Days after 59 mobile application were removed from the Google play store, India’s National Cyber-Security Coordinator Lt. Gen. Rajesh Pant has revealed to Sputnik that these applications, accused of data leaks, are still breaching Indian cyberspace. Pant, however, assured the nation that the cyber security wing will keep monitoring these banned apps to avoid threats to national security and strategic sectors of the country.
“It’s like when you ban some apps, we find that they are still coming through from some other IP addresses, VPNs etc. It is a 24/7 job for us. But people handling cyber security in India have an edge over all the others along with the software which is key in this", Pant told Sputnik, while adding that increased cyber attacks are nothing to worry about.
Soon after New Delhi banned 59 Chinese apps earlier this week citing a “compilation of the data of Indians, its mining, and profiling by elements hostile to the national security and defence of India”, a report by Singapore-based cyber research firm, Cyfirma, claimed that India has witnessed a 300 percent jump in hack attacks.
India’s National Cyber Security Office has increased scanning, as Cyfirma said in its report, since a violent face-off in the Galwan Valley, and the intensity of China's "cyber warfare" jumped, prompting the researchers to alert India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN).
Pant said: “In the first few stages of a cyber attack, you start scanning a number of ports trying to find out the loopholes, so we have systems in place which immediately block these sorts of scan attacks. We did find increase in that. But as far as any impact into the system is concerned, that is not there”.
Soon after the ban on Chinese apps, the Cyfirma report claimed that origin of the cyber attacks, on manufacturing, the media, and government, was traced to the Chinese cities of Beijing, Chengdu in Sichuan province, and Shenzhen.
Last year, there were breaches and attacks on India’s atomic energy plants, space research institutes, and computer systems of some of the country's top nuclear scientists as well.
Until 2017, India did not have cyber security department in the Ministry of Home Affairs but it has been strategically and efficiently established, as per the National Cyber-Security Coordinator. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Information and Technology, while working in close contact, are implementing a 24/7 mechanism so that no harm can be done.
“At the CERT (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) level, the NCCC (National Cyber Coordination Centre) created for threat prediction, is monitoring the headers, meta data. Whenever we find a rise in traffic, we block it, informing the concerned departments", Pant says while talking about India’s preparation in dealing with the rising cyber attacks.
With everything going digital during COVID-19, the threat and risk of cyber attacks have increased manifold because individuals have become easy targets given the fear, uncertainty, and ambiguity in the minds of people now.
Pant advised companies in India to carry out cybersecurity audits at regular intervals and be aware of who they are dealing with when fighting cyber crime.