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Cybercrimes In India To Rise By 65% By 2017 : Study

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Cybercrimes and mobile frauds in India are set to increase by a whooping 65% by next year as more and more people are going to access the internet and related services including financial services over their smartphone and computers, a recent study said.

The study said rapid increase in use of computers and the emergence of the Internet has led to the evolution of cyberspace, about 40-45% of financial transactions are done via mobile devices.

“And this menace (mobile frauds) is expected grow to 60-65% by 2017,” says a joint study by industry body ASSOCHAM and EY.

Though the fraud is part of cybercrime, the study calls it mobile frauds as around 45% of such activities are happening over mobile devices. Such instances would increase, the study fears.

According to joint study – ‘Strategic national measures to combat cybercrime’ – credit and debit card fraud cases top the chart of cybercrimes. There has been a sixfold increase in such cases over the past three years.

According to the data, about 46% complaints of online banking are related to/credit/debit card fraud followed by Facebook (39%)-related complaints (morphed pictures/cyber stalking/cyber bullying). Other major cyber complaints were cheating through mobile (21%), hacking of e-mail ID (18%), abusive/offensive/obscene calls and SMS (12%), and others.

Enforcing data security measures and creating proactive security monitoring capability are vital for an organization to maintain a lead over emerging threats and protect their financial, intellectual and customer-related information, adds the study. A secure cyberspace and government’s influence in keeping tabs on cybercrime have become important criteria for businesses to establish, operate and flourish in any region.

As the nation embarks to connect over 1.2 billion people and leapfrog into next generation infrastructure including smart cities, millions of people, devices and machines are getting hyper-connected across India every day. Enormous amount of real-time information is moving across the ever expanding network at increasing speeds.

From critical communications network to power distribution to financial well-being of the nation depends on the robustness of the cyber network. Each day, there are growing reports of spread of malware, misinformation and systemic cyber-attacks. These malicious forces know no physical boundaries. This is a huge challenge and needs unprecedented collective action. Indeed, it is now a paramount national priority.

Countries, such as the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK) have reached an advanced stage as far as the implementation of their cybersecurity strategy is concerned. Australia has formulated a national plan to combat cybercrime with a vision of safe and secure digital environment for all Australians. Canada’s cybersecurity strategy is focused on a plan for meeting cyber threat and help Canadians to be secure online.

What Is Required

The study says global menace of cybercrime and threats originating from the digital world require dedicated resources and efforts. While India is in the process of defining key initiatives with regard to cybersecurity, many mature countries have already implemented various key initiatives aimed at the improvement of critical infrastructure for cybersecurity and addressing cybercrime.

“A dedicated national governing unit may be established in India, which will be the central agency for all state government cybercrime agencies to coordinate, integrate and share information related to cybercrimes,” the study said. “Such a central agency will be responsible for driving all the cybercrime prevention initiatives, such as collaboration with private sectors, and training and awareness across the country.”

The Government should provide well defined citizen awareness programs aimed at preventing cybercrime as a proactive mitigation. Cybercrime awareness shall be introduced in academics in the early stages of education as a mandate for all the state and central, and public and private schools. Mechanisms shall be established for independent monitoring of awareness program at regular intervals to evaluate the number of people/regions covered. Awareness material shall be updated regularly to cover up-to-date information.

Maintaining centralized cybercriminal database. A centralized database of cybercriminals should be maintained so that the criminals released from jails may be monitored. Such checks will discourage cybercriminals from engaging in spurious activities in cyberspace. Many countries, such as the USA and Australia have maintained a central repository of cybercriminals.

It will be beneficial, the Assocham-EY study suggests, to have collaborations with International Cyber Security Protection Alliance, such as the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), National Crime Agency’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) and the UK’s CEOP. This will help in not only adopting the best practices by other countries for prevention of cybercrime, but also in increasing the capability, knowledge, training, skills, capacity and expertise of cybersecurity task forces. Additionally, it will help to reduce the harm caused to businesses, customers and citizens due to international cyberattacks.

There is a need to increase the number of cybercrime cells and laboratories in the states and provide requisite manpower, training and infrastructure to them. Initiatives to setup the cybercrime cells and laboratories in states where these do not exist, and also upgrade and strengthen the existing cybercrime cells is required to cope up with the rapid cybercrimes. There is a need to establish a centralized repository for cybersecurity standards, best practices and guidelines, which can be used by law enforcement agency for preventing and investigating cybercrime.

India should be actively engaged as part of the international cybercrime associations centered on Asia/Europe and America to seek help and contribute for international cybercrime issues. According to study, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra have occupied the top three positions when it comes to cybercrimes registered under the new IT Act in India.

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TA Staff

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