Model Question and Answers for APSC | Keeping in view India’s internal security, analyse the impact of cross-border cyber attacks. Also discuss defensive measures against these sophisticated attacks. (UPSC Mains-2021)
Ans : The report released by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) assessed the cyber-power of 15 countries. It graded India as a “third-tier” cyber-power that had focussed its cyber intelligence and offensive capabilities too narrowly on Pakistan, and not other global threats further afield.
The Ministry of Home Affairs told Parliament that there had been a three-fold increase in cyberattacks, growing from 394,499 in 2019 to 11,58,208 in 2020.
The impact of cross-border cyber attacks
1. The sharp increase appeared closely linked to the increase in tensions with China at the Line of Actual Control.
2. Some States are leveraging their expertise in cyberspace to achieve their political and security-related objectives and indulge in contemporary forms of cross-border terrorism.
3. The use of cyberspace by terrorists to “spread virulent propaganda, incite hatred and violence, recruit youth and raise funds”, as well as the ability of states and terrorists to infiltrate networks are other challenges.
4. Such nefarious acts undermine the trust and confidence in the global ICT supply chain, compromise security and could become a flashpoint between States.
5. Impact is seen in increasingly radicalised youth.
6. Reduced public trust in public agencies for ability to safeguard their data.
7. A U.S.-based research firm claimed that a massive power outage in Mumbai in October 2020 was the result of a successful Chinese cyberattack.
Defensive measures against these sophisticated attacks
1. It should be fairly obvious by now that we need to invest in better security infrastructure.
2. A larger budget needs to be assigned for IT security professionals.
3. Developing quantum encryption and other tech to thwart cyber attacks
4. Offensive capabilities to leverage against any attack