Cyber Security Threat: When I was a child, I had listened a lot about the internet but rarely used it. Nowadays, most of us have a smartphone with internet connectivity.
Even small children have their smartphones, extensively using them for multiple purposes like gaming, social media and education. Internet and technology have changed our lives completely.
The internet provided us with a variety of services and knowledge, which were like fantasies at one time for me.
As we have always seen, with every good, evil also enters. Likewise, the whole world is now concerned about privacy in the cyberworld.
Individuals like us and powerful governments and organisations are also worried about their digital infrastructure and data security. Data breaches and cyber-attacks are have been very common words for us in recent days.
What is the problem in Cyber Security Threat?
You will be surprised to know that India reported nearly 1.16 million Cybersecurity cases in 2020, nearly 3 times more than in 2019. India witnessed a rapid spike in cyber-attacks in 2020.
Our nation stands amongst the top five with the greatest number of cyber security threat incidents. Recently, due to the geopolitical scenarios, India has been more vulnerable to state-sponsored cyberattacks also. This situation is really dangerous for our country.
As per a study conducted by IBM, compared to the first quarter of the previous year, the country witnessed 37% more data breaches in 2020.
With each new data leak, sensitive information becomes available to third parties on the internet for nefarious use, which will severely threaten the security and privacy of users.
This year seems to be a bad year for India as far as data breaches go. Air India, Domino’s, Facebook, Mobikwik, and Upstox faced major data breaches in India in 2021. Each data breach costs Rs 14 crores on average to companies.
Why does this happen in Cyber Security?
The boom in internet users
With the massive 560 million internet users, nearly 12% of the world’s total internet users! India is ranked second in total internet users among the countries.
It is estimated that by 2023, there will be over 650 million active internet users across the country. Despite many internet users, internet penetration in India is around 50% of its population. Internet accessibility has been consistently rising past few years.
As we know that, with the rise of connected devices, internet penetration, and widespread digitisation of multiple sectors, including education, finance, healthcare, retail and even agriculture and logistics, comes the threat of cyber-attacks.
As I explained earlier, due to significant internet penetration in India, cyber-attacks were already on the rise, but the COVID-19 have worsened the situation. Additionally, due to India’s geopolitical situation in recent days, the threat of cross-border cyber-attacks has also increased.
Although the technology is evolving rapidly, many corporate and businesses continue to depend on outdated or legacy infrastructure, with poor or inadequate cybersecurity protection, even as cyber-crimes are getting more sophisticated.
Also, the lack of awareness among the end-user continues to aid in successful cyber-attack instances.
India lacks indigenisation in hardware as well as software cybersecurity tools. In an Economically diverse country like India, not every one of us can afford expensive hi-tech devices which will ensure our safety on the internet.
This situation makes India’s cyberspace more vulnerable to cyberattacks motivated by state and non-state actors.
What can we do?
I know it sounds disappointing, but India is regarded more as a victim than an aggressor of cybercrime and espionage. Compared with other developed nations, India’s offensive cyber capabilities are less.
Despite increasing cybersecurity breaches and cyber-attacks, most cybersecurity teams in India are understaffed. A recent study conducted by CloudSEK, a global AI-driven Risk Management Enterprise, shows that Indian critical infrastructure systems like gas and water supply and government services are vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
To ensure the safety and security of citizens and the country’s critical infrastructure, we have to take a severe step to improve cybersecurity and cyber safety in the country.
With India’s highly skilled IT workforce, efforts must be harnessed and redirected towards the government’s strategic use of its skills.
Furthermore, the government should provide incentives to the industries, encouraging private sector investment towards agencies mainly focused on national cyber security.
With strengthened cyber security, we can defend the future of India. Indian businesses will become more and more competitive on a global level and create a safer digital India.
What suggestions would you like to improve cyber security threat in India?