IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today exhorted state-owned firms to be “vigilant” while securing digital infrastructure even as he emphasised that cyber attacks should not be a deterrent to building information superhighways in India. His comments come against the backdrop of a global malware attack that has disrupted functioning at some central banks and many large corporations in Europe. In India, the attack has impacted the functioning of one of the terminals of India’s largest container port JNPT. Likening the information superhighway to a national highway, Prasad said that while accidents may occur on roads at times, it only means that users have to be more cautious.
“On the national highways there are accidents…you have to drive carefully, wear seat belts, not drink and drive…but how can you say that there should be no national highways because accidents occur. The same is with information highway…,” he said. Proactive measures have already been initiated following the latest attack and the government is keeping a close watch on the entire situation, he said, maintaining that there is no large-scale impact on India yet. The minister was speaking at the national convention on ‘Digitalisation: Opportunities and Challenges’.
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Terming cyber security as extremely important, he referred to the Prime Minister having stated that cyber war is like a bloodless war. “We have got Cyber Swachhta Kendra. If you have any problem, you can approach them immediately…the cyber co- ordination centre is going to be set up very soon,” Prasad said listing out the measures taken by the government to secure the IT systems against cyber attacks.
Cyber Swachhta Kendra or the Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre, is part of the Digital India initiative and focuses on detection, cleaning and securing systems from botnet infections. “I would like the PSUs (public sector units) to be particularly vigilant in ensuring cyber security in their full digital ecosystem,” Prasad said.
He said that the audit practices have to be re-assessed in view of the digital transformation unfolding across the country. On digital payments, he said that the BHIM app has been downloaded by two crore people. “India’s digital economy is going to be a great area of growth… A recent BCG Group and Google study said that in five years India’s digital payment itself is going to become USD 500 billion industry,” he added.