VIF Cyber Review: March 2023
Anurag Sharma, Senior Research Associate, VIF
UIDAI and SETS collaborate to conduct R&D in deep technologies

The Society for Electronic Transactions and Security (SETS), part of the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), on 23 March 2023, agreed to collaborate and conduct R&D to develop deep technologies, including Quantum Computing, Internet of Things (IoT) security, and cyber security.

The joint R&D will be part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative, aiming to improve self-reliance on information and cyber security and reduce dependence on tools developed outside Bharat. Technology has been an integral part of the Digital India initiative as a tool of good governance and foundation of Bharat’s expansive digital public infrastructure (DPI). Technology adoption and continuous upgradation are key elements of UIDAI’s functioning and are a prime focus area of its Aadhaar 2.0 roadmap.[1]

“Safety and Trust cannot be sacrificed at the altar of freedom of speech and privacy: MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar.”

In his valedictory address at the National Conference on Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) organised by the National Human Rights Commission on 03 March 2023, the Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & IT— Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that freedom of speech could not be cover for criminality, illegality and user harm, and reaffirmed that the intermediaries have to be accountable for the content on their platforms.

“For decades, the model that was followed was that intermediaries were not accountable for the content on their platforms and encouraged anonymity to prevent traceability of the illegal content. This helped the proliferation of child sexual abuse and other illegalities online. As a change in approach to deal with the issues, an intermediary, if it wants to do business in Bharat (India), is now under obligation to carry out due diligence over the kind of content it carries. If there is illegal content or CSAM, it has to inform us about the first originator when a court order is produced,” said the MoS Chandrasekhar in his address.[2]

The government of India unveiled the ‘National 6G’ vision.

According to a vision document unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, under the 6G initiative, Bharat will identify priority areas for research by involving stakeholders, including industry, academia, and service providers. The main aim of the 6G initiative is to identify and fund research and deployment of the next-generation technology in Bharat, with the aim of its launching by 2030. “Within six months of the rollout of 5G technology, we are talking about 6G. Before 4G, Bharat (India) was only a user of telecom technology, but now Bharat (India) is moving fast to become a big exporter of telecom technology,” said PM Modi.

The government has established a council to oversee the project and concentrate on matters like standardisation, locating the best spectrum for 6G, and developing an ecosystem for devices and systems, among other things. Although 6G has not yet been standardised, candidate technologies and spectrum are currently the subjects of active research and development.[3]

J&K Administration established CoE in Cyber Security for the government workforce.

On 05 March 2023, the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) launched a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Cyber Security for the government workforce to ensure the security of official websites and databases. The Information Technology Department established the CoE with the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIEIT), J&K.

The IT Department will make cyber security training mandatory for its employees, besides a high-level skill course for technically proficient employees looking after the security of govt websites and other portals. “The CoE is taking 60 officers and other officials each as its first batch in Jammu and Srinagar campuses of NIEIT for their 15-day capacity building programme in cyber security,” said Prerna Puri, Commissioner Secretary, Information Technology.[4]

Twitter blocked 122 accounts at the government’s request.

In response to the legal request from the Government of India, on 23 March 2023, Twitter India blocked another 29 accounts, counting to 122 Twitter accounts, violating the Information Technology Act 2000 and in order to maintain Law & Order situation in Punjab. These Twitter accounts included accounts of Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh and Amritsar-based pro-Khalistan MP Simranjit Singh Mann. The development follows the operation on 18 March to arrest pro-Khalistan preacher and sympathiser Amritpal Singh Sandhu. Sandhu is a declared fugitive and on the run.[5]

Personal Information is at risk as cyber-criminals hacked one of Australia's renowned real estate agencies.

On 15 March 2023, PH Property Bendigo, one of the renowned real estate agencies based in Victoria, Australia, informed its clients via e-mail that a staff member’s e-mail address was hacked, and hackers managed to get past security protocols by the company. According to the communication sent by the company, four months of data, including names, contact information, bank details, was stolen that could affect around 200 customers.

“Our current information shows that they have only emailed clients so far, however, there is a possibility that they have made a local copy of Kayla's entire email account and will have access to any email that has been sent to or from her,” read the communication from the company. Accordingly, the breach was reported to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and hired IT experts for assistance.[6]

US’ ONCD laid out future steps to digitally secure the Space ecosystem.

On 28 March 2023, the United States’ (US) the Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) at the White House organised a discussion at the executive-level on cyber concerns for different sectors, mainly the Space ecosystem. The National Space Council (NSC) and private sectors attended the discussion. The discussion was designed to drive action to motivate critical cyber security investments across the space systems ecosystem.

During the meeting, government officials emphasised on partnership with the private sector to ensure the US Space ecosystem is resilient against cyber threats. Industry stakeholders discussed their views on existing space system cyber security practices, such as strategies to measure cyber risks, address supply chain challenges, leverage quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms, and improve secure open-source libraries.[7]

Australia: Islamic hacktivists targeted hospitals over fashion label’s offensive dress.

On 24 March 2023, Islamic hackers from Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Sudan carried out a cyber-attack ‘#OpAustralia’ on Australian hospitals and healthcare centres, with several websites shut down. The cyber-attack was a protest about a dress shown at the Melbourne Fashion Festival, which they (hackers) believe was offensive to Islam.

The group carried out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Burnside Hospital, Calvary Care, and NSW Western Sydney Local Health District websites. The Royal Adelaide Hospital site stated: “The website is currently experiencing a high level of traffic.” When contacted, the hospitals knew nothing of the alleged attacks. “The Australian fashion house— ‘Not A Man’s Dream’ did a provocative act against the feelings of Muslims and insulting the Divine Self, by placing words in the Arabic language that contain the name ‘God’ Almighty … during a fashion exhibition held in Melbourne. Australia will be violently attacked starting from the coming hours,” a post on Telegram read. [8]


[1] “UIDAI and SETS join hands to conduct R&D in deep-tech including Quantum Computing, IoT Security and Cyber Security”, Press Information Bureau-Ministry of Electronics and IT, 23 March 2023, accessed on 12 April 2023, available from:
[2] “Safety and Trust cannot be sacrificed at the altar of freedom of speech and privacy: MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar”, Press Information Bureau-Ministry of Electronics and IT, 03 March 2023, accessed on 12 April 2023, available from:
[3]Tomas, Juan Pedro. “Indian government unveils national 6G vision”, RCR Wireless News, 23 March 2023, accessed on 15 April 2023, available from:
[4]PTI. “J&K Admin sets up centre for imparting training to its employees in cyber security”, ET, 06 March 2023, accessed on 07 April 2023, available from:
[5] “122 Twitter accounts blocked this week in India on request of govt: report”, Mint, 25 March 2023, accessed on 15 April 2023, available from:
[6]Lawrence, Sarah. “ID, bank details, contact information at risk as cyber criminals hack PH Property Bendigo real estate agency”, ABC News, 30 March 2023, accessed on 12 April 2023, available from:
Errick, Kirsten. “White House looks to secure space from cyber threats”, Nextgov, 29 March 2023, accessed on 12 April 2023, available from:
[7]Panagopoulos, Joanna, and Ellen Whinnett. “Muslim hacktivists target hospitals after fashion label’s ‘offensive’ dress”, The Australian, 24 March 2023, accessed on 14 April 2023, available from:

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