What is cyber space? 

Cyberspace does not have a specific and formal definition, but it arrives at a common explanation that it is an electronic world created by interconnected networks of information technology and the information on those networks. The basis for cyberspace is the Internet as a universal and publicly accessible network. Cyber security


It is collection of tools, policies, guidelines, best practices etc. that can be used to protect the cyber environment. 


  • After land, sea and space, cyberspace has become the fifth domain. 
  • It is anarchic, not fully understood as terms of engagement not fully developed. There are no specific laws or international treaty that binds the countries together and provide certainty to their action. 
  • All elements of national infrastructure like social security, finance etc are now fused together and dependent on cyber domain. 
  • As per USA doctrine, in order to protect the cyber domain, it would go on for propionate attack on other domain: land, water, sea and space. 

Threats to cyber space 

  • Threats include: 
  1. a) Cyber crime b) Cyber attacks c) Cyber terrorism d) Cyber warfare e) It also includes issue of internet governance. 
  • While (a) is generally associated with individuals, the (b), (c), (d) are more institutional. (d) is state sponsored. 


International convention/treaty 

  • Budapest convention: 

o First international treaty on crimes committed on internet and 

other computer network. o India not a signatory stating that US drafted it without 


  • ICANN 

o Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers o Is a nonprofit organization responsible for coordinating the 

maintenance domain name system on the internet. o Till recently(2016) it worked closely with the US government. 

Importance of cyber security to India 

  • Cyber security is an important arena of internet when the country is moving forward towards a cashless society and digitization. 
  • Security becomes a challenge as now privacy is a fundamental right, as per SC verdict, and the rise in cybercrimes can lead to violation of private space and liberty of expression. 
  • Threat to National Security: Strategically important departments and locations connected with IT. Moreover, cyber space is being used for spreading propagandas, radicalization etc. 

Cyber Security challenges: Why India so vulnerable? 

  • Digital India: Major program that aims to use technology in every sphere of governance. 
  • India moving towards cashless and digitized economy. (Refer: JAM trinity
  • Cyber Warfare: In the modern world, cyber warfare is possible situation eg. Stuxnet virus attack on Iran. Major, threat comes from to India from China and Pakistan egs Hacking and defacement of government websites. 
  • Dependence on foreign equipment: India has little control over hardware. Most of the hardware comes from China. (ZTE, Huawei) 
  • Insufficiency of Indian laws: 

o The IT Act (2000) is not sufficient to deal with cyber security. o The POCSO act to protect child from harassment online has been growing but the conviction rate is only 2.5%. 

  • Lack of trained personnel in Cyber security, even though mandated by policy. 
  • Lack of awareness and education among public about such attacks. 
  • Early warning and detection: Despite Cert in, NTRO, NCIIPC etc, it remains unclear whether India has this capability to avert any cyber attack. Lack of coordination among various agencies. There is no National Security Architecture. Civilian bodies have their own agencies while armed forces have their own. 
  • Unrestricted information flow from India to west as the major companies that dominate the internet are US based. 

Steps taken by government: 

  • Cooperation with other countries. Mutual sharing of information and best practices. eg India UK collaborating for joint training 
  • CERT-IN: Indian Computer Emergency Response Team. It is the nodal agency to respond to cyber security incidents. 
  • NCIIPC : National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre. To protect Critical Info Infra in the country. 
  • Sectoral CERTS functioning in area of Defence and Finance. 
  • Cyber Security policy 2013. 

Way forward 

1) India should become signatory to cybercrime convention which puts a hurdle in 

dealing with trans-border crime particularly ie Budapest Convention. 

2) There is a need of cybercrime expert at important police-stations. 

3) Awareness program should be initiated at industry, school, and college level and 

even at law enforcement level and judiciary.

4)Build capacity centers nationally and internationally, create disaster recovery

centers, monitoring command centers outside India.

5)Effective and efficient role of national cyber security coordinator who heads the National Cyber Coordination Centre which intends to screen communication metadata and co-ordinate the intelligence gathering activities of other agencies.

6)Trained manpower.


In the last couple of decades India has carved a niche for itself in IT. Most of the Indian banking industry and financial institutions have embraced IT to its full optimization. Reports suggest that cyber attacks are understandably directed toward economic and financial institutions. With innovative, technology led programmes such as AADHAAR, MyGov, Digital India, Smart City etc the new India is the land of technological prowess and transformation. 

The need of the hour is that the Government and the private sector jointly have to give cyber security priority and work in tandem. 


Who governs the Internet today and how it should be governed ………. 

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