Cyber crime is a crime that involves breaching or hacking into a computer or a network. Crime execution involves using one computer to target another one. Cyber crime may harm a company, a nation, or an individual’s financial health and security.
India recorded an alarming increase of 63.5% in cyber crime cases in the year 2019, and the country has become a soft target for cyber criminals. Fraud accounted for 60.4% of all registered cyber crime cases. Most Indian firms experienced more than a 25% rise in cyber threats or alerts amidst the move to work from home owing to the pandemic. Further, digitisation has highlighted the frauds, thus facilitating the spiked number.
How to get rid of cybercrime?
Cyber crime is an evolving threat. It is a good idea to recognise it, which can be the first step to protect your data and financial information. Knowing who to contact when you see others engaging in online criminal acts, and taking some basic precautions are important steps to protect yourself against cybercrime.
You can take the following cyber crime safety tips to protect yourself:
1. Use an internet security suite
An anti-virus security solution provides real-time protection against malware, including ransomware and viruses. It helps to protect your financial and personal information when you surf online. You should regularly install and update anti-virus software to prevent viruses from infecting your computer.
2. Use complicated passwords
Use separate password/User ID combinations for the different accounts and avoid writing them down. You can combine letters, numbers, special characters (minimum 10 in total) to make your passwords more complicated and change them regularly.
Don’t repeat your passwords on different sites. A password management application can help you create better passwords leading to better security.
3. Activate firewalls
Firewalls are the first wall of cyber defense; they block connections to bogus sites and will resist hacking.
4. Keep your software updated
It is especially significant for your internet security software and operating system. Cyber criminals frequently exploit flaws in your software to gain access to your system. Try mending these flaws to repel such cyberattacks.
5. Manage your social media settings
Keep your personal and private information secure. Cyber criminals can often access your personal information from the data that you share on social media, so the less you share publicly, the better.
Cyber crime in India
India, with over 400 million internet users as of 2018, is the second-largest internet population in the world. Cyber crimes in India caused Rs.1.25 lakh crore loss in 2019, making India rank in the 2nd position amongst the countries affected by cyber-attacks between 2016-2018. Ransomware attacks are increasing every day, and many cyber criminals work from their homes. Some of them are so heartless, they even attack hospitals, knowing that in an emergency, the hospitals will pay.
There are a lot of vulnerabilities in devices like mobiles that people use to access services. An analysis of the attack vector in a mobile phone has revealed that apart from the applications, there are 15 different places from where a hacker can hack into it. That includes Bluetooth, communication interfaces, memory chips, operating systems, processors, and wi-fi.
The overnight shifting of the workplace from office to home because of the pandemic has opened up corporate systems to a variety of cyber risks. The office environment provides several layers of security, while users working remotely expose the system to break-ins and data breaches.
Hackers have found multiple ways of exploiting the weak IT infrastructure at employee’s homes for stealing user credentials. Indeed, the frequency of cyber attacks is increasing, and there were 7 lakh recorded cyberattacks till August this year-an increase of a whopping 175% over the same period last year.
Ransomware is a type of malware that threatens to lock a computer system or data by encrypting the information and blocking access to it until a ransom is paid. According to reports, there has been a 200 % quarter-to-quarter increase in ransomware attacks in India during April-June 2020. A link to a website that triggers a drive-by download, or spam emails loaded with malware, are some of the methods used for the deployment of ransomware.
There is a huge gap in the cybersecurity products market in India since most of the players are foreign.
Causes of cybercrime in India
Cybercriminals often choose an easy way to make money, though it is illegal. They target cash-rich organisations like banks or financial institutions, where every day huge amounts of money are transacted. They hack sensitive information exploiting the vulnerability of IT security systems. The reasons why the IT networks are so vulnerable are because:
- Ease of access- There is many possibilities of breaching a computer system due to the complex technology. Hackers can steal access codes, advanced voice recorders, retina images, etc., that can bypass firewalls to get past security systems.
- Complex codes- The computers run on operating systems that are programmed by millions of codes. Cyber criminals take advantage of any mistake in the coding.
Below we share with you some cyber crime stories that have brought huge losses to renowned companies in India.
1. Cosmos bank cyber-attack in Pune
In 2018, Pune witnessed a cyber-attack on the Cosmos bank, which shocked the entire banking sector. Hackers siphoned off Rs 94.42 crore by hacking into the bank’s ATM server and took details of many debit cardholders. Money was siphoned off, while hackers from 28 countries immediately withdrew the amount.
2. Canara Bank ATM system hacked
Around mid-2018, the ATM servers of Canara bank were targeted in a cyber attack. The cybercriminals store nearly Rs 20 lakhs from various bank accounts. Hackers used skimming devices to steal information from 300 debit cardholders. The imposters had targeted 50 victims, and the stolen money ranged from Rs 10,000 to Rs 40,000.
3. Aadhar software hacked
A huge data-breach of personal records of 1.1 billion Aadhar card holders happened in 2018. The leaked data included personal details like Aadhar, mobile, PAN, and bank account numbers, and IFSC codes. Shockingly, soon after, anonymous sellers were selling Aadhar details for Rs 500 per person on WhatsApp. Also, one could get the printout of anybody’s Aadhar card for a paltry Rs 300.
India Fights Back!
On August 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented a new cyber-security strategy to the nation, as dependence on the internet will increase many-fold in the coming years.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has launched a portal, the National Cybercrime Receiving Portal-www.cybercrime.gov.in, on August 30, 2019, to help people report all kinds of cyber crimes on a centralised platform. Victims of financial cyber fraud in Delhi can dial a helpline number 155260 or report any incident of financial cyber fraud on www.cybercrime.gov.in.
After getting the complaint, the concerned Police Officer investigates the matter and instructs the concerned bank or financial institution, or third-party payment app, to block the money involved in the cyber fraud. The use of this facility will help a victim of financial cyber crime in retrieving the money and help the law enforcement authorities in identifying the criminals. The victim can take legal action.
National Cyber-Security Strategy (NCSS) has been created to ensure a safe, resilient, secure, and trusted cyberspace for India. The government has launched the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre with a budget of Rs.415.86 crores. It is a sprawling scheme encompassing seven separate agencies including, the National Cybercrime Forensic Laboratory, The National Cybercrime Threat Analytics unit, and the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal.
The recent shift to work-from-home due to the pandemic has put a lot of companies at risk of data theft and fraud. We hope that the above article would help businesses repulse this threat effectively.
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