India ranks high on cyber-affected county list – holds 5th position: McAfee report

India is the fifth most cyber-crime affected country in the world. This has been revealed by the ‘Cyber-security: The Vexed Question of Global Rules’ report released by McAfee and the Security and Defence Agenda (SDA). The report gives a global snapshot of current thinking about the cyber-threat and assesses the way ahead.

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According to the report 57 per cent of global experts believe that an arms race is taking place in cyber space and cyber security today, is more important than missile defence. 43 per cent experts identify damage or disruption to critical infrastructure as the greatest single threat posed by cyber-attacks with wide economic consequences. This is 37 per cent up from what was predicted in the McAfee Critical Infrastructure Report, 2010. The state of cyber-readiness of the United States, Australia, UK, China and Germany all ranked behind smaller countries such as Israel, Sweden and Finland.

Talking about India the report dwells on India’s IT security scenario and identifies that the main challenge for India is to train and equip its law enforcement agencies and judiciary, particularly outside big cites. In India much of its vulnerability is explained by widespread computer illiteracy and easily pirated machines. Another reason for the success of phishing and other scams in India is pinned to the fact that the premium on Internet privacy in India is way too low and data control tends to be neglected.

It says India is acutely aware that cybercrime is bad for its reputation as a country where foreign investors can do business, and thus has been investing heavily in cyber security. But it lacks a single operator to control the internet, telecom and power sectors, even if CERT or other coordinating authorities are involved. The main challenge for India is to train and equip its law enforcement agencies and judiciary, and expand it to other cities of the country beyond New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.

The report brought out the fact that the cyber criminal has greater agility, given large funding streams and no legal boundaries to sharing information, and can thus choreograph well orchestrated attacks into systems. And to curb this real-time sharing of global intelligence is the basic necessity. Developments in smart phones and cloud computing also mean a whole new set of problems linked to inter-connectivity and sovereignty and require new regulations and thinking.

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