Cyber Attack on Indian Agencies

July 11, 2017
9 months

Why in news?

There was a major technical snag in NSE that forced suspension of equity trading for nearly three hours.

What happened?

  • NSE’s cash segment could not open normally in the morning due to “technical reasons”.
  • The derivative segment was also shut down immediately after as it is not possible to continue trading in derivatives while the cash segment is shut.
  • After two false starts, trading resumed mid-day.
  • The halt has an estimated trade loss of about 7000 crores.
  • This is currently being investigated on the lines of a “possible cyberattack.”

What is a cyber-attack?

  • Cyber-attack is any type of offensive plan that targets computer information systems by malicious acts from an anonymous source.
  • It is to either steal, alter, or destroy a specified target by hacking into a susceptible system.
  • These can be labelled as either a cyber-campaign, cyber warfare or cyber terrorism in different context.
  • Cyber-attacks can range from installing spyware on a PC to attempts to destroy the infrastructure of entire nations

What are the events of cyber-attacks in India?

  • 72% of Indian companies faced cyber-attacks in 2015.
  • There has been an exponential rise in Ransomware cases in the last one year.
  • In 2016, security codes of around 32 lakh debit cards were breached.
  • Several users reported unauthorised transactions from locations in China.
  • There are increasing number of data thefts among the civilians.

What are the recent attacks?

  • The recent attack created cyber security threats to major Indian companies RJio, Airtel and NSE
  • RJio - Personal data such as Aadhaar details of the telecom users has been published in a website.
  • Airtel - The Radio Access Network went down for more than an hour in and around Delhi.
  • There was a network outage in Delhi/NCR and one of the network nodes had been corrupted.

What is the reason for the vulnerable cyber systems?

  • Various telecom giants are using the telecom products which are manufactured from china.
  • Lack of importance given by government and private sectors in appointing cyber security professionals.
  • No proper understanding about the cyber space.
  • No ridged bilateral policies on cyber-attacks.
  • No Stronger framework to trace or punish the offenders.

How cyber issues can be addressed by the government?

  • The Home Ministry is preparing an internal cyber security policy as it is required under the national plan.
  • The government already started working on a customised cyber security policy for each ministry and department.
  • Strong MO U’s on Cyber security should be made between various agencies and neighbouring nations.
  • The exchange needs to have plans to handle minor malfunctions that affect one segment of trading.
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India, needs to include trading back-up, channels of communication and investor redress mechanisms.

Quick facts

Indian Computer Emergency Response Team

  • (CERT-In) is an office within the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • It is the nodal agency to deal with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing.
  • It strengthens security-related defence of the Indian Internet domain.
  • They exchange information on prevalent cyber security policies and best practices.
  • There are MoUs signed between nations by this agency.


Ransomware is a type of malicious software that threatens to publish the victim's data or eternally block access to it unless a ransom is paid.


Source: The Hindu, Business Line

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