Monthly Archives: December 2013

Huawei Accused Of Breaching National Security Of India By Hacking Base Station Controller In AP

Huawei Accused Of Breaching National Security Of India By Hacking Base Station Controller In APCyber crimes and cyber attacks have become a common phenomenon in India. However, their intensity and sophistication is increasing day by day. This is evident from the Cyber Law Trends and Developments of India 2013 (PDF), Cyber Security Trends and Developments in India 2013 (PDF) and Cyber Forensics Trends and Developments in India 2013 (PDF) provided by Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB).

Although National Cyber Security Policy of India 2013 (NCSP 2013) has been declared yet its integration with the National Security Policy of India is still missing. Further, Critical Infrastructure Protection in India needs a special focus. For instance, Huawei and ZTE are already in telecom security tangle and India is considering norms for import and testing of telecom equipments in India. The security agencies of India have even suggested use of indigenously made cyber security softwares.

Now Hindu has reported a serious cyber security attack against Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL)’s network. According to Hindu,  in a major incident of national security breach, India’s top intelligence agencies and Department of Telecom is all set to jointly launch an investigation into the alleged role of Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei in hacking into BSNL’s network and sabotaging its expansion plans in Rajahmundry in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

Curiously, this is probably the first case where the Centre is also looking at inter-corporate rivalry between two Chinese telecom companies, the other being ZTE, which has bagged BSNL’s network expansion project including the one in Rajahmundry. ZTE is facing its own problems and recently it was accused of assisting conducting of e-surveillance in Iran.

The crucial point here is that if something like this can happen for the simple reason of corporate rivalry what can be done to further the objects cyber terrorism, cyber espionage and cyber warfare.

Following reports of Huawei engineers hacking a ‘base station controller’ (BSC), which controls several ‘base transceiver station’ (BTS) or mobile radio base station in an area, during network upgradation work at Rajahmundry in September/October this year, the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) in the Capital alerted the Department of Telecom, which in turn sought reply from the BSNL. Though the state-run telecom company conceded there has been a breach by Huawei, it failed to give a detailed account of damage done to the national security or the penal action taken against the Chinese firm.

Now, a five-member team comprising senior official from NSCS, Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs and BSNL will reach the core of the entire issue. “Several key questions have remained unanswered by the BSNL Andhra Pradesh circle. We will find out entire details about the hacking of BSC like failure of password management, change in database, accessibility of BSC from remote location and authorisation of commands to Huawei personnel. Considering the fact that all this has happened in a coastal city, and that too in a Naxal-affected State, a thorough probe might bring out more facts,” a senior official engaged in the probe told The Hindu.

What is more startling is the fact that the BSNL even failed to report the matter to police or intelligence sleuths in Andhra Pradesh even after finding out the gravity of the situation. It just reported the matter to the Huawei, says an internal communication between the NSCS and the DoT. Initially, the BSNL did not take the matter seriously. It was only after the DoT’s follow ups on the issue, the telecom PSU responded.

In its reply to the DoT, the BSNL said the Andhra Pradesh circle stated that the ‘BSC was relocated at Rajahmundry as a part of phase VII ZTE expansions and 10 numbers of BTS were re-homed on trial basis for confirmation of its satisfactory working before loading actual phase VII sites on it. All the BTS were reverted as soon as the problem (of hacking) was noticed and no live traffic was lost. The BSC was brought down by some (Huawei) company employee due to some inter-corporate rivalry. The problem was resolved when it was brought to the notice of M/s Huawei.”

“A notice was issued to M/s Huawei directing them to investigate the matter. In response to the notice, a national team from M/s Huawei visited Andhra Pradesh circle and assured that such incidents will not reoccur in future and they will take all possible measures to avoid such incident. Such incident has not occurred after the assurance,” the BSNL response to the DoT said.

National Cyber Security Policy Of India 2013 (NCSP 2013)

PRAVEEN-DALAL-MANAGING-PARTNER-OF-PERRY4LAW-CEO-PTLBThe National Cyber Security Policy of India 2013 (NCSP 2013) (PDF) was recently declared by Indian Government. It is a Good Policy on many counts but it also failed to address many crucial aspects as well. For instance, the National Cyber Security Policy of India has failed to protect Privacy Rights in India. Nevertheless, this is a good step in the right direction and it must be updated and improved as the time passes

A sound Cyber Security Policy must be Techno Legal and Holistic in nature. It must be Techno Legal in nature so that it can accommodate both Technological and Legal aspects. It must be Holistic as it should cover as much areas as possible. It must be realistic as well as a single Policy cannot be considered to be Panacea for all Cyber Crimes and Cyber Attacks against India.

Thus, the Indian Cyber Security Policy must be supplemented by other Techno Legal Policies. For instance, the E-Mail Policy of India must supplement the Cyber Security Policy. The Cyber Security Policy must also be supplemented with the Telecom Security Policy of India and National Telecom Policy of India 2012 (NTP 2012). In fact, the National Security Policy of India must have the Cyber Security Policy as an essential component.

This NCSP 2013 intends to protect information and information infrastructure in Cyberspace, build capabilities to prevent and respond to cyber threat, reduce vulnerabilities and minimise damage from cyber incidents through a combination of institutional structures, people, processes, technology and cooperation.

The NCSP 2013 aims at facilitating creation of Secure Computing Environment and enabling adequate trust and confidence in electronic transactions and also guiding stakeholders’ actions for protection of Cyberspace. It outlines a road-map to create a framework for comprehensive, collaborative and collective response to deal with the issue of Cyber Security at all levels within the country. It also recognises the need for objectives and strategies that need to be adopted both at the National level as well as International level.

The NCSP 2013 envisages a vision and mission statement aimed at building a secure and resilience Cyberspace for citizens, businesses and Government. It strives to enable goals aimed at reducing national vulnerability to cyber attacks, preventing cyber attacks and cyber crimes, minimising response and recover time and effective cyber crime investigation and prosecution. It intends to facilitate monitoring key trends at the national level such as trends in cyber security compliance, cyber attacks, cyber crime and cyber infrastructure growth.

The Objectives of the NCSP 2013 include to create a secure cyber ecosystem in the country, generate adequate trust and confidence in IT system and transactions in cyberspace and thereby enhance adoption of IT in all sectors of the economy,  to create an assurance framework for design of security policies and promotion and enabling actions for compliance to global security standards and best practices by way of conformity assessment (Product, process, technology and people), to strengthen the Regulatory Framework for ensuring a Secure Cyberspace Ecosystem, to enhance and create National and Sectoral level 24X7 mechanism for obtaining strategic information regarding threats to ICT infrastructure, creating scenarios for response, resolution and crisis management through effective predictive, preventive, protective response and recovery actions, to improve visibility of integrity of ICT products and services by establishing infrastructure for testing & validation of security of such product, to create workforce for 5,00,000 professionals skilled in next 5 years through capacity building skill development and training, to provide fiscal benefit to businesses for adoption of standard security practices and processes, to enable Protection of information while in process, handling, storage and transit so as to safeguard privacy of citizen’s data and reducing economic losses due to cyber crime or data theft, to enable effective prevention, investigation and prosecution of cyber crime and enhancement of low enforcement capabilities through appropriate Legislative Intervention.

Although the Objectives and Aims of the NCSP 2013 are Laudable yet their “Actual Implementation” is the real problem. India has not been able to achieve these Cyber Security Objectives so far. Since India is a late entrant in the Cyber Security field, it would only be fair to give it some more time to implement these Objectives successfully.

National Security Policy Of India Needs Techno Legal Boost

PRAVEEN-DALAL-MANAGING-PARTNER-OF-PERRY4LAW-CEO-PTLBNational Security has undergone a see change these days. It is wrong to assume that the National Security Policy is confined to traditional threats alone. National Security of India is facing many challenges these days that are mainly attributable to the use and abuse of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

For instance, Cyber Crimes, Cyber Attacks, Cyber Security Incidences, Cyber Warfare, Cyber Terrorism, Cyber Espionage, etc are some of the problems that are peculiar to the contemporary times. These threats are intimidating the National Security of India by striking at the Financial, Economic, Social and Political Environment of India.

An implementable Techno Legal Crisis Management Plan of India for Cyber Attacks and Cyber Terrorism is need of the hour. The National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) of India must also be made operational immediately.

Critical Infrastructure Protection in India must also be ensured by Indian Government. For instance, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Systems is a favourite target for Cyber Criminals and Cyber Terrorists. By targeting SCADA these cyber miscreants can damage the Critical Infrastructure of India. We must ensure sufficient Cyber Protection of SCADA Systems in India in general and Critical Infrastructure in particular.

Malware like Stuxnet and Duqu have already shown how Critical Infrastructures and SCADA systems are vulnerable to Cyber Attacks. Indian Critical Infrastructures have also been targeted by these Malware. It is believed that Stuxnet was responsible for shutting down an Indian Communication Satellite. These Malware have also been targeting Indian Nuclear Systems and Facilities.

The National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) of India, established under the guidance and control of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) must also play a more pro active role in this regard.

Although NCIIPC has issued the Guidelines For Protection of National Critical Information Infrastructure in India (PDF) yet the role of NCIIPC in India is still not clear due to absence of a Gazette Notification by the Government of India under section 70A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Recently DRDO sought Penal Provisions in National Telecom Security Policy of India for Telecom Companies violating the norms. However, recently the Computer Systems of DRDO and Security Officials were breached and Sensitive Files were leaked. Thus, DRDO must also enhance its own Cyber Security besides managing the Cyber Security of other Institutions.

We must develop Offensive and Defensive Cyber Security capabilities of India. A Cyber Command for Armed Forces of India is already in pipeline. The Cyber Command has also become necessary as Countries across the world have started utilising Cyber Attacks and Malware against others. As per a recent report, U.S. is the Biggest Buyer of Malware in the world.  Similarly, Global Cyber Espionage Networks are being actively used to spy and engage in E-Surveillance on other Countries. The command and control servers of Malware FinFisher were also found in 36 countries, including India.

Indian Government must Reconcile Civil Liberties and National Security Requirements in India. While protecting the National Security, Civil Liberties Protection in Cyberspace must also be ensured. Recently, United Nations passed a resolution approving Right to Privacy in the Digital Age.

However, India is in no mood of complying with that resolution. India has launched Illegal and Unconstitutional Projects like Aadhar, Central Monitoring System (CMS), National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid), Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems (CCTNS), etc without any Parliamentary Oversight and Legal Frameworks. In fact, the Internet Spy System Network and Traffic Analysis System (NETRA) of India has been proposed by Indian Government without any Legal Framework.

There is also a lack of Cyber Security Legal Practice in India. Not many Law Firms are providing Legal Services in the field of Cyber Security as it requires Techno Legal Expertise. Indian Government is planning a Legislation mandating strict Cyber Security Disclosure Norms in India. Further, Cyber Law Due Diligence requirements in India are also going to increase in India.

Cyber Security is an essential part and component of National Security of India. Indian Government must keep this fact in mind and draft a suitable Techno Legal National Security Policy of India.

DRDO Seeks Penal Provisions In National Telecom Security Policy Of India For Telecom Companies Violating The Norms

DRDO Seeks Penal Provisions In National Telecom Security Policy Of India For Telecom Companies Violating The NormsCyber security is a very broad field that covers multiple facets of information and communication technology (ICT). One of the segments of cyber security pertains to telecom and mobile cyber security. Mobile cyber security in India is still missing and even mobile banking cyber security in India is in a bad shape. There is an urgent need to ensure mobile cyber security in India.

Recently, the national cyber security policy of India 2013 and national telecom policy of India 2012 were released by Indian government. It would even be better if an implementable national telecom security policy of India is formulated as well as soon as possible.

As of now the telecom service providers of India are openly flouting the laws of India. They are not following the cyber law due diligence in India. For instance, Airtel and Tata Teleservices Limited are violating cyber law of India in general and Internet Intermediary Rules of India in particular. These violations must be punished by Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Now Business Standard has reported that Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has communicated to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that the proposed National Telecom Security Policy should have a framework to penalise telecom service providers if they fail to abide by the norms. This is a sensible recommendation keeping in mind the cyber security interests of India.

DRDO has said that telecom service providers should endure that user data is not revealed or duplicated or copied or shared with recipients other than those designated by the sender, and should ensure that user data is not being routed outside the infrastructure within India when the end points of communication are inside Indian territory. This means that telecom service providers of India have to comply with the proposed e-mail policy of India.

Of course, there cannot be any bar from disclosure and sharing when the laws of India and foreign jurisdictions as well as court orders warrant so. Similarly, in cases of cyber crimes and cyber security breaches there should be an obligation on the part of Indian telecom service providers to comply with Indian laws. In fact, Indian government is planning a legislation mandating strict cyber security disclosure norms in India.

Telcos will require ensuring authentication of end user, authorised access to services and attribution of activities and payloads to end users. The attribution in the form audit, forensic and tracking mechanisms should ensure tracking of inappropriate use, criminal activities and enforcement of IT and cyber security laws of the Government.

Earlier, the Government had differences with Blackberry over the encrypted message and email services the firm provides to customers. Fearing that such encrypted services can be used to plan and execute terrorist strikes, India had also threatened to ban the providers of such services if they failed to accommodate the legitimate demands of law enforcement agencies.