India's ISAC to Recruit Army of White Hat Hackers

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

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The Information Security and Analysis Center (ISAC) has initiated efforts to enlist the best and brightest among India's ethical hackers in an effort shore up the nation's cybersecurity posture.

The initiative was announced last month at the Malcon Conference which was established in 2010 by Indian hacker Rajshekhar Murthy. Murthy believes action is needed to thwart rapidly growing cybercrime activity that is plaguing the nation.

“If you see the statistics, less than 15 percent of Indians use the internet, but we are already No. 1 when it comes to virus infections and we are No. 2 in cyber crimes... As the government is trying to spread its reach through financial inclusion and e-governance projects, it's crucial that we are able to handle cyber crime. said Murthy.

The join the pool of ethical hackers, known as the National Security Database (NSD), prospective members will be required to pass a training and accreditation exam at a cost of about $500 - a potential barrier to recruitment.

“The NSD is a project to address the broader need, not just to identify the best security professionals in India... [but to see] where these professionals can assist the country not only in solving cyber crimes but in addressing policy issues and assisting in reforms to create better governance of IT security across critical infrastructure projects," said Murthy.

India is also looking to establish itself as a global leader in addressing cyber security issues. In October, Indian Communications & Information Technology Minister Shri Kapil Sibal and the EastWest Institute (EWI) hosted the Third Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit in New Delhi.

“India welcomes the decision of the EastWest Institute to bring this powerful forum to New Delhi. Working together with like-minded countries and businesses worldwide, India will work hard to assure that practical advances in cybersecurity are made and international cooperation advanced. The Government of India is pleased to see Indian institutions like FICCI and NASSCOM play a vital role as co-sponsors,” Minister Sibal said.

The New Delhi Summit was India’s first major international event addressing cybersecurity issues and will bring together experts from both the private and government sectors.

"To combat cyber crimes and make the cyberspace secure, there is a need for greater government-to-government collaboration on sharing of information, global vision to deal with hackers, legal framework that addresses the requirements at the global, and wider public-private collaboration," said Sibal.

EWI and their Indian counterparts have also initiated the “New Delhi Summit Process,” which is composed of three high-level working groups comprised of Indian and international experts. Each working group will address specific cybersecurity issues.

The first group will focus on ways to secure the global IT supply chain, which, while another will focus on standards, policy and regulations governing the cloud computing industry. The third working group will focus on secure encryption, taking into consideration the governments’ need for surveillance to foster national security.

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