“Cybersecurity has always been of top priority, and companies and governments alike are now largely technology dependant,“ said Giri, an analyst at Bengaluru-based iViZ Security, an information security services company. “Awareness is the most basic step, and it should be embedded at the grassroots level.“ While a number of information security startups and companies offer packaged services, a number of groups of socalled `ethical hackers’ are gaining prominence, with cybercrimes in India estimated to jump to three lakh cases this year. These groups mostly function as non-profits to provide awareness to the general public, senior corporate executives, as well as the police.
Indian School of Ethical Hacking conducts workshops and awareness campaigns in Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad, while Club Hack also provides cybersecurity training in its labs. Ethical hacking and cybersecurity, terms that are versions of each other, have over the years gained large ground. In ethical hacking, cybersecurity experts identify weaknesses in an organization’s technology that could expose its systems to data thieves.
Rohit Srivastwa, founder of Pune-based Club Hack, said the number of firms offering cybersecurity services to companies, banks and police officials has surged in the past few years.
“We need about five lakh cybersecurity professionals in the next five years and right now we have around 40,000. That’s a big prob lem for both national security and the corporate world,“ said Sandeep Sengupta, director of Kolkatabased Indian School of Ethical Hacking and head of industry lobby Nasscom-East’ information se curity forum. “Today, aside from school and engineering students, top managers of companies and police forces want to get trained in certified courses and gain domain knowledge, and not just be at the receiving end of services,“ said Sengupta, who also heads a team of 10 `white hats’, or ethical hackers, that works closely with multinationals and police.
Indian institutes, IT firms and in cubators and accelerators alike have realised the importance of ethical hacking through various forms, such as hackathons hosted by Microsoft Ventures and Devthon. Last year, National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) collaborated with International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants, a certification body, to train 15,000 people in ethical hacking in three years.
“We will be more than willing to collaborate with ethical hacker groups to crack down on cyberpenetration,“ said Abhishek Goyal, DCP, crime, Bengaluru. Data Security Council of India, the apex body for data protection in India, released second-level cybercrime training material for police officers this week.