Having suffered repeated attacks by hackers from across the globe, the Indian government has decided to turn to people who can fight them best—hackers themselves. The Union ministries of home affairs and information, communication & technology are backing a move by the Information Security and Analysis Centre (ISAC), a not-for-profit group based in Mumbai, to launch a pool of hackers who will be trained to protect India’s critical infrastructure, including the banking, power and telecom and space research sectors, from cyber attacks. The National Security Database (NSD) will be launched next week at a hacking conference in Mumbai.
Alok Vijayant, director of the information dominance group at the National Technical Research Organisation, the nation’s chief technical intelligence monitoring authority, says NSD should not be “trivialised” by describing it as just as a group of hackers. “Supported by the government and the industry, NSD is a good initiative, since it will provide a readymade database of the most credible security professionals. This is more so because information security is a domain where individuals have the skills and not companies and they tend to regularly move from one firm to another.”
Hacking attacks targeting India have risen dramatically, especially in the last few years, and have gone beyond just defacing websites. Most of these attacks are thought to have originated from within China and Pakistan. In 2010, researchers from the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto found out that a China-based computer spying ring had gained illegal access to Indian government computers and had ferreted out sensitive information related to defence, foreign affairs and the Dalai Lama. The same year a computer worm called Stuxnet, which infects Siemens industrial software and equipments, was reported from across India and suspected to have damaged ISRO’s INSAT-4B satellite. And in July this year, a group of hackers released copies of sensitive correspondence between representatives of the Indian embassy in Moscow and a local military hardware manufacturer.
According to Dominic K., a cyber security expert and a core team member of ISAC, the database will provide an “ecosystem that encourages cyber security specifically focused on protecting India’s interests. Wars in the future will not be fought with guns and bullets but with bits and bytes”.
Interested hackers will be recruited into the NSD after appearing for an exam that will be held at regular intervals and will cost Rs 25,000 for every attempt. Training will be provided for free. Once selected to join NSD, they will be paid a monthly stipend. Some of the domains they can specialise in include fraud investigation, digital forensic analysis. The government will also, from time to time, specify areas where skills may be needed to be built. And given that they will be working for the government, these hackers, according to the promoters of NSD, will also be provided with a legal cover for their hacking activities.
While the government has engaged the services of hackers before, NSD is perhaps the first time it is going to depend on a readily available and structured database of hackers. Given that they will be handling sensitive information, ISAC director Rajshekhar Murthy says it is necessary to have people who are not only competent but also have a high degree of trustworthiness and integrity. “The selection process will involve examination of references, technical skills, criminal history, and even psychological assessment to generate a credit report for security clearance.”
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
boss, any quota for reservation for OBC, BC and minorities in NSD?
The best way of recruiting sarkari hackers is to invite them to attack a server. All who succeed in hacking it should be offered a job. As simple as that.
Are our bureaucrats, Mr. Rajshekhar Murthy included, able to think out of the box and convince their political masters that the conventional methods of recruitment for Government jobs are antiquated and not suitable in the post-IT revolution era?
What kind of a place is Murthy, India? Can you give me the Google map location for it?
What kind of a director are you, who writes a comment post in response to an Outlook article, and expect your credentials to be deemed authentic? Do you know how to set up a fake reader identity on Outlook magazine?
By the way,, my place is here. And my parents are Onions too, bwahaha.
Loved that Prashath!
Rajshekhar Murthy, I am convinced that you indeed are a Sanghi (that is a special designation in Indian secular sphere. Love it or hate it, but you are a Sanghi).
You upper-cast Brahmin boy (oops I don't know if you are, but I don't care, You Are), hell bend to destroy the untouchable constitution written by one and only Dr Ambedkar.
How dare you!
Dear Dr Murthy,
Just went to check MalCon website, Here is an excerpt of the speakers:
Peter Kleissner - Windows 8 Bootkit and Art of Bootkit development
*please note that the speaker’s travel is not confirmed yet – as the VISA application is still pending for approval by authorities*
This is how Indians Govt treats scientists. Same for the French Mathemetician Demailly who was denied Visa for the IISc Conference. Its a very sad day for India.
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