New Delhi: Even as it prepares to deal with any emergencies due to the Covid-19 crisis, the Army is launching a cyber security exercise this month to assess its operational preparedness in the cyber domain.
In a recent interview to Economic Times, India’s National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) Lt. Gen. Rajesh Pant had said almost 4,000 fraud portals related to coronavirus have been created across the globe by cyber criminals and mafia organisations in the last two months.
The Army too had, in March, issued an advisory that said targeted campaigns on the theme of coronavirus have been undertaken in the last few weeks by India’s adversaries to compromise email or other accounts and also to infect official or personal IT assets of defence personnel.
Army sources told ThePrint the annual exercise will help assess the defensive cyber security preparedness of the Army, data security and in evaluating compliance to the Army’s existing cyber security policies.
“The exercise is aimed at looking for vulnerabilities in the network and coming out with corrective actions. The exercise will generally help take a relook at the existing procedures, verify if reported issues have been resolved and carry out additional checks to secure the force’s cyber infrastructure,” an Army source said.
While preparations for the exercise had begun last month, it is likely to conclude by November, after which a final report will be prepared, sources said. The exercise was conducted last year too.
Exercise to evaluate cyber awareness
Defence sources said cyber security exercises, in general, evaluate cyber awareness and precautions taken by every individual in the service apart from strengthening intra service networks from cyber attacks. These include phishing or distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which are a malicious attempt to disrupt normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic.
For three months in 2019, India faced the most cyberattacks in the world, according to a report released by Subex, a Bengaluru-based firm providing analytics to telecom and communication service providers.
The report, released on 27 February, notes that while the US was the most cyber-targeted nation in 2019, India held the top spot in April, May and June.
ThePrint had earlier reported that the Indian Army faced at least 23 cyberattack attempts last year. Lt Gen D.B. Shekatkar (retd), president of the think-tank Centre Knowledge Sovereignty India, had then said there would be an increase in cyberattacks from India’s adversaries in the years to come, which could be “deadlier” than terrorist attacks and can also affect a nuclear facility, or the air traffic control system, the power grid or even disable the war machinery during a war.