The tri-service agency has at least 1,000 employees and will set up units across the country; Meanwhile, the government is also trying to implement a new policy that will address key issues in cyberspace.
Two years after its announcement, the Defense Cyber Agency is now under the supervision of the Ministry of Defense in accordance with a written reply by Minister of State for Defense Ajay Bhatt in Lok Sabha on August 4, 2021. He replied to a question from the MP of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Shyam Singh Yadav, in the monsoon session of Parliament.
Why is it important? The frequency of cyber attacks has increased exponentially in recent years, especially during the pandemic. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) reported a total of 7/6/220 Cybersecurity incidents in the first half of 2021, according to MeitY. Cyber attacks are also becoming more sophisticated, in which victims suffer acute financial losses. Cyber attacks on critical infrastructure can have serious national security implications if not prevented or investigated by government agencies.
What is the Defense Cyber Agency?
The Defense Cyber Agency was created by the. developed Indian government in Cooperation with the armed forces according to a report from the news portal Qrius. The report states that the agency’s goal is to combat the growing threat of cyberattacks from countries like China and Pakistan. Here are a few more details about the agency:
- It’s a tri-service agency with over 1,000 Personnel from the three wings of the Defense Forces – Army, Navy and Air Force.
- The members report to the Chairman, Chief of Staff and work closely with the National Cyber Security Advisor. Rear Admiral Mohit Gupta was appointed first head of the DCA.
- The agency’s units will be deployed across the country to decentralize cybersecurity efforts and resources, but they will focus on military-related cyber issues rather than civilian ones.
- The agency was after Ministries of Home, Law and Defense websites were allegedly hacked in 2018, prompting the Cabinet Committee on Security to release funds to create three agencies, including the Defense Cyber Agency.
More details from the Defense Department’s response
“The government has approved the establishment of a Defense Cyber Agency under the aegis of the Department of Defense. This agency is now fully operational. In order to ward off cyber threats, all three services have set up their respective Cyber Emergency Response Teams (CERT), ”said MoS Ajay Bhatt’s parliamentary response.
When asked if the country had reported cases of cyber warfare over the past decade, the minister said that “there have been repeated attempts by various cyber threat actors to target our various sectors”.
He added that steps would be taken to detect and address these threats. “Adequate safeguards in the form of cyber audits, physical controls and guidelines have been put in place to ensure a robust cyber stance for the armed forces.”
National cyber security strategy in preparation
The Ministry of Defense also informed the Lower House of Parliament that the government was in the final stages of approving the National cyber security strategy that was in the pipeline since 2019.
The new directive aims to cover several aspects of cyberspace, including:
- Governance and data as a national resource
- Building indigenous skills
- Cyber audit
- Decentralization of cybersecurity responsibility
- Cyber insurance
- Internet of things
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