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Why India should not (yet) mandate companies to adopt a specific time source

‘What CERT-In is asking companies to do has no meaning’

clocks showing time

The Indian government's recent diktat to companies to sync their system clocks with the time servers traceable to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) or the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has received strong pushback from cybersecurity experts for lacking clarity and being impractical, but these concerns are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to time synchronisation, a former researcher at the Council of Scientific And Industrial Research (CSIR), which runs the National Physical Laboratory, told MediaNama. The researcher explained to us that the root problems lie elsewhere as India neither has a legal time yet, nor the required infrastructure to disseminate time to large group of entities. The researcher has worked to address these concerns for over a decade, but these efforts have still not yielded the desired results, the researcher said. How do most companies currently get their time? "Today most companies including telecom service providers use GPS-based systems to get their time. GPS is a group of satellites maintained by the US, and the source of GPS time is the US Naval Observatory (USNO)," the researcher said. "Everybody says they are using Indian Standard Time (IST) but they don't follow Indian Standard Time because time through GPS-based systems is UTC time," the researcher explained. However, some organisations in India have started relying on NPL for their time. "After a lot of efforts, ISRO started taking time from NPL. Before that even ISRO was using GPS time. In 2018, they got a two-way satellite communication established with NPL. Now Indian satellites…

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