Cyber Swachha Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre)

On February 21, 2017 the Government of India launched the Cyber Swachha Kendra through its Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in). It is a new desktop and mobile security solution for a secure cyber space in the country. The new solution will notify, enable cleaning and secure systems of end-users to prevent further infections. The Cyber Swachhta Kendra is part of the government of India’s Digital India initiative under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). It also complies with the objectives of the National Cyber Security Policy which aims at creating a secure cyber ecosystem in the country. This Kendra will also enhance awareness among citizens regarding botnet and malware infection along with measures to be taken to secure their devices. For this purpose, a National Cyber Coordination Center is being set up that is to become operational from June 2017. This centre will work in coordination with the internet service providers (ISPs) and Industry.

With this initiative, India is set to join the other distinguished club of countries that have malware-cleaning systems for the use of its citizens. As of now, we have 13 banks and internet service providers using this facility. There is also an assumption of witnessing a surge in start-ups dealing in the area of cyber security within a year.  The potential scale at which this centre can operate will clearly make this the largest in the world considering the size of the Indian internet ecosystem which has over half a billion people online and over 250 million smartphones and one billion mobile phones across the country. More than 3500 users have currently already downloaded and tried the free bot removal tools till date. The end-user can log on to the Cyber Swachhta Kendra Portal (www.cyberswachhtakendra.gov.in) and clean their systems using the free cleaning tools. Users can also educate themselves about the various cyber threats and get information on the security tips in order to secure their computers, mobiles and prevent infections in their systems.

Under this initiative, the government will set up 10 more STQC (Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification) testing Facilities. Testing fee for any start-up that comes up with a digital technology in the quest of cyber security will be reduced by 50 per cent. It will also empower designated forensic labs to work as the certified authority to establish cyber crime. Three different tools have been launched under this initiative. These are:

  • USB Pratirodh- USB Pratirodh is a desktop security solution that controls the usage of removable storage media like pen drives, external hard drives and other USB-supported mass storage devices.
  • M Kavach- M-Kavach tool offers a comprehensive mobile device security solution for Android devices addressing threats related to mobile phones.
  • App Samvid- AppSamvid is a desktop solution which protects systems by allowing installation of genuine applications through white listing. This helps in preventing threats from malicious applications. It also protects desktops from suspicious applications from running.

The move came at a time when over 50,300 cyber security incidents like phishing, website intrusions and defacements, virus and denial of service attacks have been observed in the country during 2016. As per the information reported to and tracked by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), a total number of 44,679, 49,455 and 50,362 cyber security incidents were observed during the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.

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