Prelims level : Science and Tech Mains level : GS-III technology, economic development, bio diversity, environment, security and disaster management
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Why in News:

  • Violation of asylum conditions and tried to use the Ecuador embassy in London.


  • Julian Assange is the head of the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.
  • Mr. Assange made international headlines in early 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified U.S. military video.
  • It showed a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.
  • Mr. Assange was facing charges related to theft of classified information from government computers, conspiring with former U.S. Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning.
  • In 2012, authorities from Sweden wanted to question him as part of a sexual assault investigation. To avoid being extradited to Sweden, Mr. Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy in June 2012. Sweden dropped that investigation in 2017, but Mr. Assange broke the rules of his original bail (2012) in London.
  • Eventually, he had eluded authorities in the U.S. and the U.K. for nearly 7 years, to escape arrest. Now, Ecuador President Lenin Moreno withdrew his country’s grant of asylum to Mr. Assange that was on for 7 years.
  • Ecuador had earlier limited Mr. Assange’s Internet access.
  • Asylum was withdrawn after repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols by Assange. Mr. Assange was thus arrested by British police and carried out of the Ecuadorean embassy, paving the way for his possible extradition to the U.S.

Cyber security issues:

  • Cyber-Crime has been called one of the biggest risks to data and security.
  • UNESCO says that the increased threat of cyber-attacks puts critical infrastructure, like the information systems of hospitals, air traffic control facilities, factories, police and military, of developing nations at risk.
  • Developing nations which are in the throes of a technological revolution are catching up on modern technology, but the infrastructure for cyber security and cyber laws are either archaic or non-existent.
  • Countries like India are bringing millions of people online, but the security infrastructure is just not ready.
  • For emerging digital economies, another risk is that hacking attacks and online fraud can deter people from using e-commerce or e-payments.
  • Added to that is the fact that Indian data protection laws are inadequate and only address some security, and privacy issues. Meanwhile cyber-crime in the country is on a rise.
  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) said in its 2016 report, that 11,592 cases of cyber-crime were registered in India in 2015.

National Cyber Security Policy 2013:

  • The National Cyber Security Policy 2013 aims at (1) facilitating the creation of secure computing environment (2) enabling adequate trust and confidence in electronic transactions and (3) guiding stakeholder’s actions for the protection of cyberspace.
  • A vision and mission statement aimed at building a secure and resilience cyberspace for citizens, businesses and Government. Enabling goals aimed at reducing national vulnerability to cyber-attacks, preventing cyber-attacks & cyber-crimes, minimising response & recovery time and effective cybercrime investigation and prosecution.
  • Focused actions at the level of Govt., public-private partnership arrangements, cyber security related technology actions, protection of critical information infrastructure and national alerts and advice mechanism, awareness & capacity building and promoting information sharing and cooperation.
  • Enhancing cooperation and coordination among all the stakeholder entities within the country. Objectives and strategies in support of the National Cybersecurity vision and mission. Framework and initiatives that can be pursued at the Govt. level, sectoral levels as well as in public-private partnership mode.
  • Facilitating monitoring key trends at the national level such as trends in cyber security compliance, cyber-attacks, cyber-crime and cyberinfrastructure growth.

Recent updates:

  • A National and sectoral 24X7 mechanism has been envisaged to deal with cyber threats through National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC). Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has been designated to act as a nodal agency for coordination of crisis management efforts. (CERT-In) will also act as an umbrella organisation for coordination actions and operationalization of sectoral CERTs.
  • A mechanism is proposed to be evolved for obtaining strategic information regarding threats to information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, creating scenarios of response, resolution and crisis management through effective predictive, prevention, response and recovery action.

Recent Threats in India:

  • Websites Hacked: Over 22,000 websites were hacked between the months of April 2017 and January 2018. As per the information presented by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, over 493 websites were affected by malware propagation including 114 websites run by the government. The attacks were intended to gather information about the services and details of the users in their network.
  • ATM System Hacked in Kolkata: In July 2018 fraudsters hacked into Canara bank ATM servers and wiped off almost 20 lakh rupees from different bank accounts. The number of victims was over 50 and it was believed that they were holding the account details of more than 300 ATM users across India.
  • The hackers used skimming devices on ATMs to steal the information of debit card holders and made a minimum transaction of INR 10,000 and the maximum of INR 40,000 per account. On 5 August 2018, two men were arrested in New Delhi who was working with an international gang that uses skimming activities to extract the details of bank account.
  • SIM Swap Fraud: In August 2018, two men from Navi Mumbai were arrested for cybercrime. They were involved in fraudulent activities concerning money transfers from the bank accounts of numerous individuals by getting their SIM card information through illegal means.
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