Webinar on “Cyber security empowerment of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)”

 The Government of India has launched a 75-week long campaign Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav; to celebrate the achievements of the country and its people. The University Grants Commission (UGC) as part of  this campaign  is conducting a series of activities beginning with the a sensitisation webinar on “Cyber security Empowerment of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)”an effort towards making cyber security more accessible, available, and adaptable for HEIs.

Delivering the welcome address, Prof. Rajnish Jain, Secretary, UGC welcomed and introduced all panelists. He set the context for the webinar, stressing on the need for cybersecurity awareness with the increased dependence on IT post pandemic. He emphasised on the fact that the pandemic has put Higher Education in the cyber space which has led HEIs to be subject to increased cybersecurity issues. He said that there is a need to understand how cyber security issues may be addressed and how cyber hygiene may be managed.

The keynote address was delivered by Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Rajesh Pant, Chief (retd.), National Cyber Security Coordinator, National Cyber Coordination Centre, PMO. He emphasized and reiterated the threat cybercrime poses to economy and national security. He focused on cybersecurity for HEIs that are base of personal information and intellectual property. He highlighted the structure of institutions that make them susceptible to cybercrimes and the measures to be taken to address these issues. He shared the ongoing and proposed government initiatives of cyber swacchta kendra and the malware posh and national blockchain project given to IIT Kanpur.  He concluded with two mantras for survival in the new normal: personal hygiene and cyber hygiene. 

Shri Abhishek Singh, CEO, My Gov and President & CEO NeGD, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology delivering his address emphasised on the importance of cyber security due to the increased dependency and use of the cyber space. He focused on the issues of cybersecurity; cyberattacks, frauds and use of cyber warfare, further emphasising the steps and measures to be taken by HEIs to stay safe. He touched upon the various aspects of cybercrimes and measures to be taken and the processes for reporting cybersecurity issues. He spoke of Cyber Surakshit Bharat of Government of India aimed at educating people on cybersecurity.

Shri Deepak Virmani, Deputy Secretary, Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) , Cyber & Information Security, Division, Ministry of Home Affairs spoke about the initiatives of Ministry of Home Affairs’ CIS and its efforts in controlling Cybercrimes. He shed light on the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre schemes (I4C) of MHA that aims to prevent cybercrimes. He discussed in detail the 7 verticals of the scheme that also involve the training of police personnel and government functionaries. He further shared about the various portals and helpline numbers that can be availed by the citizens and the initiative Cyber Jaagrookta Diwas, celebrated every month since October 2021. Further delivering his address, he hailed UGC for its initiatives for promoting and sensitizing HEIs regarding Cyber security through the proposed handbook on cyber hygiene and cybersafe curriculum. 

Dr. Charru Malhotra , Coordinator, Centre of e-Governance, Indian Institute of Planning and Administration, New Delhi  brought out the findings on Cybersecurity through analysis of a pre webinar questionnaire which had been shared with HEIs. She highlighted the current status amongst HEIs about cyber security and their preparedness.

Prof. Naveen Chowdhary, National Forensic Science University, Gandhinagar through his address shared the cybersecurity threat landscape highlighting cases of compromises on cybersecurity in Educational Institutions, research facilities.  He provided a detailed outlook and a framework for cybersecurity.

Dr. Atul Kumar Pandey, Chairperson , Rajiv Gandhi National Cyber Law Centre, NLIU, Bhopal spoke about the threat landscape in HEIs and the importance of cybersecurity in HEIs. In his address he shed light on various components like content protection and privacy and capacity building for addressing cybersecurity.

The address by the panelists was followed by a Question and Answer session from the faculty members from HEIs.

The webinar discussed pertinent issues of cyber security with prioritizing its impact on HEIs and the necessary. The Webinar was the first step towards Cyber security empowerment of HEIs and provided an opportunity for sensitization and awareness on cyber security.