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India greenlights secure OS project

Posted: 14 Oct 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:OS project  national security  software engineering centres 

More than a year after announcing plans to locally develop secure semiconductor chips for sensitive applications, India said it will also create its own operating system (OS) amid growing fears over its national security.

India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is establishing two software engineering centres, in Bangalore and in New Delhi, to develop a secure OS. About 25 scientists in each of these centres will work on the project, according to V.K. Saraswat, director general of DRDO.

The government also said banks and other critical industries need a secure OS to prevent hacking. Development and maintenance of OS source code is considered key to securing India's computer networks, Saraswat added.

DRDO will work on the OS development project with the Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institute of Technology Madras and the Centre for Development of Telematics, among others.

The proposed OS could also be used commercially, Saraswat said, adding that development could be "a fairly costly affair." He declined to estimate how long development would take.

India government agencies, including military organisations have been plagued by hacking attempts on its computer networks and various web sites. Most of the attempts are thought to have originated in China. DRDO officials would not comment about whether the hacking attempts prompted the OS development effort.

In July 2009, the Indian government revealed plans to design its own microprocessor through an initial investment of Rs.933.92 crore ($200 million). Among the justifications for the programme was an attempt to head off attacks on Indian military, telecommunications and space agency networks.

-K.C. Krishnadas
TechOnline India

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