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Cybercrime increased 500% due to the pandemic and vulnerable sectors were targeted, government being the most vulnerable. Telecommunications sector was targeted as a nation, financial sector was targeted, then sector of transportation and energy, ”said National Cyber Security Coordinator Lt. Gen. (ret’d) Rajesh Pant.
He further said the government was able to avoid major cyber attacks or threats that helped India jump 37 places on the Global Cybersecurity Index, ranking 10th in the latest ranking.
Speaking at the third edition of Microsoft ExpertSpeak on Tuesday, Pant pointed out that India now needs a national cybersecurity strategy that is in the cabinet for the final buffer. Besides strategy, he also insisted on setting up a governance structure for cybersecurity, as there is currently no central umbrella organization responsible for cybersecurity in the nation.
Keshav Dhakad, General Counsel, Microsoft India, highlighted having a strong public-private partnership to fight cybercrime. “The fact that cybercriminals are increasingly organized and well resourced makes a need for global harmonization. We need nations, industries and businesses to come together, otherwise criminals will always stay one step ahead,” did he declare.
Dhakad also highlighted Microsoft’s partnership with MeitY to train security officials of government entities across the country on cybersecurity and initiatives such as the CyberShikshaa program with the Data Security Council of India (DSCI ), to create a pool of qualified women security professionals in the country.
Responding to BW Businessworld’s question about the trends that emerged during the pandemic in cyber attacks on critical infrastructure, Pant said that two major trends have emerged related to ransomware and the supply chain. He explained, “Cases of ransomware against the healthcare industry have increased during the pandemic and the other being the use of a secure channel such as a software update that contains malware to carry out attacks.”
Dhakad, on the other hand, said threats from nation states emerged during this period. “As we highlighted in our Digital Defense 2021 report, nation-state threats beyond organized crime have sort of targeted critical infrastructure and protection resides in a secure cloud where 70 80% of the security and intelligence and threat response is managed and it becomes part of the critical infrastructure itself. ” he added.