Centre plans stronger defences for key data

Worried about sensitive information making its way to the Internet, the Home Ministry is upgrading policy to secure government data and control access to it.

A senior Ministry official said earlier the files were locked in a cupboard and accountability could be fixed, but with the advent of Digital India, there was ambuguity over a number of issues.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who recently presided over a meeting to review the evolving cyberthreats, directed that the National Information Security Policy and Guidelines (NISPG) be upgraded and updated for the government sector.

In 2013, cybersecurity, which was the sole preserve of the Home Ministry, was moved to the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) under the Prime Minister’s Office. The critical infrastructure was moved to the National Technical Research Organisation and the non-critical part to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

An official said the new policy would cover issues pertaining to the Official Secrets Act.

Hardware issues

“There are issues relating to physical security of a computer. Like what happens if the device becomes obsolete? What about the hard disk, will it be destroyed before the computer is discarded? Then there are issues relating to the network as well. If information is riding on own cyber cable, then everything can be encrypted, but if it is riding on a commercially available one, then you will have to make sure that guidelines are complied with,” the official said. Home Ministry spokesperson Ashok Prasad said the consultation process to revise the guidelines was on.

“Basically, the whole policing system in India that began in 1860 is now being replicated in cyberspace. It will evolve gradually. The new guidelines will also take care of that,” the official said.

“If 50 people are accessing some data, it requires a wider security network. Audit trail has to be left, red flags should be raised,” the official said.

Gulshan Rai, Chief Information Security Officer in the Prime Minister’s Office, said there were at least four versions of NISPG. “We need to take cognisance of the threats and accordingly upgrade the measures,” Mr. Rai told
The Hindu
.

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