Strengthening India’s cyber security

:: M.Y.Siddiqui ::

Police and Public Order are State subjects in keeping with the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India making the States and Union Territories primarily responsible for deployment of adequate infrastructural facilities, state-of-the-art technology gadgets, manpower and training of police to combat the menace of growing cyber crimes. However, the Central Government supplements the initiatives of the States/Union Territories (UTs) through advisories and schemes for the capacity building of their law enforcing agencies.  According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 50,033 cyber crime cases were reported in 2020 over 44,735 such cases in 2019, showing increase of 11.8 per cent. SonicWalls 2022 Cyber Threat Report has come to some alarming conclusions for cyber crimes in 2021. Pretty much every category of cyber attack increased in volume over the course of 2021. Number encrypted threat spiked by 167 per cent (97.1 million attacks), ransom ware rose by 105 per cent to 623.3 million attacks, cyber jacking rose 19 per cent (97.1 million attacks), intrusion attempts by 11 per cent (a whopping 5.3 trillion and LoT malware rose by 6 per cent to 61 million attacks.

Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has provided Central assistance under “Assistance to States/UTs for Modernisation of Police Scheme” for acquisition of latest weaponry, training gadgets, advanced communication and forensic equipment and cyber policing equipment. States/UTs formulate their Action Plan as per their strategic priorities and requirements for combating cyber crimes. Rs.1653.20 crore has been released as Central financial assistance under the Scheme during last three financial years (2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21). Besides, MHA has provided Rs.99.89 crore under Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) Scheme to States/UTs for setting up of cyber forensic-cum-training laboratories, hiring of junior cyber consultants and capacity building of law enforcing agencies up to March 2022 on demand and furnishing of utilization certificates. As a result, all States/UTs have established cyber forensic-cum-training laboratories. Training curriculum for law enforcing agencies, public prosecutors and judicial officers for better handling of investigation and cyber crime awareness, forensics under CCPWC Scheme has been prepared.

 Cyber Forensics Lab at the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has been notified under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 as examiner of electronic evidence and equipped with tools to carry out analysis of digital evidences extracted from data storage and mobile devices. Cyber forensic lab is being utilized for analysis of cyber security incidents and supports law enforcing agencies in forensic analysis.  CERT-In also imparts training to the law enforcing agencies through workshops.

Union Government has taken several measures to strengthen cyber security of States/UTs. It has set up a state-of-the-art National Cyber Forensic Laboratory as part of the 14C at CyberPAD, Dwarka, New Delhi to provide early stage cyber forensic assistance to investigation officers of States/UTs police. A Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) platform called CyTrain portal has been developed under the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination (14C) for capacity building of police and judicial officers through online courses on critical aspects of cyber crime investigation, forensics, prosecution and related matters along with certification. More than 12,500 police officers from States/UTs are registered and over 3050 certificates issued through the portal. 

A National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal ( has been launched as part of 14C for the public for all types of cyber crimes with focus on cyber crimes against women and children. Cyber crimes reported on this portal are automatically converted into FIRs for actions by States/UTs law enforcing agencies concerned. A Citizen Financial Cyber Fraud Reporting & Management System under 14C has been launched for reporting of financial frauds and to stop siphoning of funds by the fraudsters. In addition, seven Joint Cyber Coordination Teams have been constituted under 14C covering the whole country at cyber crime hotspots with multi-jurisdictional issues by onboarding States/UTs to enhance coordination framework among their law enforcing agencies.

Whatever it is, cyber crime control by law enforcing agencies is poor as the servers of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are located abroad. Because of the foreign-based servers, jurisdictional problems hinder solving of cyber crimes. Union Government has been trying to get servers of ISPs located in the country for effective cyber crime control. Task is very challenging. So far, there has been no progress. For now, both the Central Government and States/UTs have set up right infrastructure development across the country to control cyber crimes. Within the constrains of servers for ISPs being located abroad, controlling cyber crimes effectively will depend on the keenness, swiftness and efficiency of the law enforcing agencies!


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