The CyberPeace Foundation (CPF), in a joint collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), launched Project eSaksham on 17th May 2021, which is also celebrated globally as the National Telecommunication Day and Information Society Day. It is a first of its kind digital training focusing on developing skills in the cyber security domain, exclusively for college students and teachers.
The initiative was kicked off by Prof. Anil D. Sahasrabudhe, Chairperson of AICTE over an online Zoom meeting, along with Shri Buddha Chandrasekhar, Chief Coordinating Officer of AICTE, Lt. Gen (Dr.) Rajesh Pant (Retd.), National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC), Government of India and Capt. Vineet Kumar, Founder and President, CyberPeace Foundation.
Cyber attacks have increased many folds during the ongoing COVID19 pandemic. On May 7, 2021, Colonial Pipeline, an American oil pipeline system that originates in Houston, Texas, and carries gasoline and jet fuel mainly to the Southeastern United States, suffered a ransomware cyberattack that impacted computerized equipment managing the pipeline. In India cyber crimes are constantly attacking healthcare and fraudsters are running several campaigns spreading infodemic/misinformation, online selling fake medicines and oxygen cylinders.
The capacity building project was undertaken owing to the lack of manpower in the domain. According to NASSCOM, India had a shortage of one million cyber security professionals in 2020. The labour crunch is expected to hit approximately 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021.
The aim is to build a community where the internet strengthens instead of becoming a weakness, while making the youth industry ready and to also create a secure ecosystem where research work can be transformed into market ready products.
Launching Project eSaksham Chairman, AICTE, Ministry of Education, Prof. Anil D. Sahasrabudhe said, “Everyone wants to be happy and safe but Homo sapiens have also got a criminal tendency and it is not new and when there is crime, there has to be cops. As civilization grew and we developed the World Wide Web, there were new challenges thrown to us. The eSaksham project will teach the participants how to identify and mitigate those challenges. Indian students are already very tech and IT savvy, participating in the eSaksham training will be a way to contribute to society.”
In his address Lt Gen (Dr.) Rajesh Pant (Retd), PVSM, AVSM, VSM, National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC), Prime Ministers Office, Government of India said, “Last year on the Independence day the honourable Prime Minister for the first time mentioned cyber security. It was the first time that the term cyber security was uttered from the Red Fort. Cyber attacks are a man made cause of economic loss that amounted to six billion USD last year. The Indian government too is working on a national cyber security ecosystem, the strategy for which will be ready by this year. In the new normal, there are only two mantras for survival- personal hygiene and cyber hygiene.”
Following his speech he announced the third edition of the Global CyberPeace Challenge (GCC 3.0) was also announced, which will be launched in the upcoming months. He also launched the eRaksha 2020 compendium created to celebrate the winners of the second edition of the competition conducted for students, educators, parents and caregivers across the nation. The compendium for GCC 2.0 was also unveiled during the launch event.
The eSaksham training will be conducted at four levels. A total of 5 lakh students and educators will be trained through the online sessions. 25000 CyberPeace Corps volunteers and 500 CyberPeace fellows will also be created through various levels of training, and 50 CyberPeace Clubs will be set up across the country.
Level 1 will be a two hour long online workshop on the basic concepts on navigating cyberspace, including cyber security, netiquette and introduction to new technologies. A total of 5 lakh participants will be trained in level 1.
Level 2 training, which is a four-day long workshop, will be conducted for a total of 25,000 participants, who will be shortlisted through an assessment test at the end of Level 1 trainings. The participants will also be enrolled in the CyberPeace Corps volunteer programme and will work on ongoing as well as independent projects, focusing on the interest areas of the participants.
For Level 3, a total of 5000 participants will be shortlisted, who will undergo week long training sessions customized to suit their interests and skills. This level training will include IoT security, cloud security, blockchain and infrastructure security.
The final level, level 4 will be for 500 CyberPeace Fellows, who will be shortlisted through a series of assessments. An intense 30-day intensive training session will be conducted in collaboration with the government, academia and the industry. They will also be connected to mentors and will have access to laboratories and cyber ranges, to further develop their skills. Successful completion of training shall make the participants eligible for a certificate by AICTE and CyberPeace Foundation.