Rising Cybersecurity Risk Due to Skill Shortage

Digital Era has been rocking our fast-forward life. But there's a catch even here!

Rising Cybersecurity Risk Due to Skill Shortage
Abhishek Agarwal, President, JI-Global Delivery, The Judge Group

APPROXIMATELY 6.74 lakh cybersecurity cases were recorded up till June 2022 in India, as briefed by the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, in the Parliament on July 20, 2022. Life has become incredibly simple thanks to the Digital Age, where information can be processed and transmitted in a nanosecond, and machines can be started and stopped with the touch of a finger.

Digital Era has been rocking our fast-forward life. But there's a catch even here! We need to understand that technology advances for all of us – for both law-abiding computer users and hackers or cybercriminals. See it as a house whose doors and windows have been made easy to pass and thus robbers may sneak in too, without a proper security check. Some of the commonest forms of cyber-attacks witnessed over the period of 2018-2022 were:

Malware or ransomware: Unwanted software that has been installed on your computer against your will is known as malicious software. It can duplicate itself all over the Web, hide in helpful apps, and tag onto legit code and spread. Examples include macro viruses, file infectors, Trojans, worms, droppers, logic bombs, ransomware, etc. Seventy-eight per cent of Indian firms that had encrypted data had to pay ransoms to reclaim it, even if they had backups or other methods of data recovery (Sophos, 2022).

Phishing: Sending emails from seemingly reliable sources to obtain the recipient's personal information is known as phishing. It combines deception on technological and social levels. It can entail downloading malware onto your machine through an email attachment or clicking a link to a fake website. Examples include whaling, smishing, vishing, CEO fraud, pharming, content injection, Message-from-a-Big-Promotion scam, etc. India averagely experienced more than 17.5 lakh phishing attacks via social media each day during the Q2 of 2022 (Siasat, 2022).

Man-in-the-Middle: When a hacker takes over a session between a client and a network server, a MitM attack is happening. The hacker's computer spoofs the client's sequence numbers and replaces their IP address with its own. The server thinks it is still in communication with the client since the hacker's computer keeps talking to the server. The most typical MitM attack involves providing the general public with free, malicious WiFi hotspots.

Siphoning of INR 94.42 crores from Pune’s Cosmos Bank in 2018, the 2019 invasion of DTrack RAT on the Kudankulam Plant systems, Google’s blocking of 240 million spammers and 18 million online fraud in 2020, CAT results burglary case of 2021, and a $75,00,000 ransom demand made to Oil India Ltd in 2022 are just a few of the headline-grabbing cyber-crimes that occurred in the last 4 years and pose a matter of great worry to India.

Is Skill Shortage Giving Rise to Cyber Insecurity?

The fact is that cybercriminals are rapidly becoming more sophisticated—than the general users—in applying the latest technologies like IoT, AI, machine and deep learning, cloud encryption, embedded hardware authentication, 5G networks, behavioural analytics, quantum computing, etc., and this is where the bigger part of the problem lies. According to ISACA’s State of Cybersecurity report 2022, 40% of businesses claim that their cybersecurity team is understaffed, while 60% of businesses have open cybersecurity roles in India.

What You Can Do?

It is rather interesting to notice that a nation like India that exports IT workers also faces a cybersecurity skills gap at home and overseas. Corporate problems exist as well if there is a problem with government execution.

Technology isn't the problem; education is. The study of cybersecurity is an evolving field. It requires education and re-education. Therefore, the curriculum must be updated regularly, which is not currently the case. As a result, students entering the real world of work fail to deliver. The following are some tips a common user can easily use to become safer online:

- Log off when not in use: Lock or log off your smartphone, laptop, or any other connected device when not in use to prevent unauthorized access from occurring.

- Password manager: Use one of the trustworthy password generators available amply to safeguard your devices with a special password.

- Avoid using public Wi-Fi: Free Wi-Fi may be available in cafeterias, restaurants, and other public venues, but bear in mind that it is free to all including cyber-attackers.

Available cybersecurity training programs are not well promoted in India, even from reliable sources. The cream-of-the-crop students are still under-aware of the lucrativeness of the cybersecurity field. Result? They are increasingly relocating abroad for cyber training in pursuit of a higher return on investment. India must implement changes from the ground up if it is to meet the demand for cyber professionals and improve the present cyber situation.

(Disclaimer: The article is written by Abhishek Agarwal, President, Judge India-Global Delivery, The Judge Group and Jagran English does not endorse the views/data/suggestions presented by the author)

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