CAG calls for global cooperation to combat cyber security threats in auditing


Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India Girish Chandra Murmu on Monday called upon the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to cooperate globally to combat cyber security threats to auditing. The government needs to collaborate with private sector partners to improve cyber security, he said.

Girish Chandra Murmu was addressing the 6th meeting of the heads of Supreme Audit Institutes (SAIs) of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states in Lucknow.

“The adoption of information technology in the public sector has brought concerns related to cyber security to the forefront. It has become imperative for SAIs to develop the adequate capacity to audit cyber security issues,” the CAG said.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India is utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) techniques in the audit process. It permits a more efficient and effective approach to the audit process and can improve the overall quality of the audit, he said.

The SAIs plays a critical role in promoting good governance and accountability in government, he observed.

As independent bodies responsible for auditing government finances and operations, SAIs provide valuable insights to national governments by identifying areas of improvement highlighting inefficiencies and identifying potential areas of fraud and corruption, he said.

“India is utilising artificial intelligence techniques to gain insights from the data collected from the audited entities. The risk areas of interest identified through application of artificial intelligence technique are used to identify audit objectives and develop audit design matrix during audit planning stage. It allows for a more targeted and efficient approach to the audit process,” he said.

India is also using artificial intelligence techniques to identify a specific and focused set of sample units for in-person audit.

It allows for the collection of corroborative evidence in support of potential deviations identified from the data, the CAG said. The organisation is also working towards receiving data periodically from the audited entities and incorporating feedback from substantive checks to improve the model. It allows for the incorporation of new data sources as well as further training and refining of the artificial intelligence model, he said.

CAG Girish Chandra Murmu said the digitisation of government operations and adoption of advanced emerging technologies had brought new challenges and responsibilities for protection against artificial intelligence-powered advanced malwares. Artificial intelligence is being used in cyber security as well as for offensive and defensive roles as there are threats from artificial intelligence- powered advanced polymorphic malware, he said.

Trojans possess the capacity to change their behavior and bypass security defences, he added.

Cybercrime has become a major economic threat, costing the global economy an estimated over $ 6 trillion annually which is projected to reach nearly $10 trillion by 2025. The cyber criminals have a history of embracing cutting edge technologies and artificial intelligence is no exception. Artificial intelligence algorithms are being used to guess passwords and analyse social media profiles, he said.

Cyber criminals are using artificial intelligence to create convincing fake images, audio and video to deceive their targets, he added.

As malicious artificial intelligence applications make it easier for criminals to gather information, trick people and steal sensitive data, there is a need for robust cyber security measures, he added.

The main challenge is the constant evolution of cyber threats that make it difficult for the government to keep up with the latest risks and vulnerabilities, he said.

Stating that the government has limited resources for cyber security, he explained several government systems and networks are based on older technology that is not able to withstand modern cyber threats.

As upgradation of the system is costly and time consuming , there is a need to collaborate with the private sector to improve cyber security , he said.

Underlining that international cooperation was required as cyber security threat is not limited to the national boundaries, he said governments must work together with SAI to share information and work with coordination to combat cyber threats, Murmu said.

Addressing the delegates, governor Anandiben Patel said, the SAI leaders’ meeting offers a platform to the SCO member states to share their experiences and best practices to protect against cyber threats. It will improve the quality of auditing and promote greater transparency in the audit process, she said.

Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI) from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and Pakistan are participating in the three-day SCO meet.

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