NEW DELHI: During the coronavirus-induced lockdown time, India faced increased attempts at cyber-attacks from foreign countries, especially China and Pakistan, the ministry of information technology and electronics’ told the parliamentary standing committee on Information Technology.
According to the 24th report of the standing committee on IT, which was tabled in Lok Sabha on Wednesday by panel chairman Shashi Tharoor , the ministry told the House panel that robust cyber security mechanisms are imperative for the successful implementation of the Digital India programme..
While the government responded to the increased threats by deploying additional security measures to track and block attack attempts from these countries, it also stated that in order to address the challenges of emerging areas of cyber security, the government will need to “significantly augment” its overall budgetary funding for research and development in the field of cyber security.
“Additional resources were deployed in shifts to meet these requirements round the clock. Security Audit initiated and completed using trusted networks (VPN) and restricted required port access was opened for Audit. Required Audit resources from NICHQ and CoEAppSec centres were used for provisioning Code review and black box testing audit activity,” the ministry told the panel.
It also cited budgetary limitations, arguing that the bulk of current research and development funds are used to maintain ongoing programmes, “leaving no funds available to take up projects to solve the latest Cyber Security challenges.”
Providing endpoint protection during Work-from-Home was one of the problems the ministry faced during the pandemic, according to the ministry.
“An increase was seen in Application layer attacks during pandemic period. NIC and its employees had to continue to work in the peak and post pandemic days. Another challenge for NIC was to ensure that this was made possible in Safest way while omitting the possibilities of any spread,” the government said.
In response to specific questions from the House panel about the challenges of implementing the Digital India programme in the coming fiscal year, the government emphasised the importance of having a strong cyber security framework in place to protect data while it is being transmitted, obtained, and processed.
“With cyber attackers becoming increasingly advanced, it is important to develop indigenous cyber security solutions and products to address such unexpected threats in cyberspace,” the ministry said.