Warning of a lurking cyber attack threat to India's critical infrastructure, Home Minister Rajnath Singh today asked those in the power, rail and nuclear energy sectors to conduct regular cyber-security audits against potential sabotage bids.
Addressing CISF jawans and officers on the 49th raising day of the paramilitary force at its camp here, Singh said a cyber-security plan against such new age threats should not only be prepared but also strengthened from time to time.
The about 1.54-lakh-personnel-strong CISF is tasked with guarding 59 civil airports in the country and other vital facilities in the aerospace, nuclear and electrical power domains among others.
Singh, who took the salute of the CISF anniversary parade, said data theft, fraud and hacking were some of the major threats to India's critical assets and networks in the power sector, railways, nuclear power and airports as there had been attempts to penetrate their defence and breach the firewall.
Critical industrial and strategic installations of the country should get a cyber-security audit done regularly to keep a check on potential sabotage and hacking-like attacks, he said.
The veteran BJP leader added that the best strategy to counter these threats was to be "prepared" against them and that keeping this in mind, a new division on cyber security was recently created in his ministry even as there was one at the federal-level, known as the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC).
"Cyber crimes have added a fourth dimension to industrial security and the response against them has to be effective," he said.
Singh urged the CISF to sharpen and upgrade its responses as India was galloping towards becoming a USD 5-trillion economy in the coming days from the current USD 2-2.5 trillion mark.
"I would suggest that you (CISF) should earmark 2018 as the year for planning and strive to be a newer and modern force by 2022, when India celebrates the 75th year of its independence," the minister, whose department is responsible for the internal security of the country, said.
Singh reminded the CISF personnel that while they were trained to smile and be courteous to the public, they should not let their guard down.
He also urged all the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) like the CISF to launch special recruitment drives to induct more women personnel into their ranks in order to achieve the government's goal of having 33 per cent women in the forces.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) was raised in 1969 and today's event was held in the absence of a regular chief of the force for the first time in its history.
The post of CISF director general (DG) has been lying vacant since January 22, after the force's serving chief, OP Singh, was repatriated to his cadre on the request of the Uttar Pradesh government and appointed the director general of police (DGP) of that state.
Additional DG Alok Kumar Pateria has been the officiating chief of the CISF since then as the Centre is yet to appoint a new officer.