The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) serves as the national agency for performing various functions in the area of cyber security in the country as per provisions of section 70B of the Information Technology Act, 2000 ( https://www.cert-in.org.in/PDF/Notification_regarding_CERT-In.pdf) and (https://www.cert-in.org.in/PDF/G.S.R_20(E).pdf) .
CERT-In continuously analyses cyber threats and handles cyber incidents tracked and reported to it. CERT-In regularly issues advisories to organisations and users to enable them to protect their data/information and ICT infrastructure.
In order to coordinate response activities as well as emergency measures with respect to cyber security incidents, CERT-In calls for information from service providers, intermediaries, data centres and body corporate.
During the course of handling cyber incidents and interactions with the constituency, CERT-In has identified certain gaps causing hindrance in incident analysis. To address the identified gaps and issues so as to facilitate incident response measures, CERT-In has issued directions relating to information security practices, procedure, prevention, response and reporting of cyber incidents under the provisions of sub-section (6) of section 70B of the Information Technology Act, 2000 ( https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/13116/1/it_act_2000_updated.pdf) .
The directions cover aspects relating to synchronization of ICT system clocks; mandatory reporting of cyber incidents to CERT-In; maintenance of logs of ICT systems; subscriber/customer registrations details by Data centers, Virtual Private Server (VPS) providers, VPN Service providers, Cloud service providers; KYC norms and practices by virtual asset service providers, virtual asset exchange providers and custodian wallet providers. These directions may be accessed from https://www.cert-in.org.in/PDF/CERT-In_Directions_70B_28.04.2022.pdf .
The Central Government in terms of the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 70B of Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000) has appointed "Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In)" vide notification dated 27th October 2009 published in the official Gazette and as per provisions of sub-section (4) of section 70B of IT Act, 2000. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team serves as the national agency for performing the following functions in the area of cyber security:-
- collection, analysis and dissemination of information on cyber incidents;
- forecast and alerts of cyber security incidents;
- emergency measures for handling cyber security incidents;
- coordination of cyber incidents response activities;
- issue guidelines, advisories, vulnerability notes and whitepapers relating to information security practices, procedures, prevention, response and reporting of cyber incidents;
- such other functions relating to cyber security as may be prescribed.
As per provisions of sub-section (6) of section 70B of the IT Act, 2000, CERT-In is empowered and competent to call for information and give directions to the service providers, intermediaries, data centres, body corporate and any other person for carrying out the activities enshrined in sub-section (4) of section 70B of the IT Act, 2000.
Various instances of cyber incidents and cyber security incidents have been and continue to be reported from time to time and in order to coordinate response activities as well as emergency measures with respect to cyber security incidents, the requisite information is either sometimes not found available or readily not available with service providers/data centres/body corporate and the said primary information is essential to carry out the analysis, investigation and coordination as per the process of law.
In the interest of
- the sovereignty or integrity of India,
- defence of India,
- security of the state,
- friendly relations with foreign states or
- public order or
- for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence using computer resource or
- for handling of any cyber incident,
the following directions have been issued to augment and strengthen the cyber security in the country:
- service providers,
- data centres,
- body corporate and
- Government organisations
shall connect to the Network Time Protocol (NTP) Server of National Informatics Centre (NIC) or National Physical Laboratory (NPL) or with NTP servers traceable to these NTP servers, for synchronisation of all their ICT systems clocks.
Entities having ICT infrastructure spanning multiple geographies may also use accurate and standard time source other than NPL and NIC, however it is to be ensured that their time source shall not deviate from NPL and NIC.
- Any service provider, intermediary, data centre, body
corporate and Government organisation shall mandatorily report
cyber incidents as mentioned in Annexure I to CERT-In within 6
hours of noticing such incidents or being brought to notice about
The incidents can be reported to CERT-In via
Email at email@example.com, or by
Phone at (1800-11-4949) or by
The format of reporting of cyber security incidents can be accessed from https://www.cert-in.org.in/PDF/certinirform.pdf .
The method of reporting may be accessed from https://www.cert-in.org.in/SecurityIncident.jsp
- When required by order/direction of CERT-In, for the purposes
of cyber incident response, protective and preventive actions
related to cyber incidents, the service provider/intermediary/data
centre/body corporate is mandated to take action or provide
information or any such assistance to CERT-In, which may contribute
towards cyber security mitigation actions and enhanced cyber
security situational awareness.
- The order/direction may include the format of the information that is required (up to and including near real-time), and a specified timeframe in which it is required, which should be adhered to and compliance provided to CERT-In, else it would be treated as non-compliance of this direction.
- The service providers, intermediaries, data centres, body corporate and Government organisations shall designate a Point of Contact to interface with CERT-In.
- The Information relating to a Point of Contact shall be sent to CERT-In in the format specified at Annexure II and shall be updated from time to tim
- All communications from CERT-In seeking information and providing directions for compliance shall be sent to the said Point of Contact.
- All service providers, intermediaries, data centres, body
corporate and Government organisations shall,
- mandatorily enable logs of all their ICT systems, and
- maintain them securely for a rolling period of 180 days, and
- the same shall be maintained within the Indian jurisdiction.
These should be provided to CERT-In along with reporting of any incident or when ordered/directed by CERT-In.
- Data Centres,
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) providers,
- Cloud Service providers, and
- Virtual Private Network Service (VPN Service) providers,
shall be required to register the following accurate information whichmust be maintained by them for a period of 5 years or longer duration as mandated by the law after any cancellation or withdrawal of the registration as the case may be:
- Validated names of subscribers/customers hiring the services
- Period of hire including dates
- IPs allotted to / being used by the members
- Email address and IP address and time stamp used at the time of registration / on-boarding
- Purpose for hiring services
- Validated address and contact numbers
- Ownership pattern of the subscribers / customers hiring services.
- virtual asset service providers,
- virtual asset exchange providers and
- custodian wallet providers (as defined by Ministry of Finance from time to time)
shall mandatorily maintain all information obtained
- as part of Know Your Customer (KYC) and
- records of financial transactions for a period of five years
so as to ensure cyber security in the area of payments and financial markets for citizens while protecting their data, fundamental rights and economic freedom in view of the growth of virtual assets.
- For the purpose of KYC,
- the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Directions 2016 ( https://www.rbi.org.in/CommonPerson/english/scripts/notification.aspx?id=2607 ),
- Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) circular dated April 24, 2020 ( https://www.sebi.gov.in/legal/circulars/apr-2020/clarification-on-know-your-client-kyc-process-and-use-of-technology-for-kyc_46565.html ),
- Department of Telecom (DoT) notice September 21, 2021 mandated procedures as amended from time to time may be referred to as per Annexure III ( https://dot.gov.in/sites/default/files/eKYC%2021-09-2021.pdf?download=1) .
- With respect to transaction records, accurate information shall be maintained in such a way that individual transaction can be reconstructed along with the relevant elements comprising of, but not limited to, information relating to the identification of the relevant parties including IP addresses along with timestamps and time zones, transaction ID, the public keys (or equivalent identifiers), addresses or accounts involved (or equivalent identifiers), the nature and date of the transaction, and the amount transferred.
'Cyber incident' means any real or suspected adverse event that is likely to cause or causes an offence or contravention, harm to critical functions and services across the public and private sectors by impairing the confidentiality, integrity or availability of electronic information, systems, services or networks resulting in unauthorized access, denial of service or disruption, unauthorized use of a computer resource, changes to data or information without authorization; or threatens public safety, undermines public confidence, have a negative effect on the national economy, or diminishes the security posture of the nation. (Rule 2(g) of the The Information Technology (The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team and Manner of performing functions and duties) Rules, 2013 ( https://www.meity.gov.in/writereaddata/files/G_S_R%2020%20%28E%292_0.pdf)
'Cyber security incident' means any real or suspected adverse event in relation to cyber security that violates an explicitly or implicitly applicable security policy resulting in unauthorized access, denial of service or disruption, unauthorized use of a computer resource for processing or storage of information or changes to data, information without authorization. (Rule 2(h) of the The Information Technology (The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team and Manner of performing functions and duties) Rules, 2013 ( https://www.meity.gov.in/writereaddata/files/G_S_R%2020%20%28E%292_0.pdf)
'Computer resource' means computer, computer system, computer network, data, computer data base or software. (Section 2(k) of the IT Act, 2000 ( https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/13116/1/it_act_2000_updated.pdf)
In case of any incident, the above-referred entities must furnish the details as called for by CERT-In. The failure to furnish the information or non-compliance with the ibid. directions, may invite punitive action under sub-section (7) of section 70B of the IT Act, 2000 and other laws as applicable1.
Vijay Pal Dalmia, Advocate
Supreme Court of India & Delhi High Court
Mobile No.: +91 9810081079
1 (7) Any service provider, intermediaries, data centres, body corporate or person who fails to provide the information called for or comply with the direction under sub-section (6), shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.
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