Hackers wannacry? Cyber cops are here to track you

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Hackers wannacry? Cyber cops are here to track youNEW DELHI: One of the government’s most ambitious bets to ward off cybercrime — the Rs 1,000-crore National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) — is slated to begin operations by the end of this month or early August. According to a top government official, the Centre, which is meant to monitor the cyber traffic in the country and prevent possible large-scale cyber attacks by analysing the traffic, will begin with tracking the networks of a handful of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and data centres.

“The Centre will monitor the flow of traffic and analyse if there is some attack coming and take action in real time,” said Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary, ministry of electronics and IT.

Kumar added that the Centre will look at the traffic at important places such as ISPs, gateways and data centres. “Right now we will start at one or two places and try to scale it up further,” added Kumar saying that two ISPs which include some gateways of state-owned telecom service provider BSNL could be the starting point.

The Centre, which received inprinciple approval in 2013, is proposed to be set up at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore. Kumar said that while the Centre will be housed inside the office of the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) for now, a large data centre is in the process of being set up for it. The Centre will be slowly scaled up to cover most of the critical infrastructure in the country where it will watch the traffic to detect any attacks which will include threats such as DDoS attacks or even recent ransomware attacks such as the WannaCry and Petya.

“Data has to be taken without affecting the natural flow and then it has to be analysed, so we are starting with a couple of data centres and two ISPs such as BSNL,” said Kumar. ET had reported earlier that the government will be recruiting around 55 people initially for the NCCC. In the wake of large-scale cyber attacks in the country recently, the government has taken several measures to contain the spread of cybercrime.

In February this year, the government launched the Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre called the Cyber Swachhta Kendra, with the aim of helping individuals and organisations in analysing malware and botnets that affect networks and systems.

The unprecedented rise in the digital transactions in the country, especially after the demonitisation exercise in November, has also led to the government fast-tracking its efforts to strengthen cyber security.

Union Minister for Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad has announced setting up of dedicated CERTs for critical sectors such as power, communications and financial services. Setting up of the CERT-Fin was mentioned in the Budget and a report of a working group on this issue has also been released recently for public discussions.