Time to Fasten our Seatbelts!

No, this time we aren’t traveling to places, nor are we going for a roller coaster ride. Actually, some guests are planning to travel to our place and we are the ones who need to fasten our seatbelts. Confusing enough? Okay, let me explain what that really means!

Hackers, not those actors in a science fiction movie who are pinging google.com in the name of hacking, but real life artists who are actually capable of changing the shape of the whole world in a good way but many times in a BAD way too. A good hacker i.e. an ethical hacker or a white hat hacker scans for vulnerabilities in a system and tells us about the countermeasures we can apply to strengthen our system’s defense. While a bad hacker or a black hat hacker just exploits them to gain access of our credentials, to modify our system or to deny us from utilizing our resources. But don’t get confused, any hacker can change their hat from black to white or vice versa depending upon what they fancy.

In a developing country like Nepal, though a number of people are using internet, they are either unaware or hesitant about the cyber security threats that surrounds them. From the governmental level to the public level, the measures have barely been taken to address this. The poor digital access and political instability adds to the misery of the country’s vulnerable cyber system. The Nepal Telecommunications Authority just passed the “Cyber Security Byelaw, 2020”. However, this cyber law is so young that even if someone breaches your system, the government can do very little in terms of enforcing the legal policies to help you out. So, to all the readers out there, I would suggest you to enforce your own cyber security policies to help yourself which can be done overnight unlike trying to enforce the government’s policies. How to enforce your policies? C’mon, give an hour to surf the internet on how-to and you’ll get bunch of good advices.

The black hat hackers around the world have become so dangerous that it doesn’t even take them a day to destroy the whole cyber system of a technologically underdeveloped country like Nepal. We have witnessed cyberwars breaking out between countries time and again, e.g. Russia’s manipulation of social media to sway Western elections, most notably the 2016 US presidential election. Recently, we even noticed a tiny cyber war between Nepali and Indian hackers who were there to show off their hacking skills by publicizing credentials of governmental websites. These are just the small alarms of potential cyberwars that might take place in the near future. But unlike Russia, USA, or China, we don’t have a cyber-army to protect our country. Nepalese media accumulating four or five bug hunters and saying these are the cyber army of Nepal is a funny yet one of the most serious topics that is yet to be discussed. No disrespect to those fours or fives, but this just shows the quantity that we lack in case of man power to protect our country from any sort of possible cyber security threats.

So, when are we going to prepare for the potential calamity that we might face in the near future? It’s time to think the broader way. It is not just about the cyber wars, or the sensitive information being breached. It is about the competitiveness of the country in the technological battlefield. It’s still not too late to take the right steps to make the country and its technological masterminds competent. The right steps to be taken by the concerned authorities may be:

• Enforcing the cyber law in thwarting cybercrimes.

• Encouraging youth to get involved in learning cyber defense skills i.e. HACKING skills.

• Maintaining political and institutional stability to ensure stable and efficient governance.

• Accumulating the existing ethical hackers and giving them advanced training to sharpen their skillset.

• Encouraging the public to take smallest of steps towards keeping their credentials secure.

• Sharing the information regarding cyber-attacks and potential threats through communication lines in a frequent manner.

• Being up to date with the system.

It is not just the government or the IT professionals who needs to be ready to fight against the cyber threats, but, also the general public as well. One should know that little problems could eventually create bigger ones if no one takes an initiative to correct them. So, why shouldn’t we try to avoid these problems? Why not try to keep things secure from the microscopic levels? Why not fasten our seatbelts tighter and get ready to enjoy the ride of a cyber-highway without having to be much concerned about the hacker hurdles?
So, Let’s go!

Article by:

Hritik Thapa

Computer Engineering

II / II

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Medium Publication of Kathmandu University Computer Club maintained by KUCC Member.

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