Millennium Post

Post cashless drive, cyber crime on the rise

With three days to go before the demonetisation deadline set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ends, the goal posts have shifted from cracking down on black money to a digitised cashless economy. 

However, this has opened up the Pandora’s box as cyber security experts warn that the digitisation of the economy without a robust cyber security infrastructure will result in an increase in cyber crimes.

“When the government’s  announcement of the demonetisation drive, they should have thought about the cyber security two months ago and should have made plans well in advance. There are various ways in which the user’s data can be compromised and financial frauds can be committed and it is expected to go up,” said Pradipto Chakrabarty, Regional Director of Comp Tia, a non-profit trade association for global information technology.

However, the cases of financial fraud and cyberstalking have already gone up as according to cyber crime analyst, Kislay Chaudhary, who also advises the Delhi Police on cyber crime, said: “We have been receiving at least 10-12 cyber crime complaints on a daily basis. Many of those cases deal with financial fraud and we also received 7 cases of cyber harassment against women”. 

In one such case, a 17-year-old girl from South-West Delhi had reported that she had made several transactions on Paytm and had also got a new number. 

She then started getting calls from several people who started harassing her. When she had asked them as to how they got her contact, they sent her a screen shot of a porn site on Whatsapp,  in which her number was displayed.  

Delhi Police, however, are facing legal hurdles in tackling cyber crime. A police source from the cyber cell said: “We receive complaints about cyber harassment on Facebook and Twitter, then we have to write to them in the US, they take several days to reply and then the process stretches for months. It is during this time that the victim suffers the most”. 

Kislay has taken this into consideration and has opened up his cyber helpline number to help those affected by cyber crime. “There is a good possibility that the money lost in online fraud can be recovered but one must act within 24 hours. We have so far returned Rs 10 crore, imagine how much money can be saved if the intelligence agencies adopt this,” he added. 

However, there is a small window of opportunity for India, as experts claim that the cyber criminals may have already read into the trends and have already started flooding the vulnerable points of banking and other systems with malicious malware.

However, this is not a ticking time bomb, rather it is an opportunity as Pradipto said: “The world’s cyber powers may be the US and the UK. However, that is because they have been fending off attacks for decades. When you get attacked all the time, you will eventually evolve robust defence mechanisms. Our country will go through a similar phase and we will also learn a lot from those attacks.” 
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