Cyber Security UPSC: Basics, Cyber Laws and Cyber Attacks

By Durga Prashanna Mishra|Updated : January 31st, 2023

Cyber Security is the practice of protecting networks, computers, data, and programs from unauthorized attacks that aim for exploitation. Cyber Security in India is becoming highly significant due to the increased reliance on the internet, wireless network, and computer system. Apart from that, the rapid increase in the usage of smartphones, televisions, and various devices that constitute the Internet of Things or IOT created the need for Cyber Security. 

The article discusses all the important aspects of Cyber security relevant to the UPSC Exam, such as the definition, basics, Cyber Laws, and Cyber Attacks.

Table of Content

Cyber Security

Cyber Security is a method of defending servers, computers, electronic systems, mobile devices, networks, and data from malicious attacks.

  • Cyber Security is also known as information technology or electronic information security. It includes multiple domains, from business to mobile computing.
  • The term ‘cyber’ is related to or involves computers and computer networks. This connection between the internet ecosystems forms cyberspace, leading to various issues that lead to needing Cyber Security.

Basics of Cyber Security

Cyber attack cases have increased significantly; with it, the initiatives have also evolved. Everyone must know the Basics of Cyber Security in India to protect themselves.

  • In the 1990s, cyber security initiatives like Anti-virus and firewalls were developed to deal with the virus.
  • To deal with Worms in 2020, intrusion detection and prevention initiatives took place
  • To resolve Botnets (the 2000s – Present) issues, DLP, Application-aware Firewalls, and SIM were developed 
  • For APT Insiders (Present), the Network Flow Analysis initiative is taken

Cyber Security: Components 

Let’s take a look at the components of Cyber Security.

  • Application Security: It is the measures taken during the development of an application to protect it from cyber threats.
  • Network Security: It includes security measures to protect the network's reliability, usability, safety, and integrity.
  • Information Security: Protecting information from unauthorized access to protect the privacy and avoid theft.
  • Disaster Recovery Planning: This process includes performing risk assessment, developing recovery plans for attacks, and establishing priorities.

Cyber Security in India

The digital revolution arrived in India a long time ago. Still, it is now that the nation and its citizens have started truly utilizing the transformation through small changes like going cashless, shopping online, etc. However, as mentioned before, with increased technological conveniences, India also faced increased online fraud and cyber security threats.

Digital India

Hence, in 2013, India introduced the National Cyber Security Policy to build safe and robust cyberspace. 

  • The policy is an umbrella framework guiding home users, business enterprises, and government and non-governmental entities on appropriate cyber security measures.
  • During COVID-19, policies like this have become increasingly important. According to the Data Security Council of India (DSCI), the cybersecurity industry doubled during the pandemic due to rapid digitalization. 
  • The revenue of the cyber security service industry went from $4.3 billion in 2019 to $8.4 billion in 2021. Revenue in the Cybersecurity market is projected to reach US$2.37bn in 2023.

How Does Cyber Security Work?

It is recommended to use a top-down approach to cyber security. In this digital era, cyber incidents are truly inevitable. Hence, companies need to protect their holdings and reputation under such circumstances.

The top-down strategy can be developed keeping in mind some important cybersecurity domains. Some of them are:

  • Information Security: It is a data protection measure to safeguard sensitive information from unauthorized access, theft, and abuse.
  • Cloud Security: A computing system that encrypts data in storage or moving within the cloud. It also protects the cloud data from unauthorized access.
  • Application Security: Each organization uses its own set of required applications; hence application security protects the application from off-premises and unauthorized access.

Challenges of Cyber Security 

Cyber Security in India faces a lot of challenges which are as follows

  • Usage of mobile and internet by people has increased
  • Lack of solid security infrastructure in some devices
  • Lack of awareness of Cyber Security in India
  • Increasing use of cyberspace by terrorists
  • Vulnerabilities in cyberspace
  • In many cases, the attack technology overpowers defense technology

☛ Cyber Crimes in India

Cyber Security in India

Here are a few recent initiatives taken by the Government for Cyber Security in India.

Government Initiatives for Cyber Security in India

Motives

Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative

Was Launched in 2018 to spread awareness about cybercrimes and build capacity for safety measures for CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) and frontline IT staff across the govt departments.

National Cyber Security Coordination Centre (NCCC)

It was Launched in 2019 to scan the internet traffic and communication metadata coming into the country to curb real-time cyber threats.

Cyber Swachhta Kendra

This platform was introduced in 2017 for internet users to clear their devices and computer to wipe out malware and viruses

Information Security Education and Awareness Project (ISEA)

Training of 1.14 Lakh people through 52 institutions under this project to raise awareness and provide education, research, and training in the field of Cyber Security

International cooperation

India has joined with several countries like Japan, United States, Singapore to strengthen the cyber ecosystem. It would help India to become better at dealing with cyber threats.

Cyber Laws in India

There are various Cyber Laws in India to protect and prevent such crimes. 

Information Technology Act, 2000

  • Came into existence in October 2020, also known as the Indian Cyber Act. it provides legal recognition to all e-transactions.
  • Information Technology Act 2000 regulates the use of computer systems, computers and computer networks, data, and information in electronic format.
  • This Act lists the following offenses- hacking with a computer system, tampering with computer documents, cheating using computer resources, and cyber terrorism, among others.

National Cyber Policy 2013

The strategies under National Cyber Policy 2013 are as follows. 

  • To create a secure cyber ecosystem and mechanisms for the security threats and the responses through national processes and systems.
  • To secure e-governance by using Public Key Infrastructure and global best practices.
  • Protection of critical information infrastructure with the NCIIPC (National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre)
  • Human Resource Development through training and education programs
  • Development of Cyber Security technologies.

National Cyber Security Strategy 2020

The Indian government has planned to implement National Cyber Security Strategy 2020 to secure cyberspace in India. 

Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative

MeitY collaborated with National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and developed this initiative in 2008 to establish a cyber-resilient IT setup.

Cyber Attacks

A malicious act that aims to destroy data, steal data, or otherwise interfere with digital life is referred to as a cyber security threat. Additionally, it alludes to the potential for a successful cyber attack with the intent of stealing sensitive data, damaging a computer network, or gaining unauthorized access to a computer asset.

Financial systems, air traffic control, and telecommunications are among the industries classified as Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks. It entails stealing intellectual property and money, manipulating and erasing data, etc.

Several prevalent cyber threats include the following types of cyber attacks that have evolved over the years.

  • Malware: Refers to any kind of software designed only to cause damage to a computer network, computer, or server. Worms, viruses, spyware, and trojans are varieties of malware.
  • Phishing: This method of gathering personal information using deceptive e-mails and websites.
  • DOS, DDOS: the attackers make the network or machine unavailable by disrupting the services of the host network.
  • SQL Injection: Many services that store data of services and websites use SQL to manage their databases. SQL injection attack target such servers by using malicious code to get confidential information.
  • Cyber Espionage: An important organization’s or government’s privacy is at risk due to the illegal use of computer networks to capture confidential information.
  • Cyber Warfare: Attacking information systems using computer technology, especially for military purposes.
  • Social Engineering: It relies on human interaction to trick users into breaking security procedures to gain the vital information that is protected.

Cyber Security UPSC

Cyber Security finds its relevance under the GS 3 Syllabus of the UPSC Mains Syllabus. Additionally, candidates must refer to some UPSC Books that cover the Basics of Cyber Security because it would help them to get a bigger picture of this topic. 

Cyber Security UPSC Questions

Question: Cyber Security provides security against:

  1. Against Malware
  2. Against cyber terrorists,
  3. Defends a device from threats.
  4. All mentioned options

Answer: Option D

Question: Which of the below cyber security principles states that the security system should be as compact and straightforward as possible?

  1. Open-design
  2. The economy of the Mechanism
  3. Least privilege
  4. Fail-safe Defaults

Answer: Option B

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FAQs on Cyber Security

  • Cyber Security can be defined as the methods to protect the servers, mobile devices, networks, computers, electronic systems, and data from malicious attacks. Cyber Security is also known as Information Technology Security or Electronic Information Security.

  • The increasing computer activities and cyberspace result in various issues that are leading to the need for Cyber Security. Starting from individuals to government organizations, everyone has sensitive information stored on their computer or mobile devices, which could be used against them. That is why it becomes crucial to provide protection to sensitive data with the help of Cyber Security.

  • The Cyber Security laws in India include- Information Technology Act 2000, Strategies Under National Cyber Policy 2013, and National Cyber Security Strategy 2020. These laws have been implemented to provide Cyber Security to the country and its citizens.

  • Cyber Security faces several challenges like- increasing usage of mobile devices and the internet, lack of security infrastructure in some devices, lack of awareness about Cyber Security, rising number of cyber attackers, and the lack of solid defense technology.

  • The government of India has taken a few initiatives to tackle the Cyber Security problems, such as National Cyber Security Coordination Centre (NCCC), Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative, Information Security Education and Awareness Project (ISEA), and Cyber Swachhta Kendra.

  • The types of Cyber Attacks are as follows: Malware, Phishing, DOS, DDOS, SQL Injection, Cyber Espionage, Cyber Warfare, Social Engineering, etc.

  • Protecting your actual PCs, laptops, and other hardware is the focus of computer security. It also entails correctly patching and updating these systems. However, by securing the data kept on your networks, computers, printers, and other devices, cyber security can cover all of these operations.

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