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Home » CYBER-SECURITY: VULNERABILITIES IN PRESENT TIMES

CYBER-SECURITY: VULNERABILITIES IN PRESENT TIMES

GS 3, MAINS: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

  • In this era we need skills for surviving in digital environment. For security and safe use of digital resources, digital literacy has become a must.
  •  It empowers us with the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create and communicate information requiring both cognitive and technical skills.
  • Digital natives are always with laptops or smart devices in their hand, but how effectively they are using Internet for their capacity building is questionable. There are many problems like bullying, cyber crime, copyright issues, security threat and social unawareness among others.
  • Digitally literate individuals find meaning in digital information and make use of it; they exhibit the characteristics of cultural and social understanding, collaboration, the ability to find and select information, effective communication, E-safety, functional skills, creativity and critical thinking. Therefore, to avoid and prevent threats in digital world, digital literacy is essential, which helps in creating awareness in digital space.

TERRORIST ATTACKS:

  • Terrorists have always sought attention and that is what they receive from the social media. Whenever that is any terror attack, as a respond to the horrific events, people share images and videos of the devastating attack on social media. Social media thus spread the horror far and wide and unknowingly amplify the chaos that the terrorists intend to spread.
  • In the process, misinformation and fear spread. It further traumatises the families of the victims and also the public at large. Extremists use the social media to make an impact. They even use it to recruit, propagate and to connect.
  • Moreover, they rely on the regular social media users to spread the impact of terror further to a greater degree than what they themselves could have done in addition to confusing authorities with misinformation.
  • Misinformation, the rapid spread of false information through social media is among the emerging risks entitled in Global Risks Report. Fake news and rumours spread like wildfire in the social media and it is o increasingly used for militancy.
  • Social media sites have now initiated reporting procedures that allow users to flag any kind of content that supports terrorism which can be then removed. Also, the social networking sites today are playing an important role in counter-terrorism operations. The law enforcement authorities make good use of social media by keeping people informed regularly.

MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES:

  • Not only are we living in a highly connected world but also in a world that is highly mobile, given the amazing number of apps that we use on a daily basis.
  • A popular third-party app recently disclosed a data breach that compromised all of its 4.7 million users’ email addresses and phone numbers. This data can be used to execute large-scale phishing attacks meant to compromise a company's network and systems.

 

RANSOMWARE:

  • This ransom demanding malware is a virus which gets into your computer, either when you download an attachment containing the virus or when you visit any such website and click on a link.
  • Once it gets into your computer, it starts to encrypt all your files thereby rendering them useless. The only way to unlock your files is to get a secret key from the hacker by paying a ransom. And this ransom is usually demanded through bitcoin which keeps the payee anonymous.
  • Major universities, hospitals, businesses and even individuals have been part of such attacks.

 

BIG DATA:

  • We are actually living in exponential data times. Unfortunately, humans are the weakest link in cyber security chain. Amateurs hack systems but professionals hack people.
  • It is way easier to con people using social engineering techniques and make them reveal information rather than using tools and technology. The weakest link happens to be our password with which social accounts, mail accounts and millions of bank accounts have been hacked.
  • An analysis of 32 million breached accounts has revealed that people most often use insecure passwords.

 

 

NECESSITY OF DIGITAL LITERACY AND WAY FORWARD:

  • While all these makes the cyberspace a huge threat in the socio-economic environment of the present times, it has become imperative to create awareness in the use of digital platforms through digital literacy.
  • Digital literacy is an essential requirement for safe and secured use of digital resources which can contribute to efficiently tackle the cyberspace.
  • Digital literacy is a broader concept that consists of developing new skills and knowledge which provides awareness and advanced level thinking skills. It is extremely essential to be digitally literate for appropriate utilisation of digital information resources.

PREVIOUS YEARS UPSC MAINS QUESTIONS:

  • Discuss the potential threats of Cyber attack and the security framework to prevent it. (2017)   
  • Use of Internet and social media by non-state actors for subversive activities is a major concern. How have these have misused in the recent past? Suggest effective guidelines to curb the above threat. (2016)                    
  • Discuss the advantage and security implications of cloud hosting of server vis-a-vis in-house machine-based hosting for government businesses. (2015)                        
  • Considering the threats cyberspace poses for the country, India needs a “Digital Armed Force” to prevent crimes. Critically evaluate the National Cyber Security Policy, 2013 outlining the challenges perceived in its effective implementation. (2015)