Secure India�s Digital Systems -
Secure India�s Digital Systems
Posted 07 Jul 2020 11:49 AM

Source : Economic Times

India must consciously rid its digital infrastructure of systemic vulnerabilities that could be exploited by an enemy power to bring the country to its knees. It has been reported that Chinese companies have been entrusted with managing grid stability in several states, using digital systems. This is madness and must be terminated forthwith. Nor is it enough to eliminate Chinese companies from positions that allow them to control or destroy the integrity or functionality of Indian infrastructure. Infrastructure, particularly the digital systems that operate and manage its bits, must be secured against hacking and hostage-taking.

Imagine the harm that could be wreaked by a hostile entity taking control of the banking network, or the Demat account framework for stockholding. Most systems are now managed digitally. If that digital control system is handed over to companies that are mandated by their domestic law to cooperate with the State in times of emergency, the result could be grid failure that would take a long time to repair.

What would be the effect of India�s telecom network suddenly turning dysfunctional? How secure is the telecom network, how protected is it from a technologically sophisticated hijack? Have the lines of vulnerability been properly identified as also possible safeguards? Instead of lapping up the security systems offered by Israeli startups, when will Indian infrastructure managers start identifying their vulnerabilities and putting out specific tenders for fixes to be delivered by indigenous companies? What prevents a large public enterprise such as PowerGrid from setting up well-funded, adequately manned in-house divisions to produce layers of software that could integrate with hardware sourced from wherever and insulate the grid from baneful interference?

It is time the government and State-owned companies put together large teams of India�s talented engineers to create defensive and offensive cyber capability in diverse areas of infrastructure. Clear specification of problems would allow the private sector to play a role, too.

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