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Current Affairs

Security audit of telecom networks

Date: 19 August 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is all set to direct telecom companies to undertake an “information security audit” of their networks and submit the report by October end.

 

Background

An information security audit is a step-by-step assessment of the complete network infrastructure which checks for the equipment installed and the latest upgrades done in order to prevent any data leakages.

 

Details

  • The auditors also check the data storage and security policies of the company and check whether all sections of the company adhere to the norms set by the company itself.

  • Apart from that, some auditing agencies also launch a controlled bug into the network of the company to check for vulnerabilities, and see what all systems are being impacted.

  • The objective of the audit is also to check for ‘backdoor’ and ‘trapdoor’ vulnerabilities. A ‘backdoor’ or a ‘trap door’ is a bug installed in the telecom hardware which allows companies to listen in or collect data being shared on the network.

  • The audit is likely to increase the scrutiny on Chinese companies Huawei Telecommunication Company and ZTE, which have been alleged to spy for the Chinese government.

  • Apart from the US, other countries such as the UK and Australia have also banned both the Chinese companies on “national security” concerns with the same allegations.

  • The DoT is likely to suggest to the companies that the external audit should be done only by an agency empanelled with Cert-IN.

  • This means that the audit will no longer remain a commercial compliance norm for the company, but will also look into the national security aspects of the telecom network.

  • Though such internal and external audits are done by companies every three or four years, it will be the first time that the audit will be done by an agency specified by the DoT.

  • The report of the audit is likely to help DoT put in a concrete plan to bar Chinese vendors from the Indian telecom market space if any problems are found.