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According to Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and Information and Technology, India anticipates 13.91 lakh cyber security incidents by 2022.
Due to the fact that these figures only include data that was reported to and monitored by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), they still do not provide a complete picture of the country’s cyberattacks.
However, the number of reported cyberattacks declined in 2022, from 14.02 lakhs in 2021. According to government statistics, 2.08 million events were reported in 2018, 3.94 million attacks occurred in 2018, and 11.58 million cybersecurity incidents were reported to CERT-In in 2020.
The Minister also revealed the results of a technical investigation into the AIIMS Delhi cyberattack. According to Chandrasekhar, the attacks were the work of unknown threat actors and were caused by faulty network segmentation.
“According to the analysis, servers in AIIMS’s information technology network were compromised by unknown threat actors due to improper network segmentation, resulting in operational disruption due to critical application non-functionality.” “CERT-In and other stakeholder entities advised on necessary corrective measures,” according to the response.
The breach affected up to five AIIMS Delhi servers, and the hackers encrypted 1.3 Terabytes (TBs) of data.
In November of last year, the country’s largest medical institute was the target of a significant cyberattack that halted activities at the crucial national infrastructure. The Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) department of the Delhi Police eventually registered a case of extortion and cyber terrorism. The case is being investigated by CERT-In, the CBI, and the NIA, among other agencies.
In response to a query from MP Sushil Modi, the MoS further stated that the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) has already developed a draught National Cyber Security Strategy to address concerns linked to national cyberspace security.
The government stated that it is ‘fully aware’ of different cybersecurity events and has taken various actions to ‘improve the cyber security posture and kerb cybersecurity mishaps.’
The Cyber Security Challenge
While the government said that CERT-In logged only 13.91 Lakh cybersecurity incidents in 2022, a top Google executive estimated the number in August last year at 18 Mn cyberattacks per day.
Following former BJP politician Nupur Sharma’s statements against Prophet Muhammad during a television discussion, hackers from Indonesia and Malaysia launched an all-out cyberwar against India last year.
According to a report, cyberattacks against Indian government organisations will more than treble in 2022, with India being the most often targeted country in the world in this regard. Furthermore, many Indian entities, including Oil India Limited, Ladakh Power Grid, UIDAI, and others, have allegedly been targeted in multiple such attacks in recent years.
Due to inadequate cybersecurity regulations and easy access to a vast amount of data, Indian government entities have been a soft target. With subpar firewalls implemented to protect important user data in many circumstances, both state and non-state actors have recently sought to attack system weaknesses.
While the government claims to have increased protections and controls, it is unclear how successful these new firewalls will be. With most estimates predicting a more difficult year for India in terms of cybersecurity, all eyes are now on how well authorities can combat such attacks.