India is facing a surge of cyberattacks in its digital landscape, as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of new technologies and increased the dependency on interconnected networks. According to a report by Times Now, India witnessed a 2x increase in ransomware and IoT cyberattacks in the first half of 2023, and 36 websites of central and state governments were hacked during the same period. These incidents highlight the need for robust cybersecurity measures to protect the data and systems of businesses and organizations from cyber threats.
The challenges of cybersecurity in India
Some of the major challenges that India faces in strengthening its cybersecurity are:
- Lack of awareness and understanding: Many businesses and organizations lack the awareness and understanding of the evolving cyberthreat landscape and the severity of the damage that cyberattacks can cause. They often underestimate the risk of being targeted by cybercriminals and ignore the need to invest in cybersecurity solutions or update their security systems.
- Financial constraints: For many businesses, especially smaller ones, investing in cybersecurity solutions can be challenging due to financial constraints and uncertainty around the return on investment. Limited budgets often force them to compromise on their security infrastructure and resources, making them vulnerable to cyberattacks.
- Evolving landscape: The cyberthreat landscape is constantly changing with the emergence of new technologies and tactics by cybercriminals. Businesses and organizations need to keep pace with the changing scenarios and upgrade their systems and skills to counter the new threats. However, this can be costly and time-consuming, and may not be feasible for all.
- Lack of information sharing: Fear of reputational damage often prevents businesses and organizations from sharing information about cyberattacks with other stakeholders. This leads to a lack of transparency and collaboration, which hampers the collective effort to prevent and reduce the risk of cyberattacks.
- Complex IT infrastructure: Large-scale businesses and organizations often have complex IT infrastructures that span across multiple networks and devices. Maintaining uniform security standards and monitoring the system can be difficult and cumbersome. This gives cybercriminals an opportunity to exploit the gaps and vulnerabilities in the system.
The solutions to prevent cyberattacks in India
To prevent cyberattacks and build a cyber-resilient future, India needs to adopt a holistic approach that involves technological, human and organizational factors. Some of the possible solutions are:
- Cybersecurity as an investment: Businesses and organizations need to understand that cybersecurity is an investment that can protect their data and systems from cyber threats. They need to adopt technologies that can enhance their security posture, such as firewalls, anti-virus software, intrusion detection software and backup solutions. They also need to ensure that these solutions are updated and tested regularly to ensure their effectiveness.
- Training employees: Businesses and organizations need to ensure that their employees have sufficient training and awareness of cybersecurity. They need to train them in recognizing and avoiding potential threats, and foster a culture that emphasizes security. They also need to ensure that employees follow the best practices of cybersecurity, such as using strong passwords, updating software, enabling two-factor authentication, etc.
- Collaborating and sharing information: Businesses and organizations need to collaborate and share information with other stakeholders, such as industry peers, regulators, policymakers and cybersecurity experts. This can help improve the cybersecurity landscape by increasing the awareness, knowledge and preparedness of the cyber threats. It can also help create a common framework and standards for cybersecurity, and facilitate the exchange of best practices and solutions.
- Associating with cybersecurity experts: Businesses and organizations need to associate with cybersecurity experts who can provide them with the expertise and experience to deal with cyber threats. Cybersecurity experts can help them design and implement effective cybersecurity strategies and solutions, and provide them with the latest tools and techniques to counter the cyber threats. They can also help them identify and remediate the vulnerabilities and incidents in real-time, and provide them with tailored solutions to address their specific needs.