ICT: With the country developing, both public and private organisations are focusing on e-governance. Various agencies are now rolling out many of their services online.

While the system provides easy access and efficient delivery of services and promotes the growth of a knowledge-based society, the threat to cyber security cannot be overlooked.

In order to address such issues and provide support and enhance cyber security in the country, the Department of Information Technology and Telecom (DITT) launched the Bhutan Computer Incidence Response Team (BtCIRT) on April 21.

The team consists of five members from the department. BtCIRT’s officials said that the team will ensure security of online systems and will also act as a central point of contact regarding cyber security related issues in the country.

DITT’s ICT officer, Sonam Choki, said that as the IT infrastructures in the country are more open, it is likely to become vulnerable to cyber-attacks. “Any good systems is not immune to various cyber threats,” she said. “With the rolling out of many services online, a wide variety of cyber security incidents are being reported, ranging from virus attacks, DDOS (denial-of-service) attacks to hacking and defacement of government websites.”

According to officials, BtCIRT provides services such as computer incident handling, security monitoring, assessment and mitigation and promoting awareness of cyber security risks and protection.

“If there are any computer incidents, individual or agency can report the issue through the BtCIRT website or directly contact the team,” said Sonam Choki. “The team will coordinate response activities and provide assistance to the affected individual or agency.”

In addition, officials said that the team will proactively collect information regarding security vulnerabilities and it will communicate with constituents in order to disseminate appropriate vulnerability information.

The team will also raise general awareness of security threats by using different instruments such as meetings, seminars, articles, media and similar methods.

Sonam Choki said that since it is a new initiative, capacity building and sensitisation of the relevant stakeholders are a few challenges that the team is currently facing. “Obviously, we will have to work closely with our constituents as cyber security has always been a collective effort everywhere in the world,” she said.

An awareness workshop was recently carried out on the operation of a Computer Incidence Response Team. The workshop was attended by ICT focal points from ministries, large autonomous agencies, banks, ISPs, Bhutan Power Corporation and other relevant stakeholders.

Younten Tshedup