Saturday, April 17, 2010

Antony asks forces to counter cyber attacks

In the wake of reports of Chinese hackers stealing vital data from Indian defence and diplomatic computer networks, Defence Minister A K Antony said on Friday asked the armed forces to coordinate closely with other cyber security agencies to prepare a crisis management action plan against cyber terrorism. The minister noted that cyber-space had emerged as an important medium for information sharing, but at the same time the existing technology was susceptible to misuse by anti-social and anti-national elements."Of late, extraordinary and unprecedented cyber crimes have taken place across the globe, exposing gap holes in cyber security systems," Antony told the armed forces Unified Commanders' Conference in New Delhi
"Although the defence services at all levels have taken steps to counter cyber threat through stringent implementation of cyber security policy, there is still a requirement to ensure that all loopholes are suitably plugged. A few recent cases are reminders of our own vulnerabilities," he said.
Close interaction with national agencies like Computer and Emergency Response Team, NTRO, Home and IT ministries to prepare a crisis management action plan for countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism is essential, he said inaugurating the conference. Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju, Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman and IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, Army Chief General V K Singh, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and Chief of Integrated Staff Committee Air Marshal S C Mukul were also present on the occasion.
Expressing happiness over the progress made to improve jointness among armed forces in various spheres, Antony said increasing involvement of Integrated Defence Service headquarters in defence issues, the functioning of Andaman and Nicobar Command and the progress of Strategic Forces Command were a few examples of the success of the inter-operability concept.
He said the future of optimal military power lay in joint operations. "Towards this end, the first-ever Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan for 2012–27 is nearing completion under the aegis of IDS headquarters. Once finalised, it would be yet another milestone in our progress towards jointness," he said.

SBI launches defence salary package for Indian Air Force

The State Bank of India (SBI) today launched a defence salary package for the Indian Air Force with an array of concessional services such as zero balance accounts, interest rate concessions on loans, preferential allotment of lockers and free mobile banking.

"I recommit that SBI would serve the very best we can," SBI chairman O P Bhatt said at the launch of the product here.

The package includes free drafts and free cheque books and provides for free funds transfers to any of the State Bank Group's network of almost 16,000 branches or any other bank in India, besides free ATM cards and other features.

SBI further said that it plans to add 5,000 ATMs to its existing count of 20,000, which will benefit more than one lakh Air Force personnel, as the bank intends to establish a large number of ATMs to serve Air Force formations.

The package enables Air Force personnel to open zero balance accounts with an unique lifetime account number, valid even after retirement, and offers free mobile banking services, preferential allotment of lockers and interest rate concessions on home, car and personal loans, among others.

"The bank's network of business correspondents appointed in unbanked rural areas will also be available for the basic banking requirement of the Air Force personnel and their families," SBI said.

Speaking on the occasion, Air Chief Marshal P V Naik said, "I hope SBI would meet the expectations of defence personnel," adding that he would urge the SBI chairman to translate it into a reality at the earliest.

A similar package was announced for Army and Navy personnel earlier.