India toughens up on telco security

Melissa Chua
01 Jun 2011
Daily News

India’s government has unveiled a slew of security measures operators must adhere to, or risk facing penalties.

The government has put the onus on operators to manage the security of the networks. Operators must appoint only Indian nationals for network maintenance. Security breaches may be punished with a 500 million rupee ($11.1 million) fine, and even criminal charges.

Location based services must also be introduced country-wide in three years - a move that may cost operators up to $5 billion and inadvertently result in higher tariffs, according to the Economic Times.

India’s Telecom Ministry has also told operators to ensure all equipment and software documentation is available in English – a move that foreign vendors are opposed to due to the risk of trade secret exposure.

Operators will be fined 500 million rupees rupees per breach should any intentional omissions, deliberate vulnerabilities or attempts at a security breach come to light. Offenders have to pay up within 30 days.

Operators need also get their networks audited and certified for security yearly from a certified agency.

India’s telecoms industry has been placed under close scrutiny since Pakistani terrorists involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks were found to be have used pre-paid phone SIMs from India to plan the rampage.

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