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The Sunday Reminder!

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Digitisation is a great leap for the growth and development of the country besides checking corruption. But the challenges that come along also need focus and the hack of the PM's account is an eye-opener for us. Just look at what is at risk - banks, Reserve Bank of India, stock exchanges, government offices, military establishment, weapon systems, social security schemes, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, railways, airports, metro trains, GST, toll plazas, Adhaar, Election Commission, Auditor General of India’s office and so on.

A country that boasts itself of having more than 800 million smartphone users and internet penetration reaching to the interiors of the country owing to Digital India mission, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s twitter account hack on Sunday wee hours brings our attention to the cyber security apparatus of India. Many persons in my vicinity spoke an obvious question which our security authorities would often dodge – “If the Prime Minister’s account can be hacked, how safe is a common Indian?”

Digitisation is a great leap for the growth and development of the country besides checking corruption. But the challenges that come along also need focus and the hack of the PM's account is an eye-opener for us. Just look at what is at risk - banks, Reserve Bank of India, stock exchanges, government offices, military establishment, weapon systems, social security schemes, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, railways, airports, metro trains, GST, toll plazas, Adhaar, Election Commission, Auditor General of India’s office and so on. All can be brought to standstill and malfunctioned to cause an inconceivable disaster in a few seconds.

Data localization which is mandated by the government umpteenth times but these social media giants are working with their whims and fancies; inventing ways to bypass Indian laws. In-fact all players, ranging from e-commerce to job providers, should have a localized database in quick time as the data of our people is valuable Indian property that can be used by the adversaries of the country to strip people of their wealth and dignity.

National security is not a mere nomenclature used to decorate speeches. Even Article 14 which guarantees freedom of speech under clause (a) and freedom of trade and business under clause (g) are not absolute and reasonable restrictions are provided in the article itself; including national security.

Today Indians are the backbone of the global software industry whether they are operating out of Bengaluru or Silicon Valley. There is no dearth of talent. The capacity which our cyber professionals possess can’t be matched by the copy-cat Chinese IT giants. A dedicated but ‘reasonable sized’ cyber security force in the country should be formed. Formation of CERT-In, Cyber Swachhta Kendras, NCCC and Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative are not enough. More than 70 per cent of Indian businesses suffer cyber attacks. Four million malwares are detected every day in India and this is increasing. Without a dedicated force and international cooperation, thwarting such attacks and providing a shield of cover will not be easy for us because no technology that is connected to the internet is unhackable.

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