Cyber security strategy in offing

Kathmandu, September 2

The government is planning to come up with National Cyber Security Strategy to help deal with threats and attacks in the cyberspace. If things go as per plan, the strategy will be readied and implemented within the current fiscal year.

Amid the huge growth in the use of internet in the country, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) and Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) have begun preparations to devise the strategy with technical collaboration of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialised body for telecommunication and ICT. The planned policy will help the government enact a new law on cyber security, form a national-level Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) and bring Child Online Protection (COP) guideline.

Addressing a workshop on national cyber security awareness, Minendra Rijal, minister for information and communications, said the government is committed to make cyberspace safe and introduce a law to ensure the safety of children when they use the internet. “We need to have emergency response system and COP. ITU help is needed in those areas,” he added.

After huge growth in internet users, the cases of cyber crime have been increasing in the country and the means to keep cyberspace secure and safe have become a global concern.

In this scenario, Rijal has also instructed NTA to prepare a draft of cyber security strategy at the earliest and submit it to MoIC without delay. The event was jointly organised by ITU and NTA as part of preparations to get inputs to devise a national strategy and create awareness on cyber security.

“Internet users in the country have been increasing by 12 to 15 per cent every year. This has also increased the risks of cyber crime and to reduce them, awareness is also a must,” said Digambar Jha, chairman of NTA. He said that the government — through the MoIC, Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment and Ministry of Home Affairs — has taken up the issue of cyber security and formed committees to prepare reports to address pressing policy, strategic, legal and institutional and operational aspects of cyber security.

In the programme, Sameer Sharma, senior advisor of ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, said it was high time for every nation to give equal priority to national and cyber security. Talking about Nepal’s scenario, he said there is need of national cyber security strategy, emergency response team, COP guideline and human or institutional arrangements that can protect people from cyber attacks.

Till date, the government has been dealing with cases related to cyber attacks based on the Electronic Transaction Act (ETA) 2006.

Ananda Raj Khanal, director of NTA, assured that the cyber security strategy would be put in place within the current fiscal year. “We hope to get a comprehensive law on cyber security after the implementation of the strategy,” he said.

In the programme, stakeholders discussed on social media security, mobile security, malware infections and COP, among others. After the workshop, ITU will also prepare a report to identify gaps and make recommendations for implementing a national cyber security awareness programme.