With an increasing volume of cyber attacks directed towards India, questions often rise in terms of how well the Indian government is equipped in handling increasingly severe online threats. According to Manan Shah, founder and chief executive of India-based Avalance Global Solutions, while a lot of work is yet to be done, safety standards of many Indian government websites have largely improved ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over.
In an interview with News18, Shah said, "In 2014, after the Modi government came in, many websites have been redesigned and made more secure than before. (The Indian government) are focusing on cybersecurity slowly, but even today, there are some government websites which were designed in 2010-11, and have been left that way."
He further added, "The older sites that have not been re-done are so unsafe that even someone with a basic course on computer science can take down these sites, or extract files from them. In India, the cybersecurity focus needs to be more, and even the interest is at a small scale till now."
Speaking about the volume of attacks, and where most cyber attacks that are directed towards India originate out of, Shah stated, "There is no specific number or rhythm, but a large volume of cyber attacks happen every single day. In fact, a lot of websites in Delhi have gotten hacked recently. When we furbish a cyber breach report to a client, we provide every detail including the latitude and longitude of the origin of a hack. From what we see, most cyber attacks and piracy attacks origin out of India itself. That said, most of these addresses are masked with VPNs, so it is super difficult to track the origin of the attacks."
Shah, who started the company in 2016 and has since expanded operations to USA, has a repertoire of clients that include the likes of ICICI Bank, NTPC, Honeywell, ITC and the Government of India’s Ministry of Defence. Since its inception, Shah’s firm Avalance Global has provided cybersecurity awareness training to agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), while also assisting the Gujarat Police in solving internet-based criminal activities in the state.
In addition to cyber attacks, Shah further stated that the rampant piracy industry also has its epicentre of operations in India. Avalance Global recently received funding from Raj Kundra-backed Viaan Industries Ltd, with the primary goal of building an anti-piracy tool that would aid production and distribution houses. According to Shah, the tool will be commercially released in August 2019.