National Security Advisor (NSA) Shiv Shankar Menon on Wednesday said 'India needs to create a climate and environment within which security is built into our cyber and communications working methods'.
Menon, who released the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses' (IDSA) report on India's Cyber Security Challenges at IDSA here, stated categorically that India was not in favour of curbing freedom of expression on the internet, but at the same time, in a democracy a line will need to be drawn between the collective right to security and individual's right to privacy.
"The nation needs to "harden its critical networks and develop metrics to certify and assure that our critical cyber networks, equipment and infrastructure are secure," said Menon.
"We must find ways to indigenously generate manpower, technologies and equipment that we require for our cyber security," he added.
Terming the IDSA report as "topical", coming in at a time when the government is in the final stages of preparing a 'whole-of-government Cyber Security architecture, Menon welcomed it as a 'significant contribution towards increasing an understanding of the issue of cyber security and of what we should be worrying about in this field'.
In his address, Menon spoke about the effects of ICT on warfare, highlighting how the ICT revolution has redistributed power and brought into play the non-state actors, individuals and terrorists in particular.
Citing the example of West Asia, the National Security Advisor pointed out that technology places increasingly lethal powers in the non-state actors, who use it in popular movements to mobilise people and influence opinions against regimes.
What makes the Cyber Security issue even more complicated, insisted Menon, is the fact that these technologies are not just available to the state where law and policies can control and limit their use, they are widely available in the public domain where commercial and individual motives can easily lead to misuse.
Drawing a comparison between states, Menon said that information technologies and their effects have made asymmetric strategies much more effective and attractive.
"The weaker states use cyber war and anti satellite capabilities to neutralise or raise the cost and deter the use of its military strength by a stronger sate," he added.
Menon in his concluding remarks said that India should be prepared to deal with both the threats to cyber space and risks arising through cyber space, as a "step towards a coherent and comprehensive cyber security policy", adding that the while NTRO is tasked to deal with the protection of our critical security cyber infrastructure, institutions like CERT-IN have proved their worth during events like Common Wealth Games in defending our open civil systems.
The IDSA had set up a Task Force in 2011 to explore the diverse dimensions of cyber security challenge that India is facing. The Task Force was headed by Nitin Desai, former Member of the NSAB, and comprised Director General, IDSA, Dr Arvind Gupta, Lt Gen (retd.) Aditya Singh, former Member of the NSAB; Dr. Kamlesh Bajaj, CEO, Data Security Council of India (DSCI); B J Srinath, CERT-IN; Salman Waris, a lawyer in a Delhi based law firm; Amit Sharma, DRDO; Dr. Ajey Lele, IDSA; Dr Cherian Samuel, IDSA and Kapil Patil, Indian Pugwash Society.(ANI)