India experienced a sharp increase in cyber attacks, by nearly 200%, last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 1.5 million cybersecurity incidents were reported in the last two years and 1.15 million of them were recorded in 2020 alone, the government informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
According to the information reported to and tracked by the CERT-In, 394,499 and 1,158,208 cybersecurity incidents were observed during 2019 and 2020, respectively. This represents almost a two-fold increase in cybersecurity incidents over the last two years. A total of 3,137 cybersecurity-related issues on average were reported every day during the year.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, G Kishan Reddy said the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) is serving as the national agency for responding to cybersecurity incidents in accordance with the provisions of Section 70B of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
As per official statistics, around 115,000 cyber-attacks were reported every month from September to December, coming to nearly 460,000 cyber attacks during these four months.
The country’s national cybersecurity agency has recorded a spurt in cybersecurity threats over the last few years, with 53,117 cases of cyber attacks in 2017, which rose to 208,456 in 2018 and 394,499 in 2019.
Researchers and experts have indicated that cyber-attacks are likely to increase in 2021 and sectors, including education, healthcare, manufacturing could bear the brunt.
Reddy said the CERT-In receives inputs from its situational awareness systems and threat intelligence sources about malware infections in networks of entities across sectors. Whenever any incident comes to the notice of CERT-In, it issues alerts and advisories to the entities concerned and sectoral Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) for remedial measures, he said.
The government has also instituted regular cybersecurity audits and mock drills, among other measures. The National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) is working to create situational awareness of existing and future cybersecurity threats and phase I of the programme is operational, the ministry said.
With PTI inputs