India is one of the most rapidly growing countries around the globe with respect to technological advancement and digitization. The Digital India initiative as well as the lockdowns during COVID-19 pandemic have added fuel to this situation. However, this rapid technological development and increased dependency on the internet have resulted in a growing risk of cybercrimes. This has created a massive demand for a strong cybersecurity framework.
With the country’s critical infrastructure and government institutions being attacked day after day, the government of India has begun focusing lots of efforts and resources on reinforcing the national cybersecurity infrastructure and strategies. To this end, the government has launched several initiatives such as Cyber Jagrukta Divas, Cyber Surakhsit Bharat, Cyber Swachhta Kendra and more.
India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has launched the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center (I4C) to support Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) in handling issues related to cybercrime. It has also launched the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (NCRP) to facilitate the online reporting of cybersecurity incidents. Since around 60% of the complaints related to cybersecurity complaints are about online financial frauds, the home ministry has also rolled out the Citizen Financial Cyber Fraud Reporting & Management System (CFCFRMS) to prevent the theft of money by fraudsters.
Moreover, having come to the realization that careless mistakes, negligence, and lack of awareness amongst employees are some of the most common causes of cyber attacks in India. To address this issue, the MHA has launched the Cyber Jagrukta Divas initiative with the objective of generating sustained security awareness amongst the public. So, here is everything you need to find out about this promising new initiative.
What Does Cyber Jagrukta Divas Entail?
Launched by the Indian government’s Ministry of Home Affairs, Cyber Jagrukta Divas is an initiative brought under the I4C scheme with the objective of raising cybersecurity awareness among public sector undertakings (PSUs), banks, panchayat raj institutions (PRIs), universities, schools, etc. Under this initiative, the MHA and RBI have requested all the Indian states and union territories to observe Cyber Jagrukta Divas on the first Wednesday of every month, having commenced from April 2022 onward.
The exact guidelines stipulated by the Home Ministry are that the concerned institutions must carry out an awareness campaign each month for at least an hour. All the organizations under the umbrella of the Home Ministry have been requested to come up with a comprehensive annual action plan that underlines how they are going to celebrate Cyber Jagrukta Divas throughout the year to impart cybersecurity awareness.
How to Celebrate Cyber Jagrukta Divas?
All the institutions under the ministry’s purview are requested to celebrate Cyber Jagrukta Divas by conducting security awareness sessions during the period of 11 am to 12 noon (tentatively) once every month. According to the guidelines stipulated by the ministry, the annual action plan should focus on providing employees with the skills and knowledge they need in order to deal with cyber attacks. The day should be observed by generating cybersecurity awareness through seminars, quiz competitions, workshops, interactive sessions, creative sessions, best practices and case studies. These sessions should put emphasis on the basic protocols of cyber hygiene.
Suggested Coverage of Topics Under Cyber Jagrukta Divas
The Ministry of Home Affairs has even provided a list of suggested topics that should be included in an organization’s annual action plan for imparting cybersecurity awareness training. These topics have been categorized into four separate units. The annual action plan is expected to comprise these four units. However, all the concerned institutions have the flexibility to choose amongst the suggested topics for preparing their action plan.
Unit 1: Cyber Crimes and Safety
- Introduction to cybercrimes
- Kinds of cybercrimes: phishing, identify theft, cyber stalking, cyber obscenity, computer vandalism, ransomware, identity theft
- Spotting fake apps and fake news on social media and the internet (fake email messages, fake post, fake whatsapp messages, fake customer care/toll-free numbers, fake jobs)
- Internet ethics, internet addiction, ATM scams, online shopping threats, lottery emails/SMS, debit/credit card fraud, email security, mobile phone security
- Mobile apps security, USB storage device security
- Mobile connectivity security attacks (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Mobile as USB)
- Preventive measures to be taken in cyber space, reporting of cybercrime
- Forgery and fraud from mobile devices
- Cyber risk associated with varied online activities and protection therefrom
- Work on different digital platforms safely
- Online cybercrimes against women and impersonation scams
- Safety in online financial transactions
Unit 2: Concept and Use of Cyber Hygiene in Daily Life
- Browser security, desktop security, UPI security, juice jacking, Google map security, OTP fraud
- IoT security, Wi-Fi security, spotting fake apps on social media and internet (fake email messages, fake post, fake whatsapp messages, fake customer care/toll free numbers, fake jobs)
- Internet ethics, internet addiction, ATM scams, online shopping threats, lottery emails/SMS, loan frauds
- How to avoid social engineering attacks, debit/credit card fraud, email security, mobile phone security, mobile apps security, USB storage device security, data security
- Mobile connectivity security attacks (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi), mobile as USB, broadband internet security
- Preventive measures to be taken in cyberspace, reporting of cyber crime
Unit 3: Introduction to Social Networks
- Social network and its contents like blogs
- Safe and proper use of social networks, inappropriate content on social networks
- Flagging and reporting of inappropriate content
Unit 4: Electronic Payments and Safeguard Therein
- Concept of e-payments, ATM and tele banking
- Immediate payment systems, Mobile money transfer and e-wallets
- Unified Payment Interface (UPI)
- Cybercrimes in electronic payments
- KYC: Concept, cases, and safeguards
Why is Cyber Jagrukta Divas Important?
There is no shortage of reasons that support the importance of this cybersecurity initiative launched by the Indian government. The rising number of cyber attacks in the country, especially those targeting government institutions and critical infrastructure, is one of these reasons.
- According to the data provided by CERT-In, a total of 11.5 lakh and 12.1 lakh cybersecurity incidents were reported in India during 2020 and 2021 (up to October) respectively. Of these, 54,314 and 32,736 incidents involved various government organizations in respective years.
- A data breach on Air India in May 2021 exposed the personal data of 4.5 million passengers.
- A major Indian oil PSU suffered a cyber attack, which disrupted its operations in Assam and demanded a ransom of ₹57 crores
- In May 2021, the personally identifiable information (PII) and test results of 190,000 CAT applicants were exposed on the dark web.
- In January 2021, the COVID-19 lab test results belonging to at least 1500 patients were leaked along with their personal information.
- The personally identifiable information (PII) of over 500,000 Indian police officers was compromised and sold in February 2021.
- Over 70 public and private websites in India were hacked by a hacktivist group called “DragonForce Malaysia”.
In a Nutshell
The government of India has come up with the innovative Cyber Jagrukta Divas initiative for improving the cyber hygiene in the Indian banks and organizations, especially those in the public sector. This initiative enables employees of concerned organizations to deal appropriately with the rising trends of cybercrimes. In the long run, it is widely believed to be the most effective strategy towards preventing cyber attacks.