In a bid to control cybercrime in the country, the government has set up National Cyber Research, Innovation and Capacity Building Centre in Hyderabad, Telangana. The minister of state for home affairs G Kishan Reddy inaugurated the centre on Tuesday (February 25) at the Central Detective Training Institute (CDTI) campus at Ramanthapur in Hyderabad.
The minister said that there is a need for such a centre with the proliferation of smartphones, internet services and consumer technology in everyday lives. CDTI is one of the seven verticals under Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C). The minister said it highlights the growing relevance of continuous research and innovation in the fight against cybercrime.
Reddy added that the government has anticipated cyber threat and has taken several steps in the recent past such as the dedicated division created in October 2017 under the home ministry. To further support these initiatives, the ministry has conceptualised such centres all across India. “Our aim, therefore, is to anticipate new domains of cybercrime and prevent them before the crimes actually take place,” he said.
The dedicated centre will carry out research and devise techniques to preempt those involved in cybercrimes. Reddy said, “With organisations like CCMB, CDFD, IIT, a slew of Defence establishments including DRDO in the government sector, a host of world-class IT companies in private sector, Hyderabad figures among the top cities of the world in IT development.”
The minister also said that the MHA is also working on setting up the Regional Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (R4C) at the state level. It will work in collaboration with I4C to further strengthen the cybersecurity capabilities of the nation. CDTI Hyderabad will prove to be a central hub for southern India.
India’s Poor Track Record With Cybersecurity
Despite Reddy’s claims about official measures and steps to boost cybersecurity, government data shows that in 2019 alone, India witnessed 3.94 Lakh instances of cybersecurity incidents. In terms of hacking of state and central government websites, CERT-In data shows that a total of 336 websites belonging to central ministries, departments and state governments were hacked between 2017 and 2019.
The Indian government was planning to unveil an official cybersecurity strategy policy in January 2020. However, there was no official announcement in this regard all of last month. Without an official policy, the government has taken disparate steps to boost cybersecurity and even announced grants for startups in this space.
According to Nasscom’s Data Security Council of India (DSCI) report 2019, India witnessed the second-highest number of cyberattacks in the world between 2016 and 2018. This comes at a time when digitisation of the Indian economy is predicted to result in a $435 Bn opportunity by 2025.