Vol. II, Issue 3
The month began with reports of a cyber breach of India’s power grid and other critical sectors since October 2020, coinciding with the Ladakh standoff. The incident, even though identified and responded to early, highlighted the strategic importance of securing critical sectors and crafting a suitable Indian response.
Social media plays an important role in the free flow of information. However, incidents of abuse and misuse which have challenged national security have prompted the Indian government to issue IT guidelines for grievance redressal and identification of unlawful elements. Technology solutions are being explored to balance privacy and security. Unilateral adoption of rules by social media platforms affecting the privacy of users are also being legally challenged.
A National Security Directive on the Telecommunication sector (NSDT), aimed at supply chain integrity, is under final stages of consultation with stakeholders. Telecom licensing norms have been amended to deploy telecom equipment only from ‘trusted sources’.
The recent SolarWinds intrusion in the US and the Microsoft email exchange server hack reported during the month, coupled with a US intelligence community report alleging influence operations by Russia, Iran and other adversaries during the 2020 US election, have highlighted deficiencies in cyber defence of US domestic networks, in spite of the US having a well-articulated cyber security strategy. The US NSC is readying an Executive Order for a cross domain response against adversaries, in collaboration with the private sector, to deter future attacks