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'1st phase of proposed NCCC may be operational by March 2017'

Press Trust of India  |  Hyderabad 

The government is hopeful that the first phase of the proposed National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) would be operational by March next year, a senior official said here today.

"The next major initiative that the Government of India is taking is setting up of the National Cyber Coordination Centre which will enable real-time, proactive, predictive reporting of any kind of possible cyber threats that may arise in our country.

"Presently, the tender process for setting up of NCCC is going on. We hope that the first phase of NCCC will be operational by March, 2017," said Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY).

Addressing the SCSC Cyber Security Conclave 2.0, Kumar said the government expects the proposed 'botnet cleanings and malware analysis centre' to be operational within a month.

"One such initiative which is now ready for implementation is the botnet cleanings and malware analysis centre. This is a facility which will enable citizens to know proactively if there is a bot which is sitting in their system and trying to take control. It will also help them to clean that type of bot from their system. We expect that this facility will be operational within a month," he said.

Botnet is a network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners' knowledge.

The government is in the process of upgrading the Standardisation, Testing and Quality Certification labs in Delhi and others. A STQC lab is already functional in Kolkata.

"One of the major challenges that comes in cyber security is with respect to malware which is embedded into the hardware when it is deployed. This is something which can lead to big security gaps. India has become one of the few countries in the world which has been given common criteria testing, and STQC lab in Kolkata is already providing testing facilities for hardware under the common criteria.

"We are also in process of upgrading STQC labs in Delhi and Bengaluru or Mumbai, where also common testing facility would be available," Kumar said.

Observing that the country is witnessing a huge growth in digital sector, the officer stressed that massive efforts are needed to beef up cyber security.

India has about 500 million internet users and it is one of the fastest growing countries in terms of data traffic, he said.

"Our digital economy is highly mobile phone centric. With 270 million smart phones, likely to go to 800 million by 2025, we have already the world's fourth largest in terms of app downloads anywhere in the world," the bureaucrat said.

Union Government has written to all major sectors

including banking, power and petroleum, besides state governments and Central ministries, to have a dedicated chief information security officer (CISO) in each organisation, he said.

"A lot of people have been recognised and have already appointed CISOs. All those organisations who are extensively using IT must have a CISO in their respective organisation," Kumar said.

The government has embarked on a major programme of imparting education and awareness on cyber security, he said.

"We have the information security, education and awareness programme which is being implemented through 51 leading IITs, NITs and engineering colleges across the country.

"It is training over one lakh people over the next three to four years. I think this is still a drop in the ocean. In this country, we need over 10 lakh people trained in cyber security. I think this is again possible only with partnership with industry," Kumar said.

The government has set up a venture capital fund which would fund start ups in the cyber security area, the officer said.

"GOI has set up a mother fund, fund of funds, which is available for funding venture capital funds in the area of cyber security. The venture capital industry in the country need to come forward to set up venture funds dedicated to cyber security which will give a tremendous boost to the start up industry in the cyber security area. We will be happy to participate," he said.

The government is also in the favour of teaching cyber security right from high school level as children in the country are using smart phones in a big way, Kumar said.

Observing that an efficient Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT) is already in place, Kumar said it is the responsibility of the organisations to report any cyber incident in their IT infrastructure to CERT.

Favouring coordination among same sector companies on cyber security issues, he suggested that such an initiative has already begun in the banking sector. He also sought adequate attention on securing the ever-increasing public Wi-Fi facilities, the growing mirco ATMs and the use of biometric identification in Aadhaar system.

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Observing that Telangana is the first state to come up with a cyber security policy, Telangana IT Minister K T Rama Rao said the state government would like to build on the policy.

The T-Hub, the start-up incubator initiative of the state government, would focus on cyber security by encouraging innovations and others, he said.

The state government is keen on establishing a pool of "cyber warriors" as the area has large employment potential, he said.

The government would also like to collaborate with those who did commendable work in cyber security and encourage institutional dialogue to achieve better results, Rao added.

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First Published: Tue, November 22 2016. 20:02 IST
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