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IIT Kanpur inks MoU to strengthen cybersecurity solutions

The Kanpur-based Indian Institute of Technology inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with leading stock exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE), to collaboratively develop cybersecurity solutions and practices.

In a statement, the NSE said that its partnership with IIT-Kanpur will develop and create an environment to negotiate and deal with the current and future cybersecurity challenges in the Indian financial and capital markets ecosystem. It will also organise tools to further strengthen India’s cybersecurity framework.

IIT-Kanpur was established in 1959 and is a public engineering institution located in Uttar Pradesh. It is acknowledged as an Institute of National Importance by the Government of India under the Institutes of Technology Act. It is one of the first Indian Institutes of Technology.

With IIT-Kanpur’s ongoing work in the domain of critical infrastructure and the NSE being an institution of national importance, the collaboration is expected to create cutting-edge solutions to improve cybersecurity measures for the Indian capital market ecosystem.

Funded by the Department of Science and Technology, IIT-Kanpur has established a C3I (Cyber Security and Cyber Defence of Critical Infrastructures) centre. The C3I focuses on research on cybersecurity and cyber-defence of critical infrastructure, including financial markets infrastructure.

The centre does research in areas of security assessment, vulnerability detection, cyber-threat modelling, security incident management solutions, and blockchain-based deterrent to insider attacks.

On its website, IIT-Kanpur said that now, cybersecurity is no longer only an information security problem. It is a national issue because of the growing uses of digital control and communication in the functioning of the country’s critical infrastructures.

Power grids, water and sewage systems, nuclear plants, railway signalling, air traffic monitoring, and rockets and missile management are all controlled through digital sensing and software-based regulation.

Network-based data movements from sensors to control centres, substations and load dispatch centres are examples of the need for accurate, efficient and resilient communication systems in critical infrastructures.

Nation states, terrorists, and organised criminals can launch cyber-attacks on these systems to incapacitate a nation’s infrastructure and cause large-scale blackouts, manufacturing losses, and train, air or nuclear accidents.

The C3I is India’s first research centre that aims to study, educate, train, and to spawn start-ups to create technological safeguards to protect these vital infrastructures.

Researchers at the centre assess infrastructure relationships, discover cyber vulnerabilities, develop solutions, and alert the National Cyber Coordination Centre, and other government agencies to prevent disruption in cyber systems.

The centre is building India’s first cybersecurity testbed, similar to what is available in the US. It is also training students in the field and providing them with the skill-set needed to lead India’s critical infrastructure utilities, and government agencies in the future. The centre plans to offer hands-on training to executives of utilities for better preparedness in case of cybersecurity threats.

The centre has international ties with partners from Israel, and the US to train students, improve research, facilitate technology exchange and host cybersecurity conferences and workshops.

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