Data is wealth. Period. And like all wealth is to be guarded and protected fiercely, data is even more so, especially in today’s internet and the digitally-driven world. According to Internet World Stats, a website featuring data on global internet usage, India ranks second in the number of internet users worldwide at 462.12 million after China. Once you log into the World Wide Web, It’s hard not to leave a digital footprint behind that could potentially be misused. However, Indian laws are comparatively inadequate to address concerns of data protection and privacy.  Against this backdrop, the establishment of a partnership between the Dutch Security Cluster known as The Hague Security Delta (HSD) with a presence in Hyderabad assumes significance.

Hyderabad Security Cluster (HSC)

Apart from the obvious goal of creating a more secure world, the HSD partnership with the Hyderabadi counterpart will work towards more business activity and more jobs. It is essentially an attempt to bring together a network of businesses, governments and knowledge institutions on a common platform to collaborate on innovative security solutions and knowledge development. Plans are afoot to seek HSD expertise on formulating a legal framework to deal with cybercrime, by NALSAR. HSD will assist HSC in cyber security product development. Training will be provided by HSD so that HSC can meet the increasing threats of cyber attacks. Also on the anvil are awareness campaigns involving citizens in the fight for cyber safety.

IIIT-H and the cluster

There are around 20 founding fathers of the Hyderabad Security Cluster across diverse fields in this network who are actively championing digitally secure alternatives. From IIIT-H, we have Ramesh Loganathan, COO, IIIT-H Foundation and Prof Co-Innovations, and Prof. Ponnurangam Kumaraguru (PK), a Visiting Associate Prof at IIIT-H and on sabbatical from IIIT-Delhi, whose area of expertise lies in cybersecurity, privacy, and security in online social media and social computing. While Prof. Loganathan’s focus is on fostering the emergence of innovative, newer cybersecurity product companies, Prof. PK’s role will lay emphasis on how students and faculty in Hyderabad gain out of the collaboration with the Netherlands.

Ramesh Loganathan, COO, IIIT-H Foundation and Prof Co-Innovations, and Prof. Ponnurangam Kumaraguru (PK), a Visiting Associate Prof at IIIT-H and on sabbatical from IIIT-Delhi,

Role of Academia

Speaking on the sidelines of the recently concluded Summer School of Social Computing, Prof. PK who happens to be one of the organizers says that it is no more moot as to why cybersecurity is important or why we need a collaboration such as this. In fact, as a testimony to the ever-increasing online social media presence and the consequent security threats it poses, among the first things covered during the first two days of the school on social computing is how to harvest data just by looking at social media profiles of people and performing social networks analysis on the data. For example, he says one can generate a list of top ten tweeters not only by the number of tweets they post but also by the number of tweets that are retweeted.

“The interactions between students and faculty in Hyderabad, as well as Hague, is what I’m interested in”, says Prof. PK. Since he already has academic connections in the Netherlands at TUDelft (Delft Institute of Technology) - one of the largest and oldest Dutch public technological universities, he hopes to invite professors from there to hold talks at IIIT-H on cybersecurity. There are some independent students working on problem statements in cybersecurity under him and the idea is to generate enough interest on campus on the cluster too. Apart from the academic involvement, Prof. PK also mentions the enthusiastic response of industry majors such as Oracle and Verizon to the setting up of HSC. According to Prof. PK, “One of the greatest advantages HSC has is its local presence, smaller size and focus on local issues within Hyderabad.”

Cyber Security Summer School

One of the first initiatives as part of the training collaboration between the two clusters is The Hague India Cyber Security Summer School from July 9 -13 2018. Sponsored by IIIT Hyderabad, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, E2Labs, SkillCube, KrypC, The Hague University of Applied Sciences and the Municipality of The Hague (the Netherlands), it is a five-day programme during which Ph.D. / Masters / B. Tech students will be exposed to the latest developments and cutting-edge contemporary cybersecurity technologies, cyber trends, vulnerabilities and another cyber behaviour. The themes of The Hague India Cyber Security Summer School 2018 are the Internet of Things (IoT) and Critical Infrastructure, as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and norms in cyberspace. 6 students have been selected for the school from Hyderabad with 2 seats each from IIIT-H, JNTU, and NALSAR.

Prof. PK will be part of the summer school based out of Hague, delivering lectures to students, and throwing them various challenges. Harnessing the existing ties with TUDelft, he will conduct Day 4 of the school that revolves around Privacy and Security in Online Social Media, along with another professor from TUDelft.

For more information on the summer school, please click here.