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Critical Information Infrastructure
Recently, Union Ministry of Electronics and IT has declared IT resources of ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and UPI managing entity NPCI as critical information infrastructure (CII).
- The Information Technology Act of 2000 defines “Critical Information Infrastructure" as a “computer resource, the incapacitation or destruction of which shall have debilitating impact on national security, economy, public health or safety”.
- The government, under the IT Act of 2000, has the power to declare any data, database, IT network or communications infrastructure as CII to protect that digital asset.
- Any person who attempts to secure access to a protected system in violation of the law can be punished with a jail term of up to 10 years.
Need for CII Classification
- World over governments have been moving with alacrity to protect their critical information infrastructure.
- IT resources form the backbone of countless critical operations in a country’s infrastructure, and given their interconnectedness, disruptions can have a cascading effect across sectors.
- An information technology failure at a power grid can lead to prolonged outages crippling other sectors like healthcare, banking services.
- In October 2020 as India battled the pandemic, the electric grid supply to Mumbai suddenly snapped hitting the mega city’s hospitals, trains and businesses.
- It underlined the possibility of hostile state and non-state actors probing internet-dependent critical systems in other countries.
Protection of CII in India
- The National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) is the nodal agency for taking all measures to protect the nation’s critical information infrastructure.
- It was created in January, 2014.
- It is mandated to guard CIIs from “unauthorized access, modification, use, disclosure, disruption, incapacitation or distraction”.
- It monitors and forecast national-level threats to CII for policy guidance, expertise sharing and situational awareness for early warning or alerts.
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