Cyber-Attacks Current Affairs
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According to recent report by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), maximum number of cyber-attacks on official Indian websites are from China, US and Russia. The report was forwarded to National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and other security agencies. It had analysed cyber-attacks from April-June 2018.
Key Highlights of report
China continues to intrude Indian cyberspace in significant way as cyber-attacks originating from China account for largest 35% of total number of cyber-attacks on official Indian websites followed by US (17%), Russia (15%), Pakistan (9%), Canada (7%) and Germany (5%).
Indian institutions attacked by these malicious activities on cyberspace include Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), National Informatics Centre (NIC), Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), Railways, Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) and some banks like Punjab National Bank (PNB), Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC), State Bank of India (SBI) and state data centres, particularly in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. CERT-In has advised to take appropriate preventive action.
Pakistan malicious actors from Pakistan are possibly using German and Canadian cyberspace for intruding into Indian cyberspace and carrying out malicious activities. They are targeting by sending spear phishing emails with malware attachments. Phishing attacks are usually in form of email from trusted source where they ask for personal details such as bank details personal details, passwords.
Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In)
CERT-In is nodal agency for information technology (cyber) security under aegis of Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Electronics and IT. It was established in 2004. Its mandate is to protect Indian cyberspace and software infrastructure against destructive and hacking activities. It also responds to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout country. It also issue guidelines, vulnerability notes, advisories and whitepapers regarding to information security practices, prevention.
The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) launched first NIC-CERT, a setup of National Informatics Centre (NIC) to prevent and predict cyber-attacks on government utilities.
It was launched by Union Minister of Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad in New Delhi as part of Digital India Initiative.
The NIC-CERT will monitor and help in early detection and mitigation of cyberattacks on government networks. It has been setup with objective of creating comprehensive framework that integrates world class security components and inbuilt threat intelligence for detection, prevention and incident response.
It will operate in close co-ordination and collaboration with other sectoral CERTs and more so with CERT-In. Using advance tools, NIC-CERT team will correlate events that would help in generating canvas of attack surface and identify vulnerabilities and possible exploits. The PAN-India connectivity of NIC coupled with its enhanced ability to detect and prevent attacks will collectively upscale NIC-CERT capability to protect government’s data.
Government has introduced a lot of its services online as part of its Digital India initiatives which has made the services easily accessible to citizens. But at the same time it also has exposed them to threats and vulnerabilities that are an inherent part of cyberspace. In recent past there has been an exponential growth in cyberattacks leading to concerns of data theft. The government had already announced setting up of sectoral CERTs (computer emergency response teams) for sectors such as finance and power.
National Informatics Centre (NIC)
The NIC (Rashtriya Suchna Vigyan Kendra) is premier science & technology organisation of Government in informatics services and information and communication technology (ICT) applications. It is a part of MeitY’s Department of Electronics & Information Technology. It was established in 1976.
It plays a pivotal role in steering e-governance applications in governmental departments at national, state and district levels, thus enabling improvement and wider transparency in government services. Almost all Indian-government websites are developed and managed by NIC.