Cisco India recently inaugurated its Cyber Range Lab, a first-of-its-kind setup in India, aimed at training and build the skills necessary in security staff to combat new-age threats.
In a country like India, still discovering the Internet and Digital Commerce, and where the need for cyber security experts has been growing manifolds, this is an enormously important step towards providing cyber security. Cisco has four other such labs in Australia.
How this will basically work is that the lab will immerse people in simulated real-world cyber-attacks, with the objective of training them on how to properly prepare for, respond to and manage a broad variety of threats.
“The lab will use 200-500 different types of malware, ransomware and 100 attack cases to deliver realistic cyber-attack experiences”, said Dinesh Malkani, President, Cisco in India and SAARC.
Owing to a lack of training and skills required for security jobs worldwide, organisations are facing obstructions in deploying advanced security. It is a direct consequence of that the common man uses any technology – from shopping online, to banking online, to ordering food online – with blind belief and with an assumption that the merchant site is the one responsible to take care of his security.
This common man is met with stark disappointment when he later realizes that the systems in place on the merchant site might actually not be enough, that the internet is a dynamic space that is as vulnerable to manipulation as it is to innovation.
India, as a country, is in a special spot when it comes to cyber security. We’ve rapidly gone from 5th century B.C. to the 21st century A.D., practically overnight.
It wasn’t too long ago, that the only connectivity we had were dial-up connections – that while frustrating, were considerably more secure. Today, we have free Wi-Fi at a lot of places; from restaurants and institutions offering free Wi-Fi on their own behest, to ventures like Google’s program to bring free Wi-Fi to railway stations, and RailTel’s extension on the same. There is also a call for free public Wi-Fi in certain urban areas, especially the hot spots like Connaught Place, or Khan Market, in New Delhi, and similar places in Mumbai and Bengaluru.
When we do hail for free Wi-Fi, what we do not realize is that in exchange for the “free” we are placing our security at risk.
A not-necessarily-similar but equally noteworthy risk comes from the use of e-commerce platforms. While before demonetization, a select few internet savvy Indians used e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato etc. Most of these places also had a cash on delivery (COD) option for the skeptic Indians who preferred not believe in the security of online transactions.
Post demonetization, most Indians seem to choose the option to pay online, rather than pay cash on delivery. Which means that people who are not necessarily tech savvy are making transactions online, placing themselves at risk.
A completely different story is that of Paytm, and other e-wallets, that require a whole different paradigm for security.
Currently, in the country, goods and services, insurance, the banking system, and stock exchanges, face critical security threats. India is a country that has had the onset of technology quite suddenly, and not in a systematic manner. It is a country that does not have the necessary systems in place to deal with cyber crime, nor does it have the necessary system of cyber law in place, or that of cyber security. Whatever India does have, is basically a mish-mash of things that have been patched together in the time of need, when a problem arose and had to be solved.
In a space of this kind then, Cisco’s Cyber Range Lab, a cyber security venture, becomes quite important. If not be functionary in establishing the necessary system in place, this venture at least raises the right questions and concerns.
“With the cyber security framework in place now, the need is for active implementation to better handle the ever-changing threat landscape. An effective implementation of cyber security requires IT infrastructure and technical expertise for which the industry should play a responsible role” said Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator.
Also published on Medium.