As India moves towards a new reality due to the Covid-19 crisis, digital vulnerabilities have also increased. In an attempt to provide a safer digital world, the Karnataka’s Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security (CySecK) has flagged off an accelerator programme, HACK, for cybersecurity startups.
According to Karnataka government’s official statement, the accelerator programme has over 21 startups on board across three cohorts — 10x cohort, 0-1 cohort and virtual cohort. The applications for the programme were evaluated by an independent panel, which had representation from the government, academia, industry practitioners and investor community.
“The key objectives of the Centre of Excellence are to promote a cyber-safe and conducive environment for industry collaboration, address skills gap, build awareness and foster innovation in the emerging technology field of cybersecurity,” the official statement read.
The state government believes that cybersecurity startups in India have to face special challenges due to the lack of market maturity and the unavailability of skilled talent.
Therefore, through its first accelerator programme for cybersecurity startups, the Karnataka government is looking to support mature Indian startups to accelerate their growth through both government and market connections. Meanwhile, the programme will also support nascent stage startups to mature through innovative incubation ecosystems and marquee mentorship.
The programme was inaugurated on May 16 by additional chief secretary in charge of the Department of IT, BT and S&T, EV Ramana Reddy in a virtual event.
The Rising Cybersecurity Threats In Largely Affected Country
According to Data Security Council of India (DSCI) report, India has been the second most cyber attacks affected country between 2016 to 2018 with average cost per breached record mounting to INR 4,552 ($64).
However, with companies, governments and people moving online to carry on their day-to-day activities, the vulnerabilities to cybersecurity have also been exposed.
This month, data of 22 Mn users of edtech startup Unacademy was sold on the Dark Web. Data of the users of crowdfunding platform ImpactGuru has also been compromised fairly recently, the company had announced in an email to its customers. Meanwhile, Google’s Threat Analysis Group has also highlighted that its systems detected 18 Mn malware and phishing Gmail messages per day related to Covid-19, in addition to more than 240 Mn COVID-related daily spam messages.
Talking about work-from-home, National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) has also highlighted that several companies have relaxed their geofencing restrictions to allow employees to login from different locations, which has made such networks more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Besides this, cybersecurity firms like Cyfirma and Malwarebytes Labs have cautioned the government against the threat on India’s Covid-19 data from Pakistan-sponsored hackers.