The Union Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has declared IT resources of ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and UPI managing entity NPCI as ‘critical information infrastructure’.
What is Critical Information Infrastructure (CIC)?
- The Information Technology Act, 2000 explicitly gives definition of CIC.
- It defines CIC as a computer resource, the incapacitation or destruction of which shall have debilitating impact on national security, economy, public health or safety.
- It basically aims to protect the digital assets.
- The government, under the Act, has the power to declare any data, database, IT network or communications infrastructure as CII.
Why is CII classification and protection necessary?
- IT resources form the backbone of countless critical operations in a country’s infrastructure.
- Given their interconnectedness, disruptions can have a cascading effect across sectors.
Recent incidents of CIC incapacitation
- In October, 2020 as India battled the pandemic, the electric grid supply to Mumbai suddenly stopped. It hit the mega city’s hospitals, trains and businesses.
- The incident underlined the possibility of hostile state and non-state actors probing internet-dependent critical systems in other countries, and the necessity to fortify such assets.
How are CIIs protected in India?
- Created in January 2014, the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) is the nodal agency.
- It takes all measures to protect the nation’s critical information infrastructure.
- It is mandated to guard CIIs from “unauthorized access, modification, use, disclosure, disruption, incapacitation or distraction”.
- NCIIPC monitors and forecasts national-level threats to CII for policy guidance, expertise sharing and situational awareness for early warning or alerts.
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