Cyber Security Of Indian Satellites Needs War Level Strategy

Satellite Cyber Security

We need satellites for communications round the year in an uninterrupted and qualitative manner. We also need them for military and space research purposes. But satellites are not cheap to built, launch and maintain. Also satellites, like other communication systems, are also prone to cyber attacks. Just imagine a country has done all the hard work to put a satellite in the orbit and some rouge nation or cyber criminal cracks it and takes its complete control. Such person/nation can do whatever he/it decides to do with it. So cyber security of Indian satellites is of paramount importance and it is good that Indian government has been protecting them as critical infrastructures.

However, India is not doing enough as per its potential. We are not doing enough on the front of cyber law and cyber security legislation, we are not doing enough on the front of cyber security policy, we do not have dedicated cyber warfare and cyber espionage policies, etc. There is tremendous scope in these fields and what is encouraging is that Indian government has decided to formulate the Cyber Security Strategy of India 2020.

We have been suggesting since long that we need dedicated and highly specialised initiatives in these fields. We should stop merging everything into a single code and try to make it workable. That is a highly defective strategy and Indian government must abandon this practice as soon as possible.

We are not saying this thing for the sake of saying and we are also willing to act in this regard. We are not only working in the direction of providing international cyber security legal services but we have also launched dedicated portal for online skills development in the fields like cyber law, cyber security, cyber forensics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, privacy and data protection, etc. Our TeleLaw Project is managing the cyber security related legal services globally while our online skills development portal is managing the training and skills development aspects.

Now coming back to the aspect of cyber security of Indian satellites. To get a robust and resilient cyber security of Indian satellites we must understand that claiming that anything is hack proof is a big mistake. It is not enough that a particular system is not connected to the Internet and is air gapped. It is also not enough that such a system is additionally using end to end encryption. No matter whatever cyber security and security system we may use, a system can be breached and taken control of.

The safest bet is to let the white hat community attack a dummy satellite or system and plug any weaknesses in the security of the same, if discovered. India is a land of coders and technical experts. They have been testing foreign platforms and are also earning handsomely as booty for exposing weaknesses in these portals. We can use the same intelligent community to strengthen Indian cyber security. But that is a difficult thing to implement as we lack a political will in this regard and there is also a policy vacuum. Let us change this for the betterment of all and if that is already implemented by Indian government, we welcome such a pro active step.

As far as our contribution and role is concerned, we recently launched two legal entities named PTLB Projects LLP (EduTech) and TeleLaw Private Limited (LegalTech and TechLaw). We were amazed to see the level of commitment that Indian government is showing to Indian startups. Both our entities have been recognised as startups by not only DPIIT but also MeitY. So there is an absolute commitment by Indian government to help startups in every possible manner. Be it technical assistance or taxation and regulatory benefits, Indian government has done the best it could have done. The only difficulty that we faced is that the portals meant to help MSMEs and startups in getting financial assistance and other facilities are completely out of the sync with the present working conditions and realities of MSMEs and startups. They must be better managed by a committed team of support and once that is done India would be number one in the startups and unicorn creations.

So whether it is enactment of cyber law and cyber security laws or inculcating skills among various stakeholders in techno legal fields, we are committed to contribute our level best. But the final call is for the Indian government to take as we have already done what possibly could have been done in this regard. Let us hope for the best.

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