CISO Trainings , Governance & Risk Management , Training & Security Leadership

How India Must Prepare for Nation-State Cyberwar

Former Naval Officer Mukesh Saini on Balancing Offense, Defense
Cdr Mukesh Saini, Head IT Security, Essel Group

To counter nation-state cyberattacks, India needs to take cybersecurity beyond the responsibility of individual agencies, says former Navy officer Cdr Mukesh Saini, head of IT security at Essel Group.

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"CERT-In has a big role to play when it comes to making people more [involved] and aware [about nation-state attacks]," Saini says. "At present, there is no mechanism available to counter nation-state intelligence mechanisms. The agencies taking care of it have limited capability. As a nation, we need to find out what is getting attacked, what is under surveillance and develop a strategy rather than [having] a piecemeal approach of individual agencies."

India also needs to avoid concentrating only on an offensive strategy for a cyberwar. "Just having offensive strategy isn't helpful," he says. "If you have only sword and no shield, it will not be of much help. I feel CISOs are also part of the shield, and government must coordinate with them for developing shield from an industry point of view."

In this video interview with Information Security Media Group at the recent Fraud and Breach Prevention Summit in Mumbai, Saini discusses:

  • Why cyber warfare is more potent than physical war;
  • Why people awareness is important in cyberwar;
  • Why a defensive strategy is as important as offense.

Saini, IT head at Essel Group, is a veteran naval officer with more than 30 years of experience in information warfare and cybersecurity. He was India's first national information security coordinator. He was also chief information security adviser to Microsoft.

About the Author

Suparna Goswami

Suparna Goswami

Associate Editor, ISMG

Goswami has more than 10 years of experience in the field of journalism. She has covered a variety of beats including global macro economy, fintech, startups and other business trends. Before joining ISMG, she contributed for Forbes Asia, where she wrote about the Indian startup ecosystem. She has also worked with UK-based International Finance Magazine and leading Indian newspapers, such as DNA and Times of India.

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