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‘Cyber security has to be handled proactively’

In May 2015, the FBI came up with a new Child ID app, which allows users to to connect to the registry on sex offenders and fraudsters. However, Indian law enforcement agencies are still grappling with the risks posed by mobile phones, and the country, with its high youth population — estimated to be 64 per cent — will continue to encounter a host of cyber-related problems, for which it is not yet prepared.

“As a society, we have poor understanding of privacy, give away information at the drop of a hat, and are not yet ready to talk about sex with our children,” said Raghavan Srinivasan, Editor, BusinessLine, in a panel discussion on what India can do to educate its youth and children on cyber-security. The event — Interact — was organised by the WNS Cares Foundation in Bengaluru. The topic was moderated by Pervez Workingboxwalla, chief risk officer, WNS .

Imparting more education

While in the earlier era, innocuous information such as one’s name or residence address would stay confined to a few individuals and therefore assumed to be insulated from misuse, with the entry of mobile phones and the ubiquitous internet connectivity, that belief seems misguided. Others believe that part of the problem lies with the parents, who, due to their busy schedules, do not spend enough time with children, and prefer to give them a device.

“Parents should ask themselves whether they are giving (children) an internet-connected device too soon,” said Vijay Ratnaparkhe, President and MD, Robert Bosch Engineering. Ashutosh Vaidya, Chief Delivery Officer, Tata Technologies, agreed and added that parents need “education”. One cannot live with the mindset — “what I don’t know can’t be dangerous for me” — he said.

In India, there are other problems, most notably literacy. “In many schemes, the beneficiaries are often not literates, and care needs to be taken to avert cyber-thefts,” said Ashok Pamidi, CEO, Nasscom Foundation.

Others, such as Krishnakumar Natarajan, Executive Chairperson and Co-founder, Mindtree, stated that at the technology end, there needs to be a lot of rethinking if cyber-crimes were to be averted.

“The traditional approach of putting up systems and hoping that attacks will be thwarted won’t work. Instead, a proactive security system, which can detect possibility of threats before it happens, needs to be put in place.”

Ground realities

On the ground, however, there are many issues which render the existing cyber-security startegies null and void. For example, T Krishna Prasad, DGP and Chairman, Road Safety Authority of Telangana, pointed out that students don’t feel like highlighting cases of cyber-bullying as there are no counselling centres.

“Also, law enforcement agencies in States such as Karnataka, AP and Telangana have acted on these complaints, but the situation is abysmal in other States,” he said.

Source: The Hindu