The National Cyber Coordination Centre will finally start its operations by the end of this year. With an allocation of Rs 800 crore, the NCCC is expected to step up cyber security in India which has become a major threat over the past couple of years.
The project has been pending since 2013 and the fact that it has finally got the nod is a good step in ensuring that India's cyber security is up to the mark.
What is the job ahead for the NCCC and what is it expected to do? Let us find out more:
Interception and analysis
With terrorists moving to the web, the reliance on human intelligence has reduced a great deal. Everything happens on the internet these days, an officer with the Intelligence Bureau points out.
The job of the NCCC will be 24/7 and would aim at intercept all communication on the internet with the help of the various service providers in the country.
It would collect data that passes both inside and outside India. The data would then be analysed. If the data analysed is considered to be actionable then in real time it would shared with the respective police stations and also intelligence bureau would in turn act on the information.
In many cases, the local police have come out a cropper when it comes to analyzing even the simplest of data on the internet. In such a scenario it would be expecting the moon if they are asked to detect encrypted data.
The NCCC would have a specialized team which would only deal with encrypted data. These are the days of steganography (Steganography and terrorism: Why ISIS relies on it so much) and it is extremely important that these coded messages placed in pictures are broken down in order to read the real message.
The NCCC would have the capability of dealing with steganography and this would go a long way in helping crack cases where terrorists communicate through this concept.
Tracking social media
The NCCC would also have the herculean task of tracking down messages on social networking sites. The Intelligence Bureau had launched an extremely successful operation titled Operation Chakravyuh (Chakravyuh: These ISIS recruits didn't know who they were speaking to) through which recruits into terror groups were being tracked.
The NCCC would further this operation and keep a tab on every bit of activity that is taking place on the social media. If the information being sent out or the communication appears suspect then the operation to track down these persons would be launched.
Can you ever be private on the internet now
When the plan was first devised, the NCCC ran into troubled waters as questions of privacy had come up. This was around the same time that the world watched with horror the manner in which the NSA in the United States of America had snooped into every mail across the world whether it had anything to do with terror or not.
An officer assured that privacy would be safeguarded and the NCCC would not end up becoming a political tool to spy on opponents of the government.
There are some compromises that would have to be made to ensure better security, but then if someone has nothing to hide then why worry the officer also asks. Moreover there are various examples to quote including the 2010 FIFA world cup terror plot.
In the FIFA operation, the Al-Qaeda was tracked down by the Intelligence agencies of the United States of America. On the FIFA website, the Al-Qaeda operatives posted messages on the message board. This was cracked and it was realized that a major plot was being hatched to target the event.
The NCCC would keep a real time track on all activity on the internet. Those messages found to be suspicious in nature would be gathered and fed to the main centre where it would be analysed.
This would also help the NCCC lead up to websites that are being hosted by terrorist outfits. These websites which are normally locked with passwords would be opened up by the NCCC and the information and data collected.
These websites normally carry messages, recruitment details and many times information regarding an ongoing plan to carry out a terror strike. The NCCC would have to analyse these details and analyse it before passing it on to the intelligence bureau which would then make it actionable by passing it on to the respective jurisdictional police stations.