Government soon to notify NCIIPC

To sensitise government agencies on cyber security, a conference of chief information security officers is being organised by NTRO in the Capital on Monday

pratap

Pratap Vikram Singh | December 15, 2012



To strengthen the cyber security of the country, the government will soon be notifying a central agency which will be looking after the cyber security of national strategic assets like nuclear plants, space stations and security establishment.

The notification for  national critical information infrastructure protection centre (NCIIPC), a body proposed to be set up under national technical research organisation (NTRO),  is in advanced stages of approval, according to M S Vijayaraghavan, advisor, NTRO. He was speaking to reporters here two days before a conference of chief information security officers from the critical sectors.

A breach of information system of the critical assets, performed  by state and non state actors through implanting destructive malware, could lead to its complete break down and thus could affect life of millions of citizens and also compromise national security. The recent attack on Soudi Arabia' state oil company, Aramco  led to complete wipe out of data from its 30,000 computers, harming its production abilities. In 2010, Iran' s nuclear plant in Natanz was attacked by malware called Stuxnet. Stuxnet, reportedly developed jointly by United States and Israel intelligence forces, is said to have delayed country' s nuclear programme by  two years.         

NCIIPC is being set up under the section 70A of IT (Amendment) Act, 2008, which calls setting up "an organisation of the government as the nodal agency in respect of critical information infrastructure protection". For other than the strategic sectors, like the power, telecom, among others, section 70 B of the Act has empowered computer emergency response team (CERT-In) to oversee the cyber space protection.

In its role, NCIIPC will have the responsibility of identifying threats in advance and monitoring the cyber space of the critical assets on a realtime basis. In wake of an attack, the agency will respond and contain the threat and if required, according to sources in NTRO, the agency can also retaliate.  

The protection centre will be headed by a director general, an official with the rank of additional secretary and above in the government.  The eventual reporting will be to national security advisor (NSA).

The government is also in process of setting up sectoral CERTs. These CERTs will function in coordination with NCIIPC.

Being organised for the first time, the conference is a first step towards sensitising the management of strategic and sectoral agencies for appointing CIOS and complying to the basic do's and dont's of cyber security, according to NTRO.

Shiv Shanker Menon, NSA, Ajit Seth, cabinet secretary, R Chidambaram, principal scientific advisor to government and P V Kumar, chairman, NTRO are among the key government functionaries to address the conference. Around 200 officials from all states and UTs are expected to participate in the conference.

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