Indian Government launches CERT for agency providing ICT infrastructure for central, state and district administrations

On December 11, the Indian Minister of Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, inaugurated the “NIC-CERT” (National Informatics Centre-Computer Emergency Response Team) NIC-CERT is an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) under Digital India.

The National Informatics Centre (NIC) is responsible for building and operating government ICT infrastructure at all levels, from the central government down the state and district levels. The agency also builds the e-government applications enabling digital interactions between the citizens and governments.

Through its ICT Network, "NICNET", NIC has institutional linkages with all the Ministries /Departments of the Central Government, 36 State Governments/ Union Territories, and about 688 District administrations of India.

The Indian Government has been making more of its services accessible online, as part of its Digital India push. But this is also exposing citizens to ever proliferating threats and vulnerabilities in today’s cyberspace.

A CERT specifically aimed at enhancing the security posture of NIC and hence the Government is expected to lead to enhanced trust of the citizens, as the services offered to them would be configured in a framework that is secure by design.

NIC-CERT aims to upscale the Government’s ability to protect its data. NIC-CERT has been setup with the objective of creating a comprehensive framework that integrates world-class security components and inbuilt threat intelligence for detection, prevention and incident response. Using the tools, NIC-CERT will be able to correlate events, generating a comprehensive image of the attack surface and identifying vulnerabilities and possible exploits. The gathered intelligence assimilated with the knowledge of the open web would give the CERT the ability to predict and prevent attacks.

The NIC-CERT will operate in close coordination and collaboration with sectoral CERTs and more so with Cert-IN, which is the national nodal agency for responding to computer security incidents, as and when they occur.

Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that in the recent past there has been an exponential growth in cyberattacks leading to concerns of data theft, which led to the Government drafting the Data Protection Act. He also stated that NIC has been doing a remarkable job of securing the Government cyberspace for a long time and by setting up this centre they have taken their experience and expertise to the next level.

He emphasised that for responding to the cyberattacks of today, the Government needs an agile and responsive eco-system.

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