India: Reserve Bank issues advisory on the cybersecurity of Urban Co-op Banks
Image credit: Deccan Herald

The Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank, issued a directive to Urban Co-op Banks (UCBs), asking them to check, assess, and enhance their cybersecurity measures. Based on the advice of stakeholders, the RBI created the ‘Technology Vision for Cyber Security for Urban Co-operative Banks (UCBs) 2020-2023’ directive. 

In the advisory, the RBI calls for a 5-point plan, dubbed the GUARD  strategy. It is an acronym for Government Oversight, Utile Technology Investment, Appropriate Regulation and Supervision, Robust Collaboration, and Development of necessary IT, cybersecurity skillset. 

Notably, the advisory aims to develop cybersecurity measures for UCBs by helping them better manage and secure IT assets. It also warrants the creation of an offsite supervisory mechanism framework for controlling cybersecurity tech. Specifically, it aims to create a forum for UCBs to collaborate on navigating the financial cybersecurity system. The plan also addresses the training of employees who will be affected by changes in their work structure. 

The issued document said, “The cybersecurity landscape will continue to evolve with wider adoption of digital banking channels, thus necessitating the UCBs to manage the associated risks effectively. Active collaboration within UCBs and stakeholders would be necessary for sharing and coordinating various measures taken on cybersecurity aspects”. 

A new approach to financial security is essential in India, where UCBs hold a significant amount of assets and are vulnerable to cyber fraud. With the advent of new malware every day, cybersecurity measures are a priority area. Admittedly, government oversight on this advisory would also be greatly beneficial to all players in this process. 

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