Indians using the Internet might be worried over the U.S. spy agencies snooping into their accounts and online data, but the government has set the ball rolling for creating its own multi-agency body — National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) — that would carry out “real-time assessment of cyber security threats” and “generate actionable reports/alerts for proactive actions” by law enforcement agencies.
Though the government won’t say that they would be able to look into your Facebook or Twitter accounts as and when required, the fact remains that the setting up of the federal Internet scanning agency will give law enforcement agencies direct access to all Internet accounts, be it your e-mails, blogs or social networking data.
“The NCCC will collect, integrate and scan [Internet] traffic data from different gateway routers of major ISPs at a centralised location for analysis, international gateway traffic and domestic traffic will be aggregated separately ... The NCCC will facilitate real-time assessment of cyber security threats in the country and generate actionable reports/alerts for proactive actions by the concerned agencies,” says a secret government note.
All top government spy and technical agencies will be part of the NCCC that would be set up at a cost of around Rs. 1,000 crore. “The proposed cyber security architecture envisages setting up a National Cyber Coordination Centre [NCCC] which would be a multi-agency body under Department of Electronics and IT,” says the note.
Other government agencies that will play an active role in the NCCC include the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), DIARA, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Department of Telecommunications.
Government sources said the government would also involve Internet service providers (ISPs) to ensure round-the-clock monitoring of the Internet, while expertise of other private sector organisations would be utilised when required. It will be India’s first layer for cyber threat monitoring and all communication with government and private service providers would be through this body only. The NCCC would be in virtual contact with the control room of all ISPs to scan traffic within the country, flowing at the point of entry and exit, including international gateway, they added.
Apart from monitoring the Internet, the NCCC would look into various threats posed by cyber attacks. “In recent months, we have seen growing cases of computer networks of government departments and organisations coming under cyber attacks. We have seen foreign spy agencies and hackers trying to get sensitive government data or hack important websites. For instance, hackers defaced CBI website and attempts were made to break into Indian Railways website. The NCCC would address these shortcomings,” said a senior government official.
Before the NCCC comes into being, the National Information Board (NIB) has mandated the Operational Group on Cyber Security to have dialogue with stakeholders and share information to prepare a road map for setting up the cyber monitoring agency.