Context: The Ministry of Railways has asked the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) to educate its officials on Internet ethics, cyber hygiene and best practices in the use of IT equipment, including mobile phones.
- This is as part of its National Cyber Security Strategy.
- The Railway Board said a number of incidents had come to notice regarding breaches in various IT applications.
- A majority of them were applications related.
- Incidents occurred due to “improper handling of the IT assets by the personnel”.
- Lack of awareness: There are a number of officials who are unaware of the Internet ethics and cyber hygiene.
Cybersecurity in Railways
- The IT Wing of the Computerisation & Information System Directorate sends out periodical alerts on cyber security vulnerabilities and threats to the staff directly handling IT-based systems.
- One of the major IT functions is the Passenger Reservation System (PRS).
- In January 2019 alone, 6.61 crore passengers booked from 10,394 PRS terminals in 3,440 locations and the IRCTC website resulting in a revenue of ₹3,962.27 crore.
- The PRS involves passengers disclosing their identities along with proof of address, mobile phone number and netbanking/card payment details.
- The railways also uses its IT infrastructure for Unreserved Ticketing System.
- E-payment is provided as part of the Freight Operations Information System (FOIS).
- The pandemic had introduced a greater reliance on electronic modes of communication in official working.
- Hence, it was necessary that all officials followed adequate procedures when using IT infrastructure for ensuring confidentiality, privacy etc in dealing with official information.
- They should follow Internet ethics, cyber hygiene.
- They must employ best practices on the use of IT equipment like desktops, laptops, mobile devices etc.
Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC):
- It is an Indian autonomous scientific society, operating under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- It was created in 1987, originally as the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing Technology (C-DACT).
- This was in response to issues purchasing supercomputers from foreign sources.
- After being denied a supercomputer by the United States in 1987, due to military use concerns, India started a programme to develop an indigenous supercomputer and C-DAC was created as part of this programme.
- Supercomputers were considered a double-edged weapon capable of assisting in the development of nuclear weapons.