Laws on cyber crime must be updated annually to keep pace with the fast-developing technology, according to Amaresh Pujari, Inspector General of Police (Intelligence).
Information technology, a sector that drove rapid economic growth, is vulnerable to hacking as several measures are still needed to strengthen cyber security.
A dedicated cyber security cadre in the police is also the need of the hour.
Addressing a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) conference on ‘Enhancing business efficiency through information security’ here on Wednesday, he informed the gathering of defence officials and industrialists that two of the biggest global cyber crimes in history had links to Indian companies.
As the investigation was still under progress, he refused to name the companies. Studies estimated that USD 250 billion was lost annually due to cyber crimes.
A major issue, he said, was under-reporting of incidents. Despite being a highly networked country, the number of cyber crime cases registered in India had risen from 288 in 2008 to only 2,876 in 2012.
To coordinate the efforts across the country, the police officer suggested emulating the U.S. model of setting up an Internet Crime Complaint Center. Also known as IC3, it is a multi-agency task force led by Federal Bureau of Investigation to serve as a central hub in dealing with cyber crime.
“All critical infrastructure must have secured networks. Indigenously developed hardware and software is a crucial need now as some widely-used equipment like routers are mainly manufactured in China and are known to have security issues,” added Mr. Pujari.
V.K. Pillai, General Officer Commanding, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala, said that work had already begun to create a defence cyber command modelled along the lines of the strategic command at Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Besides, land, air, water and space, the cyber space was now likely to emerge as the fifth theatre of war as it had the capability to shut down all other war tools.
Lieutenant General Pillai said that the participation of private sector in cyber security was important as they played a major role in many areas of the economy.
India suffered nearly 20,000 cyber attacks last year. The number of internet users is expected to touch 180 million by 2016 from a mere 1.4 million in 2003, he added.
Vishnu Potty, Vice-President of Cognizant Technology, said that with the advent of cloud computing, outsourcing and strategic alliances, many companies now had placed a large amount of their resources in the hands of third-party personnel.
A multinational textile apparel firm spent USD 256 million in settling lawsuits after the credit card data of its customers was stolen through an unsecured wi-fi network.
S.K. Sundararaman, Chairman of CII, Coimbatore Chapter, and L.V. Mohandas, consultant, CII (southern region), also spoke.