Vol. II, Issue 6

Vol. II, Issue 6

Date: July 02, 2021

The month of June has seen a number of cyber espionage attacks by intelligence agencies of China and Pakistan on India’s sensitive and critical systems. In an effort to address the exponential increase of cyber fraud and to provide a secure digital payments eco-system to its citizens, the Indian Government has operationalised a national Helpline number and its Reporting Platform, hosted by the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C). The standoff between the government and social media platforms over the implementation of the Information Technology (IT) Rules 2021 continued unabated. Speaking at an event, India’s External Affairs minister underlined that a meaningful debate on the responsibility and accountability of influential big tech/social media companies vis a vis privacy and freedom of expression concerns is essential for a resolution of this impasse. Trials of fifth-generation (5G) communications got underway in June, with the active participation of major telecommunications service providers (TSP) and approved equipment vendors.

On the international front, the threats of disruptive and destructive cyberattacks, including cyber espionage, and cryptocurrency driven ransomware, were on the agenda of summit meetings held in June. World leaders will need to shape a global framework to restrain state-proxies from attacking the critical cyber infrastructure of geo-political adversaries.

Reports of Chinese cyber espionage on high value entities in the US, including the telecommunications firm Verizon, the New York subway system and California’s largest water agency highlighted supply chain vulnerabilities.

To thwart attacks from adversaries, the European Commission has proposed a Joint Cyber Unit, to be launched by 2022, to serve as a hub for threat intelligence and as a first-responder to cyberattacks. While the new unit will cover both national security and corporate concerns, NATO will focus on military and diplomatic interests.

In Latin America, El Salvador became the first country in the world to grant legal tender status to Bitcoin, even as several countries, including China, are trying to curb the menace of crypto currency being used for criminal activities.

 A report titled ‘Cyber capabilities and national power: a net assessment’, that assessed the cyber capabilities of 15 countries in 7 categories, was released by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) on June 28.