interview | bhupesh daheria Business

‘India may require special courts to try cybercrime cases’

Criminal justice system has to keep pace with rapid changes

Bhupesh Daheria, CEO, Aegis School of Data Science, comments on the implementation of cybersecurity laws and the sectors vulnerable to cyberattacks, in an e-mail interview.

How vulnerable to cyberattacks is India’s democracy?

India, as a democracy, is highly vulnerable to cyberattacks. Hacking or manipulating the voting machines and voting process is less likely; but influencing the political, social values of voter groups and manipulating the popularity of top leaders or tarnishing their reputations through systematic disinformation, fake news will be rampant and quite visible.

What are the main sectors where the threats are visible?

Six sectors will be most vulnerable to cyberattacks and cybersupported physical crimes: (i) BFSI (ii) Healthcare (iii) E-commerce and retail (iv) Education — play schools to universities (v) Hospitality / Hotels (vi) Telecommunications.

The target objectives and the nature of violations will be diverse in each of these sectors — it could be harassment, bullying in education; corporate espionage. Banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector need to be guarded against the cyberattacks. The recent heist at Cosmos Bank raises the urgency of alarm on this need. Cybercrime is the most profitable business and attackers can smell money hidden behind weak cyberwalls. Protecting data centres and applications for a transaction is no longer sufficient.

Is there a lack of awareness at the individual and institutional level?

Inadequate awareness and lack of trained manpower is something we have been crying wolf on for long, with no success.

Is the IT Act sufficient to fight cybercrime? What are its weaknesses?

While [there are] major gaps in data protection and privacy… the bigger issue is inadequate enforcement of the IT Act.

The state police departments are not having adequate capacity to register, investigate and prosecute cybercrimes. We may require specialised ‘cyber courts’ to ensure speedy trial and conviction. If the speed of the criminal justice system is not commensurate with the rapid pace of [developments in] cybersecurity, it will embolden cybercriminals.

The biggest weakness is the inadequate regulation of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is a very specialised dual-use knowledge that can be put to good and bad use. Therefore, the profession of cybersecurity needs to be regulated like doctors, pharmacies, etc. Singapore has taken the lead and implemented this model.

Is cybersecurity a technology or a management issue?

Cybersecurity is a technology-cum-management issue. It is a very interdisciplinary subject and with many emerging areas like cyberlaw, cyberdiplomacy, cyberinsurance, etc.

Does the advent of IoT add complexity?

The advent of IoT certainly adds to the complexity of managing cyberattacks. With the all-pervasive implementation of IoT in Smart Cities and in critical infrastructure, the vulnerability to systemic breakdowns and social tensions will increase. The relation between cybersecurity and IoT is two-way — IoT can be used to strengthen cybersecurity also.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 1:47:44 AM |

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