Beef up cyber security: Demand in RS

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New Delhi, Mar 22 (PTI) A demand to strengthen cyber security to ward off cyber attacks from unfriendly nations was made in Rajya Sabha on Monday with an MP citing recent attempts to attack the Mumbai power distribution system and vaccine makers.

Raising the issue through a Zero Hour mention, nominated member Narendra Jadhav said cyber terrorism or attacks on critical information infrastructure is a matter of grave concern.

'Critical information infrastructure typically includes those facilities, those systems, those functions, whose incapacity or destruction can weaken national security, governance, economy and overall well-being of the country,' he said.

Jadhav said that cyber attacks can lead to huge financial loss, cause environmental damage and pose a threat to defence security and integrity of the country. The recent cyber attacks on Mumbai's power grid is a reminder of the vulnerability of India's key installations, he said.

'As reported in the international media, a hacker group called Red Echo -- one can guess the country of its origin -- has repeatedly targeted the control rooms of the Power System Operation Corporation Limited. The Maharashtra Government Cyber Police has found evidence of Trojan infiltration of the server of the Maharashtra State Electricity Board,' Jadhav said.

Another hacker group, Stone Panda has recently aimed its cyber modes at Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech to exfiltrate intellectual property, he said.

'This is nothing but proxy warfare. I don't want to be an alarmist but there is a non-trivial possibility that this could escalate even to a nuclear plant meltdown,' Jadhav said.

He urged the government to strengthen cyber security demonstrably. 'The time has come to give an effective, return signal. We must demonstrate to any country which is threatening our national security what we are capable of,' the MP said.

RJD member Manoj Kumar Jha demanded the re-issue of three to four crore ration cards that were cancelled due to non-seeding with Aadhaar.

BJP's Mahesh Poddar wanted the SRTMI - a dedicated platform for undertaking the development of disruptive and cutting-edge technologies for the iron and steel industry - to be set up in Ranchi, while Rewati Raman Singh of the Samajwadi Party demanded that construction be stopped on the Himalayan trek to protect the fragile ecosystem.

Shaktisinh Gohil of the Congress raised the issue of 393 Asiatic lions being killed in accidents on rail tracks during the last two years and wanted steps to be taken to prevent such deaths.

BJP member Ram Vichar Netam and Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar of the TDP raised the issue of construction of houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh respectively. PTI ANZ ANZ ANB ANB