The information technology sector is considered a major part of India's economy. According to a 2018 report from India's Economic Times, India's IT industry is worth $156 billion - a significant driver of economic growth and widely considered "the biggest job creator in the organised sector," explains the report. When compared to India's total GDP ($2.264 trillion), it becomes evident means that the country's IT industry is worth just under 7% of that GDP figure.
However, according to Forbes, the country's huge support for digital has also led to security concerns, with India suffering from more cyber attacks. This is in part because India is now the world's second-largest smartphone market, according to the same source. As hackers use sophisticated methods to launch attacks on Android handsets, the country is especially vulnerable.
What is OWASP AppSec India?
The answer to India's growing cybersecurity woes may lay in the form of OWASP AppSec India, a longstanding local initiative that aims to educate people about information security and the rise of growing cyber threats. It is the Indian branch of the OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project), a non-profit that provides unbiased information about app security. This includes a consensus-based top 10 report that increases awareness about topics such as broken access control, insufficient attack protection, and underprotected APIs in web and mobile applications. Additionally, OWASP local branches organise conferences and events for industry professionals to share their expertise. Back in August 2008, the OWASP AppSec India Conference looked at "Trends and Challenges" in application security with talks and workshops. A similar event in the future would help India greatly.
India's tech boom has been fast and tech startups such as Flipkart, Hike, and Zoom have set the pace. Fledgling tech companies in the country are eager to follow in these business' footsteps, but it is important to do so while taking the necessary precautions regarding information security. The education provided by OWASP AppSec India helps companies in the IT sector consider the importance of keeping things secure.
Why is OWASP AppSec India Good News for the Industry?
India's vulnerability to cyber attacks mustn't be understated: In a May 2018 speech, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba warned that "cyber attacks are becoming more organised," that cyber espionage is on the rise, and that these attackers now have "significant funding." Gauba also stated that "Partnership with the private sector and with the academia hence is of utmost importance" when it comes to addressing the issue.
Addressing these issues could potentially have a huge positive effect. By cleaning up the state of its cyber affairs, the people of India, as well as those who engage with the products exported by its IT sector, will be more secure and protected. A cyber attack can have a devastating impact on a person or organisation, with their details (including financials and other sensitive data) blowing in the wind, it can lead to significant ramifications.
Not only would raising awareness about cybersecurity issues help to prevent these things from happening, but it would also strengthen India's position in the global IT market. The vulnerabilities do little for the country's standing, with people less likely to work with or launch in the market as a result of its status.
With India relying so heavily on the IT market for its wealth, it is all the more important the security is taken seriously. It's difficult to quantify the effects of OWASP AppSec India, but the impact of the knowledge it imparts could be very beneficial.