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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
India looks to protect cyber assets
Software programmer
Move to protect data and e-transactions
Indian presidential candidate Abdul Kalam has urged the country's IT industry to protect the country's knowledge-based assets.

Mr Kalam, a scientist who helped transform India into a nuclear power, called for a national security system to help prevent attacks on the country's IT and communication networks.


Our ancient knowledge and culture should be protected against multiple attacks from many directions

Abdul Kalam
In a related development, the Indian Government has set up a body to look into IT security and protection of electronic transactions.

In the past two years, India has been arming itself with legislation to help crack down on cyber crime.

Protection

Mr Kalam said that India's communication and information networks would have to be protected from electronic attacks through surveillance and monitoring, as well as through the use of technology.

"Our ancient knowledge and culture should be protected against multiple attacks from many directions," he said.

"With India carving a niche for itself in information technology, the country is uniquely placed to capitalise the opportunity to transform into a knowledge society," he added.

Mr Kalam is the leading contender for the post of India's president and has said he is keen on spreading the country's scientific and technological skills across society.

Resisting hackers

As part of its efforts to contain cyber crime and protect itself against electronic attacks, the Indian Government has set up the Society for Electronic Transactions and Security.

Infosys headquarters, Bangalore
India's software industry wants more protection
Its members are drawn largely from India's influential IT industry and from the scientific community.

Dr R Chidambaram, the government's chief scientific advisor, said the body would identify technologies and systems to protect against threats such as hacking, e-mail bombing, hoax-virus attacks etc.

"As benefits of internet are increasing, so are the threats: threats to security of information and privacy," Dr Chidambaram said.

"Hundreds of hackers are active on the internet trying to exploit vulnerabilities to steal information for monetary gains or actively engaged in defacing websites of well-known organisations for cheap publicity."


As benefits of internet are increasing, so are the threats

Scientific Advisor, R Chidambaram
During recent tension between India and Pakistan, several Indian websites were hacked allegedly by Pakistani groups.

In 2000, India enacted legislation aimed at curbing cyber crime.

Anyone convicted under the law faces stiff fines and up to three years in prison.

The move to set up a security body has been welcomed by the IT industry.

The chairman of India's National Association of Software and Service Companies, (Nasscom) said recent events, such as the World Trade Center attack, had raised security concerns.

"It is important that the government and private sector come together and develop indigenous solutions to protect the vast amount of government and industry data that resides in public networks like the internet," Nasscom chairman Arun Kumar said.

See also:

19 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
23 Jul 00 | South Asia
17 Apr 02 | South Asia
24 Oct 01 | South Asia
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