Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Feb 21, 2004
DIT initiatives to inspire confidence in network security
Thiruvananthapuram , Feb. 20
THE Department of Information Technology (DIT) has launched nine initiatives in information security with a view to generating public confidence in network security in the country, according to Dr A.K. Chakravarti, Advisor, DIT.
Delivering a special address at the inaugural function of a workshop on Cyber Forensics organised here jointly with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Thiruvananthapuram and the National Police Academy, Dr Chakravarti said the IT Act 2000 constituted the topmost among these initiatives.
Implementation of the Act spawned the availability of what he called as legal tools for generating confidence in a networked security. The trust in the electronic environment was reinforced with the licensing of a number of certifying authorities, establishment of digital signatures and putting into place of the private key infrastructure.
The second initiative was the setting up of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team as part of the international CERT community. It has a mandate to respond to computer security incidents reported by the entire computer and networking community in the country, apart from creating security awareness among the Indian cyber-community.
There has also been increased focus on compliance to information security best practices helped in no small measure by the efforts of the Symposium on Computing Theory. Similarly, cyber forensics has emerged as a major area of research and development leading up to the release of the manual for cyber crime investigation and renewed efforts at the collection and treatment of digital evidence.
Research and development in information security has received unprecedented attention in recent times. The National Informatics Centre has launched its own initiative on e-governance and information security. The DIT has developed a plan of action on human resources development in the field of information security. The DIT would continue to give added emphasis to best practices studies, Dr Chakravarti said.
In his inaugural address, Mr Lakshminarayanan, Additional Secretary, DIT, said his department was actively pursuing a proposal to set up a National Centre for Cyber Forensics at CDAC, Thiruvananthapuram.
The police and national security agencies need to be equipped with sufficient tools and expertise to effectively deal with an increasing wave in cyber crimes, Mr Lakshminarayanan said while formally releasing the cyber forensics tools developed by CDAC, Thiruvananthapuram, and the manual for cyber crime investigation evolved by the National Police Academy, Hyderabad. Cyberspace is being increasingly violated by the spread of virus menace, denial of service attacks, identity theft, online credit card fraud and child pornography.
The NPA manual would help law enforcing agencies to seize, acquire and analyse digital information. It also deals with the best practices to be followed while dealing with cyber crimes.
Delivering the keynote address, Prof N. Balakrishnan, Chairman, Division of Information Sciences at the Supercomputer Education and Research Centre, Indian Institute of Science, said the country was emerging as one among the most virus-prone cyber economies.
There is a strong correlation between political/religious activism and cyber attacks. There have been 197 network attacks in the country during the last four years, despite the fact that it is hardly featured among the most networked. Also, the countrywide defacement of Web sites has been more pronounced in the country than, for instance, even in Pakistan.
According to Mr T. K. Viswanathan, Secretary, Union Department of Legislature, the IT Act 2000 took 14 months to be completed and underwent 150 revisions. Digital revolution has spawned complexities that have created challenges in the administration of law. Especially so since law always lagged the constantly evolving technology by a huge mile. Lawyers have found it difficult to track, much less adjust to technological changes.
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