Personal computers `weak link` in cyber security: NTRO

Personal computers and other private users of data are "weak links" when it comes to implementing cyber security norms in the country

Last Updated: Sep 18, 2013, 22:20 PM IST

New Delhi: Personal computers and other private users of data are "weak links" when it comes to implementing cyber security norms in the country and agencies working in this domain are trying to plug this "critical" area, National Technical Research Organisation said on Wednesday.

Chief of NTRO Alhad G Apte at a seminar here said computer and cyberspace applications should be made convenient for the users and "just putting restrictions" on the consumer could prove to be counter-productive as the individual may then skip firewall mechanisms and inadvertently expose himself/herself to hacking like attacks.

"The users who use personal computers...This is a weak link...We have to focus on this. The users of PCs are unaware as they are using the (computer) system for their own work but this is also opening a gate for compromise (of personal data)," Apte said while delivering the theme address on `protecting India`s critical cyber security infrastructure` organised under the banner of a two-day `Secure Cities 2013` conference.

He said that the cyber threat, hence, directly reaches inside the computer system and this is a "critical area as how to protect client machines (from spam, malware and hacking attacks."

The NTRO is the country`s premier scientific and intelligence gathering body and is one the largest stakeholders in the cyber security protection and defence mechanism of India.

Apte said Indian cyberspace policing agencies also need to have a "proper control" over the technology of the security systems that are brought here from various sources, a hint that a lot of hardware and software is procured from foreign shores.

"Indigenous efforts have to be promoted and we should have control over whatever technology we have," he said emphasising more home-grown technology innovations to cater to the country`s critical cyber and computer space should be made.

The NTRO Chairman said a lot of incidents in the cyber world go undetected and capabilities of the sleuthing agencies should be such that these should be "timely detected".

He also said the managements of private firms and other bodies should themselves engage in framing and executing the cyber security policy in their organisations and not just leave this task to their Information Technology (IT) teams.

"The security thing (in cyberspace) does not get proper support from the management and this should be changed," he said.

The former BARC scientist, who took over the reins of the NTRO in July this year, said in these days of cyber security no organisation working in this area can work in isolation and all the agencies should harmonise their efforts to ensure a safe working cyberspace in the country.

He said cyber threats in the Indian space will "keep on happening" but the agencies will have to develop resilience and expertise against them.