Whether we like it or not, India is moving to a digital economy. Demonetization is the first step toward that goal and it won’t be long before our money is stored in 1’s and 0’s as any digital media. With the move to digital comes the very real threat of online security, after all, we live in a country where ATM’s still run Windows XP. The average broadband speed in India is also very low, 3.5 Mbps to be exact, which is a drop in the ocean compared to the rest of the world. Have we jumped the gun and moved digital too soon?
“If you look at India, the way the internet has changed here has been very dramatic,” says Sidharth Malik,
MD and VP, Akamai Technologies India. “India is the second biggest country in terms of mobile users worldwide. The world is becoming a global village thanks to the internet and with that movement, come opportunities for attacks” He says.
Akamai Technologies has made a name for itself providing digital content services to companies, the fruits of which were reaped in India via a partnership with Hotstar. The second ODI in the India-England series was viewed by more than 25 million people on the platform, almost 75% of this number comes from mobile viewership, re-establishing India’s second position worldwide when it comes to smartphone users.
“As data costs fall dramatically, and users increasingly look to their mobile as the primary screen, we are starting to see the emergence of Hotstar as the primary destination in cities with more than a million in population. This trend will accelerate in the next few months, especially during IPL, and we rely on Akamai’s solutions to ensure that we are able to scale in line with this vertical growth in demand,” said Ajit Mohan, CEO, Hotstar.
Akamai has also made a name for itself by publishing quarterly state of the internet reports. The globally deployed Akamai Intelligent Platform helps the company collect a wealth of information and the 2016 edition makes for an interesting reading.
“The thought process behind the report was that we share this with the ecosystem so that they have a snapshot of what is happening in the internet world,” Says Sidharth. The fourth quarter of 2016 saw as many as 10 DDoS attacks, known as Distributed Denial of Service attacks, it is a type of attack that floods an infected system with web traffic, potentially originating from thousands of sources making it impossible to track down the IP or web address where the attack originated from, as you might have guessed, flooding the system with useless traffic causes the network to slow down, what is especially worrying is the fact that 7 out of these 10 attacks have caused data inflictions of more than 300Gbps.
Is India ready to face the brunt of such attacks? Do we have the architecture in place? Sidharth seems to think so, he says India’s digital infrastructure is as strong as any in the world, it’s knowledge of security that is the pain point. “There’s room for India to grow as far as Knowledge of effective cyber security measures is concerned,” He says.
In the first quarter of 2016, DDoS attacks have more than doubled, the attacks have often been driven to the same target. “The increase in these attacks have also come about due to a wider number of targets on the web,” Says Sidharth “Simply put, the number of potential victims has risen, thanks to more businesses coming online,” He adds. DDoS attacks are just the tip of the iceberg, IoT or internet of things is acronym bestowed upon devices that are smart enough to communicate and exchange data with each other, naturally this also opens it to the wrath of hackers, the third quarter of 2016 saw a huge spike in these attacks culminating at 623 Gbps.
With the move to digital, India is painting itself as a huge potential target. Think about it, we are vulnerable than most, one visit to any of the horribly managed government websites is proof enough, our government sites have been hacked before and there’s nothing preventing it from happening again, which maybe one of the reasons why the Modi government is turning to third parties like Airtel to execute its plans.
There seems to be a plan in place for digital India, let’s just hope that there is enough security to protect us from online threats as well.