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India, Australia Agree To Cooperate On Cybersecurity

India and Australia have agreed to broad-base cooperation in the digital economy and cyber-enabled critical technologies. The two sides highlighted the need to strengthen the security of critical information infrastructure such as 5G telecom networks, according to news reports.

The two sides discussed a range of issues relating to emerging technologies in the cyber domain at the first meeting of the India-Australia Joint Working Group (JWG) on cybersecurity cooperation, as per a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The JWG is a mechanism established under a framework arrangement on the cyber and cyber-enabled critical technology cooperation between the two countries to implement a five-year (2020-2025) plan of action.

“Noting the need to strengthen [the] security of critical information infrastructure as well as 5G technology and IoT (internet of things) devices, India and Australia agreed to enhance cooperation with the private sector and academia and to work together in skill and knowledge development,” the MEA said in the statement.

It said both sides also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the multilateral fora. The virtual meeting of the JWG took place a year after the two countries elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership during an online summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison. The MEA said both sides reaffirmed their commitment to work together in the areas of the digital economy, cybersecurity, and critical and emerging technologies as identified by the framework arrangement on cyber and cyber-enabled critical technology cooperation.

“India and Australia shared cybersecurity threat assessments as well as information on legislation and national cyber strategies,” it said. The MEA said both sides look forward to the next bilateral cyber policy dialogue and an early convening of the inaugural JWG meeting on information and communication technologies. The Indian delegation at the meeting was led by Paulomi Tripathi, Director (Oceania) in the MEA, while the Australian side was headed by Rachel James, Special Advisor, Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology at Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Cybersecurity has become critical as the pandemic has forced businesses and educational institutes to shift their operations online. Fraud, phishing, hacking, and other cybercrimes leave organisations vulnerable to attacks. To make the Internet safer, the Indian Institute of Technology in Ropar (IIT-Ropar) and Monash University in Australia have developed ‘FakeBuster’. It is a deepfake detector to identify and prevent imposters from attending video conferencing and manipulating faces on social media. Deepfake is a form of artificial intelligence (using deep learning) to manipulate images, audio, and videos on the Internet.

As OpenGov Asia had reported, FakeBuster is a deep learning-based solution that helps detect if a video is manipulated during a video-conference meeting. It enables a user to detect if another person’s video is manipulated or spoofed during video conferencing. The software is independent of video conferencing solutions and has been tested for its effectiveness on Skype and Zoom. It also detects deepfakes where faces have been manipulated on social media. Sophisticated artificial intelligence techniques have spurred a dramatic increase in the manipulation of media content. Since the device can presently be attached with laptops and desktops only, the team aims to make the network smaller and lighter to enable it to run on mobile phone devices as well.


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