupported by ICT Security and Cyber Security would be impotent in effect. Thus, we need a “Good Combination” of cyber law and cyber security initiatives. Cyber Law in India is witnessing ups and downs of important dimensions. The journey from its origin to its development is not very smooth and conducive for the ICT oriented Indian society. Perry4Law and PTLB TM/SM have been raising these issues from considerable period of time. Though most of the recommendations given by them have been accepted by the Government of India, yet India has to cover a long distance. India must concentrate upon:

(a) Technology building blocks for creating, monitoring and managing secure, resilient and always available information infrastructures that link critical infrastructures,

(b) Risk assessment and contingency planning for interconnected transport or energy networks,

(c) Modelling and simulation for training of concerned officials and manpower,

(d) Optimised situational awareness through intelligent surveillance of interconnected transport or energy infrastructures,

(e) ICT support meeting crises occurring in critical infrastructures,

(f) Security issues with regard to the interaction of individuals with the digital world, etc.
In today’s electronic era, citizens and businesses expect and demand access to reliable, transparent and uninterrupted e-government services. The State must address the challenges associated with protecting confidential information on its systems while providing these groups with the required information. A reliable and uninterrupted e-governance base requires periodic vulnerability assessments. Perry4Law and PTLB TM/SM believe that if commercial and government organisations reevaluate their security, safety, and financial obligations to customers, shareholders, employees, and citizens, the importance of a properly implemented security vulnerability assessment is apparent. The duty of the State in this regard is not only absolute but is also unavoidable unless we ignore the important lesson that Estonia has learnt recently. Let us hope for the best in this regard in the Indian context.

© Praveen Dalal. All rights reserved with the author.
*Techno-Legal ICT, IPR and Cyber Security Specialist at
Managing Partner-Perry4Law (First Techno-Legal and ICT Law Firm, New Delhi, India).
LL.M, Ph.D (Cyber Forensics in India: A Techno-Legal Perspective).
Contact at: ,

[1] Praveen Dalal, “ Cyber Security Trends by PTLB”,

[2] Praveen Dalal, “ Cyber Security Trends by PTLB: Cyber Law in India”,

[3] Praveen Dalal, “ Cyber Security Trends by PTLB: Cyber Terrorism and Risk Management”,