As per Information Technology Act, 2000, “Cyber security means protecting information,
equipment, devices computer, computer resource, communication device and information
stored therein from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification or
India’s Cyber Security Policy 2013 defines cyberspace as a complex environment comprising
interaction between people, software and services, supported by worldwide distribution of
information and communication technology devices and networks.
1.2. Cyber threats
Cyber threats can be disaggregated into four baskets based on the perpetrators and their
motives – Cyber Espionage, Cyber Crime, Cyber Terrorism, Cyber Warfare.
1.2.1. Cyber Crime/ Cyber Attacks
Cyber-attack is “any type of offensive maneuver employed by individuals or whole organizations
that targets computer information systems, infrastructures, computer networks with an
intention to damage or destroy targeted computer network or system.”
These attacks can be labeled either as Cyber-campaign, Cyber-warfare or Cyber-terrorism
depending upon the context, scale and severity of attacks. Cyber-attacks can range from
installing spyware on a PC to attempts to destroy the critical infrastructure of entire nations.
1.2.2. Cyber terrorism
Acts of Terrorism related to cyber space or act of terrorism executed using Cyber technologies is
popularly known as ‘cyber terrorism’.
“Cyber terrorism is the convergence of terrorism and cyber space. It is generally
understood to mean unlawful attacks and threats of attacks against computers,
networks, and information stored therein when done to intimidate or coerce a
government or its people in furtherance of political or social objectives, Further, to
qualify as cyber terrorism, an attack should result in violence against persons or
property or at least cause enough harm to generate fear, Serious attacks against critical
infrastructures could be acts of cyber terrorism depending upon their impact.”
It should be noted here that if they create panic by attacking critical systems/infrastructure,
there is no need for it to lead to violence. In fact such attacks can be more dangerous.
Besides, terrorists also use cyberspace for purposes like planning terrorist attacks, recruiting
sympathizers, communication purposes, command and control, spreading propaganda in form
of malicious content online to brain wash, funding purposes etc. It is also used as a new arena
for attacks in pursuit of the terrorists’ political and social objectives.
Cyber Security has assumed strategic and critical importance because of following reasons:
• Cyberspace has become key component in the formulation and execution of public policies.
• It is used by government to process and store sensitive and critical data which if
compromised can have devastating impact.
• Taking down cyberspace will result into disruption of many critical public services like railways,
defense systems, communication system, banking and other financial system etc.
• Several states are developing the capabilities in the area of cyber attacks which can alter
outcomes in the battlefield.
• Individuals are using internet based services at a growing pace making them vulnerable to
cybercrimes, such as- online bank frauds, surveillance, profiling, violation of privacy etc.
Government has taken a number of steps to acquire and increase capacity in the field of
cyber security. Some of which are discussed below.
National Cybersecurity Policy 2013
Information Technology Act 2000 (As Amended in 2008)
National Telecom Policy 2012,etc.