The Government of India is determined to implement new security directives in the telecom sector to combat cyber attacks and data theft. It is expected to go up within the next six months with the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security Affairs (CCS). This step is being taken specifically from China to deal with potential cyber attacks and data theft.
Underlining the need for such a directive, a confidential report from the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) states that India is among the top three countries in the world facing cyber attacks. The report has revealed that last year, there was a loss of Rs 1.24 lakh crore due to cybercrime in India.
The NSCS report states that these cyber attacks are usually carried out through the hardware and software components of telecommunications networks. With the increasing use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, this risk increases even more manifold.
Along with this, the report also said that as a result of telecommunication network with the advent of 5G technology, security concerns will increase further. Apart from this, it is said that there is an urgent need to maintain the integrity of the supply chain including electronic devices to ensure protection against malware infections.
In recent years, cross-border hackers including Chinese agents have targeted key sectors including banking and finance with the aim of damaging India’s financial functions.
The report said that telecom is a very important infrastructure for all the regional infrastructure of the country like electricity, banking, finance, transport, governance and strategic sector. Along with this, it is feared that security breaches may result in disastrous consequences of privacy breach or infrastructure disruptions. Therefore, new directives or circulars are needed, as telecommunications serves as an important area from the point of view of national security.
The NSCS has recently considered to formulate a strategy for implementing the National Security Directive on the telecom sector by inviting key experts in telecommunications technology and nodal officers of the concerned ministries.
In the wake of rising incidents of espionage, security breaches and cyber attacks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month approved such directives for the telecom sector. Giving information about the development, an official said, “A committee will be formed soon under a Deputy National Security Advisor and we hope that the instructions will come into force within the next 180 days.”