Cyber threats are alive and can impact every section of the society: NSA Ajit Doval

NEW DELHI: National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on Friday said that use of cyber space by terrorists and criminals is a threat to a converged and connected world and sought greater cooperation between various countries, businesses, and other stakeholders to counter the menace.

“Never before has there been any change which is so wide in its expanse, and which can affect the lives of so many people… (but) if it provides you global connectivity, it also provides global connectivity to the terrorists and criminals. It also provides connectivity to the people who want to subvert the minds and hearts of young generation and take them to a certain path of thinking,” Doval said at the Global Conference on Cyber Security (GCSS). “How to control this is the real threat?”

He said that the threats from cyber world are alive and have the potential to impact every section of the society. “It is expanding too fast, (and) in every walk of life … It could add criminality not only in the areas of trade, commerce and bank frauds, but also pollute the minds of our children,” he said.

Doval said that the threats from the cyber world are unique in their manifestation. “It is something that has never happened in this globe before … in the virtual space, there is no sovereignty and barriers. Anybody who can get a computer and get connected to the cyber space is a stakeholder,” he said.

The rapid expansion and spread of the internet has provided cyber criminals with a unique opportunity which needs to be dealt with accordingly. “The problem is response to these challenges. That response is more vital because as in most great opportunities and assets, comes a concomitant problem,” Doval said.

Legal and legislative support to tackle the menace is extremely support. “But more than that is the thinking of a new jurisprudence,” Doval said, adding that getting a direct evidence to prove in a court of law in case of cyber-crimes can be very difficult. This may hold true in instances where cases need to be pursued against them, or expatriation is required. “… probably that will never succeed … The world will have to think, (and) the state will have to think … to deal with the threats, and with the challenges of cyber space violations,” the NSA said.

 States and the private sector will need to play a major role towards this. “We will have to come out with norms that help in better management of the cyber space,” he said, adding, “high-density areas (in terms of internet connectivity) will need to be given a greater role, a greater representation, and a greater say in this. “India for example is going to have 600 million users in cyber space by 2018. Or may be substantially high.”
 The NSA said that security organisations around the world will need to cooperate more, and have in place specific cyber-related security structures. “These should be able to exchange information fast, identify their importance, proceed against them, and give support to law-enforcement security agencies.”
He said that the cyber threat is only going to get bigger. “Let me warn the situation will be much more compound and complex as we get into the domain such of artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and internet-of-things (IoT) … they will create and compound these problems manifold… We may have to think of new structures, systems, technologies, inter-connectivity, governmental support, (and) multi-lateral and bilateral cooperation.”

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