Parliamentary Panel: VPN Apps Shield Cybercriminals
The Committee Believes VPN Services Are a Threat to Counter Cyber Threats and Other Malicious Activities.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has recently proposed the banning of VPN services in India, citing threats to cybersecurity.
The Committee concluded that VPN apps are easily available tools for enabling “criminals to remain anonymous online.” What’s more, the committee has also proposed to put a check on the use of Virtual Private Network (VPN) and the dark web, thus making a strong pitch against the rise in cybercrimes.
What Is a VPN?
Short for Virtual Private Network, VPN is a network created by using the Internet public infrastructure to connect to a private network, usually your company’s private internal network. This type of connection uses encryption and other security means to make sure only authorized users are able to access the company’s network.
A VPN service is usually used to protect a user’s online identity and activity. Using this type of service means that Internet traffic and data remain encrypted, preventing a cyber-criminal from sniffing the data exchange.
According to the House panel, technological challenges of the Dark Web and VPN services can bypass cybersecurity and allowing criminals to retain their anonymity online.
VPN Services Banned
As reported by the Financial Express, the panel recommended a joint effort between the Union Home Ministry and the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to identify and block such VPNs. In addition, the panel recommended taking the help of ISPs in this regard. Effectively, the committee has urged the Union government to act against VPN services sheltering criminals.
The Committee notes with anxiety the technological challenge posed by VPN services and Dark Web, that can bypass cyber security walls and allow criminals to remain anonymous online. As of date, VPN can easily be downloaded, as many websites are providing such facilities and advertising them.
In its report, the House panel said the Union Home Ministry must act to strengthen tracking and surveillance by improving and developing state-of-the-art technology and put a check on VPN and the Dark Web.
Corporations in India are worried about the proposal as it would impact their data security. If the government does follow the House panel’s suggestions and blocks VPN services in the country, it could cause huge concern for IT companies remotely running operations, banks conducting online transactions online, and so on.
As per some reports, the panel has also asked the Centre to develop a mechanism to ensure that these VPNs are blocked permanently.