Virtual no more: Digital crimes becoming a threat larger than previously imagined

By: |
September 25, 2020 7:20 AM

India specifically needs to reimagine its cyber-defence, moving from a multi-front (government departments and state governments have their separate mechanisms) approach to a more centralised system.

Last year, India was the centre of the attack, and hackers were able to gain access to the Kudankulam nuclear plant.During the hackathon, they will receive mentorship from domain experts from NIC, IEEE Computer Society, Oracle and experts from the ministries of agriculture, education and transportation.

Cybersecurity companies have been warning of increasing cyber threats during the pandemic with significant fallout for victims. But, few would have imagine lives being lost because of such crimes. The German police have launched homicide inquiry against hackers who uploaded ransomware on to the servers of a hospital in Dusseldorf; with the hospital systems scrambled, attempts were made to rush critical patients to other hospitals, and a woman lost her life while she was being transferred to another facility. While hackers have been increasingly targeting hospitals and other public infrastructure, this is the first attack to claim a life. With public and mass-use cyber infrastructure being sitting ducks for cyber attacks, part of the onus is also that of countries that have not upgraded public digital and cyber infrastructure and adopted the latest security systems. In 2017, after the Wannacry and Petya attacks, many countries had started to work in this area. The attack on NHS, for instance, prompted the British government to create a fund to upgrade legacy systems and infuse more money in cyber defence mechanisms. But, such responses have only been limited to a few countries.

Last year, India was the centre of the attack, and hackers were able to gain access to the Kudankulam nuclear plant. While the government was able to avert tragedy, it did highlight the deficiencies in India’s defence architecture. Governments, the world over, need to classify essential services like hospitals as critical infrastructure. India specifically needs to reimagine its cyber-defence, moving from a multi-front (government departments and state governments have their separate mechanisms) approach to a more centralised system.

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