Special Correspondent

Cites increasing threat from antisocial elements

Tie-up with institutions in Australia needed Meet in Delhi later this week

CHENNAI: Cyber security, including protection of information systems, should form an integral part of national security, Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India, R. Chidambaram, has said.

All sectors had a common information infrastructure, such as networking and storing of data, into which vulnerabilities could be introduced. Protecting this common resource was of strategic importance as cyberspace was now under increasing threat from antisocial elements who could disrupt information delivery systems.

He was inaugurating the second Indo-Australian Conference on IT Security (IACITS 2006) organised by Australian Education International-India and Indian Institute of Technology-Madras here on Monday.

Stressing the need for cryptological encoding as an integral part of information technology security, Dr. Chidambaram said new standards should be evolved for a robust security ecosystem involving judicious use of technology, policy and law.

While public-private partnerships could play an important role, a strong tie-up was needed between research and academic institutions in countries such as India and Australia, including partnerships between scientists.

The Centre was aware of the sensitivity and importance of protecting critical infrastructure such as information technology in an increasingly globalised world. Individual committees had been formed for sectoral information protection. A national level meeting was scheduled in New Delhi later this week to discuss issues of IT security. IIT-Madras had also been generating partnerships with other academic institutions in this regard. Information security has become very important as access to information can now be had by all, IIT-M Director M.S. Ananth said.

National Information Infrastructure Protection (NIIP) was an issue of critical national and international importance and there was an immediate need for security in supervisory control in management of such critical infrastructure, Australian High Commissioner for India John McCarthy said.

The Australian Prime Minister's visit to India later in the year was expected to further improve partnerships in such areas of collaborative research.

S.V. Raghavan, general chairman, IACITS 2006; John Webb, and Sheel Nuna, counsellor and senior manager of the Education, Science and Training unit of the Australian High Commission, participated.

The two-day conference, which is on at the IIT-M, is being attended by Indian and Australian experts and will feature papers on topics such as key issues in NIIP, legislation vs. self-regulation, security standards, role of industry in NIIP, industry-government collaboration and the role of local governing units in NIIP.