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Evaluating the Indian Government’s Security Strategy

India has been one of the fastest-growing digitized countries in the world. India has been leaping to a major digital economy rapidly with rapid advancement, research, and implementation of efficient technological adoption. As per the research report by McKinsey Global Institute of Digital India, India is the second-fastest adopter of the digital economy among the other 17 most digitized countries in the World. This brings major significance and importance to having robust and effective Indian Government cybersecurity policies intact.

India’s fundamental digital sectors accumulate a massive $170 billion or say 7% of the total economy’s GDP in 2017-18 and are also expected to go beyond 8-10% in 2025.

With so much inclination and transition of a 1.3 billion population to digital sectors, it surely opens doors for a huge number of cybersecurity risks and attacks. There have been innumerable cybersecurity reports from the past few years as we’ve leapt towards living in a more digitized world. The major cybersecurity incidents in India were extensively seen in the most crucial infrastructural sectors like nuclear plant and space agency, healthcare, banking and finance, government institutions, etc.

As per CISO by Economic times, India has recorded a massive 37% increase in cyber incidents in the first quarter of 2020. Major incidents like the WannaCry and NotPetya were seen targeting majorly the facilities of utility infrastructure like power plants, healthcare, banks, financial institutions, and devices such as computers and mobile devices. These attacks have damaged some of the most crucial assets of the country and are leaping forward to breach more.

Some of the brutal cyber incidents in the past few years which caused a major impact on the country’s digital security reputation were: 

2020 Oct Entire Mumbai city power outage suspected by a DDOS or malware attack
2019 June Data Compromised of 106 million credit card customers through a firewall breach.
2018 Jan North Korean hackers stealing USD 13.5 Million from Cosmos Bank in Pune.
2017 June NotPetya ransomware shut down the major port of MAERSK for 2 days which caused a $300 million estimated loss.
2017 May Zomato suffered a data breach of 17 million data records of their customers.

These are just a few of the many incidents reported in India. Experts say that India is globally the main target. With such engagement and involvement in digital sectors, hackers are surely going to look forward to grabbing more opportunities from the Indian region. This is the time when the need for installing and executing the most secured network access management comes in place.

Technologies like Microsegmentation, Software-defined parameter, zero-trust security, and a split plane architecture come in as the key players to secure powerful and secured network access on digital platforms.

The Mumbai Power Outage incident due to weak Government cybersecurity 

Among the most recent, the Mumbai city power outage that happened on 13th October 2020 was in the news lately. Though it was not adjudged officially to be caused by a cyberattack, most cyber experts and even Maharashtra’s Power Minister, Mr Nitin Raut have suspected the sabotage caused by a cyber hack.

It was on October 15 when, the city that never sleeps, faced a complete power outage in all areas of the city including Thane which lasted for two hours and even for 10 hours at some locations. The Outage started at 10:00 AM and went on till noon.

This led to the cancellation of all the local train services, stock exchanges were not functioning, commercial offices and government institutions were completely on hold. The government hospitals had no electricity supply except for ICUs running on minimum backups while the Covid care centres were even out of their backups. Private generators were on the move all the time at various hospitals till the power came back.

A sense of havoc was witnessed in the never-stopping city and everyone was looking for the reason for this electricity outage. The ruling cause was said to be the tripping at the Padgha-based load dispatch centre in Thane district. This dispatch centre distributes electricity to Thane, Mumbai, and Navi Mumbai areas.

More Insights into Mumbai Power Outage

As per the Maharashtra cyber department, it is suspected that a major malware or a DDOS attack was responsible for this outage. A special probe has been conducted with the state government to assess for the same. The sources from the Maharashtra cyber department says that for the initial investigation, they traced a malware attack at the Padgha-based dispatch centre. Since then, the case is primarily being seen from the angle of a cyber attack.

The state load dispatch centre first monitors the whole power transmission and then circulates to the areas of Thane, Mumbai, and Navi Mumbai. As this load dispatch works intensively on automated and digitized systems, the data could’ve been breached and ultimately hacked!

In June 2020, during the stand-off between the Indian army and the Chinese army at Galwan valley, the sources from Maharashtra cyber department reported that several China-based hackers were trying to attack the most crucial infrastructure of their institutions. There were thousands of cyberattacks detected to become of Chinese origin in June 2020.

What could’ve been better?

The cybersecurity policies of the Padgha-based dispatch centre should’ve been more industry compliant and power-packed with hardcore security measures. As crucial infrastructure like Banks, Nuclear plants and electricity dispatch systems could play a major role in the country’s day-to-day operations, extreme measures should’ve been taken to ensure utmost security for the systems at the dispatch centre.

To prevent the rising DDOS, malware, and ransomware attacks, industries including public and private have to be equipped with efficient network access security. Security practices like zero-trust security, split plane architecture and micro-segmentation should be practised within every organization.

Final Words

Though as we are moving ahead with increased engagements on digital sectors, the Government and the cyber department of India is also coming up with new and stronger cybersecurity policies. The new strategies are in line and the Indian cyber department aims at securing the digital ecosystem with 3S i.e Secure, Strengthen, and Synergize for the digital economy.

We here at Instasafe are on the same mission of saving our country from all the malicious attacks every organization has been facing. We offer one of the best security practices for your virtual and digitized networks, to safeguard your online networks from all cyber threats and attacks.

Browse through our industry’s-best security products today and get yourself covered!

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