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India to train 500,000 to fight cyber-attacks

NEW DELHI -- India aims to tackle a rise in cyber-attacks by training up to 500,000 computer specialists over the next five years, officials said Tuesday.

India's security agencies said cyberwarfare has emerged as the top threat to national security with the country's systems subjected to frequent attacks from domestic saboteurs and foreign rivals.

National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon; top members of the National Association of Software Services Companies, the country's information-technology trade federation; and industry chambers of commerce discussed the public and private sector plan at a meeting Monday.

“Despite having a reputation as an IT powerhouse, India faces a shortfall of around 500,000 such experts,” Data Security Council of India Chief Executive Kamlesh Bajaj said. “We have decided that we will train as many experts over the next five years.”

“We have to protect our systems both in government-critical infrastructure and important private sectors like banking and telecoms,” Bajaj said.

“Tangible steps will be taken, and a major investment is to be set aside for this purpose,” he said.

The plan includes courses on cybersecurity and certification of practitioners.

An Institute of Cyber Security Professionals of India would be set up for security testing and auditing. Police would be trained in cybercrime investigations, the Times of India reported.

India experienced cyber-attacks originating in Pakistan and China during the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Hackers often target the websites of Indian missions abroad and have also broken into the computers of leading Indian chief executives to mine confidential data.

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