Amid reports that Chinese hackers have upped the ante against Indian companies and government institutions, cyber security expert Rahul Tyagi believes India is rather ill-prepared to tackle an offensive from its neighbor.
"Government organizations are the most vulnerable to such attacks and the worst part is that we are not in a position to identify these attacks," says Tyagi.
What's even more worrying, says Tyagi who's an ethical hacker himself and the vice-president of cyber security firm Lucideus Tech, is that the Chinese hackers can easily spoof IP (Internet Protocol) addresses in such a manner that it might appear that these attacks are coming from Pakistan. Imagine the ramifications of that, given India's complicated relationship with Pakistan. IP address is a unique string of numbers separated by full stops that identifies every computer using the internet and its location.
"Our government is not yet capable of understanding this level of attacks," Tyagi says. Chinese hackers are extremely professional and organized in terms of deploying attacks and coming out of it without leaving a trace, he warns.
To recap, recently there were reports quoting industry watchers that several Indian companies and some government institutions have been seeing an increase in cyber attacks from China. ( Read full story here )
The fix? Tyagi says, "A substantial amount of time and money needs to be spent by the government in order to strengthen our defence in face of these attacks as we are in no position to have an offensive approach."
IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has however time and again said that India is working at strengthening its cyber security defence , while admitting that there are concerns and it's a big challenge for the country and the government.
"India is becoming a digital power. We have an elaborate system for cyber security. However, the cyber attacks on India isvery minimum, but we are always alert," Prasad said earlier this month.
The minister had said that various security agencies were working in close coordination for the protection of cyberspace and the government has already constituted a 10-member committee, headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice BN Srikrishna, to deliberate on a data protection framework for the country.
The key to India successfully warding off these attacks lies in training and awareness, says Tyagi. "Indian government employees' level of knowledge as far cyber security is concerned is very low. Chinese counterparts on the other hand are pretty much into it," he says.
In the past there have been reports that the Chinese have introduced malware or hidden software in Android phones and other hardware for surveillance, making it almost impossible for the user to detect any anomaly, the cyber security expert said adding that India imports most of its hardware from China. Malware is a software which is designed to disrupt, damage, or gain access to a computer system-TOI