Centre mulls review of IT Act to strengthen cyber security

December 13, 2016 11:03 pm | Updated 11:03 pm IST

NEW DELHI: The government is mulling to review the over 15-year old Information Technology (IT) Act to strengthen the cyber security infrastructure, following the push for digital payments post demonetisation.“The IT Act came out in 2000. Since then it has by and large served us well...Now, as we move towards digital economy, we are reviewing if there is a need to re-look at the IT Act architecture to make it more of a deterrent for cyber criminals,” Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

A “closed group”, under IT Secretary Aruna Sundarajan, has been set up look into various aspects of the Act in line with the changing times and reinforce the IT architecture.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), which will soon issue advisories to all digital payment agencies, including banks and e-wallets providers, “to harden security walls”, has also set up a separate ‘digital payments’ division under CERT-In — its cyber security arm — to monitor and strengthen the cashless transactions.

“All digital payments agencies have been asked to report to CERT-IN any unusual activity that they see on their platforms,” Mr. Prasad said. The division was set up recently after the November 8 announcement by Prime Minister to withdraw old Rs.500 and Rs.1000 notes from circulation.

The Minister said: “We are taking several measures to ensure a resilient system. We will audit IT infra of NPCI... have formed crack teams at CERT-In for immediate response ...There are CIOs who have been appointed in every ministry and govt department... We are undertaking massive program to create awareness among administrators, judges etc..

To strengthen cyber security, the ministry of electronics and information technology (IT) had recently approved 26 new posts in Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and five state CERTs.

The minister also met senior representatives of RBI as well as public and private sector banks, and NPCI. While asking the banks to incentivise digital payments and transactions, Mr Prasad said to address concerns of cyber security, the IT ministry will soon conduct security drill both for the banks and NPCI.

During the meeting Ms Sundararajan asserted that banks should set up an easy to access helpline dedicated for resolution of issues pertaining to digital payment transactions.

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