National News-Daily Digest: 2 Key Updates
1. Fearing breach, Election Commission moves to secure cyber walls for 2019
Amid allegations and fear of cyber-meddling in polls abroad, the Election Commission (EC) has initiated an unprecedented drive to protect its voter registration database and office networks from unauthorised influence and access during the Lok Sabha polls next year.
Some of the key measures it has taken:
- Launched in March, the EC’s “Cyber Security Regulations” (CSR) is a guide for its officers’ online behaviour. These regulations are meant to prevent “unauthorised access, disclosure, duplication, modification, diversion, destruction, loss misuse or theft of protection information”.
- The EC appointed a chief information security officer (CISO) at its headquarters in December, 2017, and cyber security nodal officer (CSNO) in each state to implement the regulations and to coordinate cyber security between the EC and Chief electoral officers (CEOs) in the state.
- EC has begun identifying ghost applications and started taking them down — applications that mimic EC’s logo and offer electoral services to voters. Perhaps the most critical step to EC’s cyber security preparedness is getting its election infrastructure recognised as “critical information infrastructure” (CII). Section 70 of the IT Act 2000 defines CII as “the computer resource, incapacitation or destruction of which, shall have debilitating impact on national security, economy, public health or safety.” Once identified as CII, the EC’s infrastructure would be eligible for additional funding and resources; also, there will be a higher quantum of punishment for an attempt to secure access to it.
In 2017, the US designated the election infrastructure used in federal elections as a component of U.S. critical infrastructure. This was done after a series of cyberattacks on information systems of state and local election jurisdictions before the 2016 federal elections.
2. Madhya Pradesh to have cow ministry
Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced the setting up of a Ministry for cows. The Cow Ministry will replace the existing Madhya Pradesh Gaupalan Evam Pashudhan Samvardhan Board because it has limitations.