Is going digital safe?
Post demonetisation, with more and more people logging into e-wallets for daily payments, the target for hackers have increased exponentially. Experts warn that e-wallet technology is a double-edged sword for the unskilled or untrained users.
This process-upgraded security is the only way to safeguard millions of first-time-users and small and medium businessmen from losing their hard-earned money. During the demonetisation phase, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the youth of India to take a pledge in making this initiative a success and urged them to teach their families, neighbours and small business owners to go cashless and make electronic payments.
The infrastructure of India:
It is a very common perception that a cashless economy is possible only when a country has high internet speed and high cyber security. India ranks 96th in terms of download speed and 105th in terms of average bandwidth availability. It also has a record of poor interest security, which is progressively becoming worse. India is even behind Bangladesh and Nepal in terms of download speed.
When the country still lacks proper infrastructure and legislation to fight against cyber criminals going digital can be dangerous. According to a government survey, 600 million people have no bank account and less than 20 percent of all Indians have a smartphone. Internet penetration is iffy. India is predominantly a cash-based economy. It is estimated that between 90 and 98 percent of all transactions in India involve cash. Going one step further, approximately, 92 percent of the country's workforce is in the unorganised sector who earn their wages in cash.
New slogans like 'Your mobile is perfect e-wallet' are the talk of town these days. "Especially in the national Capital, where mobile is not safe during travelling by Metro or buses, it is dangerous to bank on cell phones. After it goes missing or it's stolen, Delhi Police are not ready to registered an FIR," said a senior journalist.
The cases of financial fraud and cyber-stalking have already gone up as according to cyber crime analyst Kislay Chaudhary who also advises the Delhi Police on cyber crimes. He said: "We have been receiving at least 10-12 cyber crime complaints on a daily basis. Many of those cases deal with financial frauds and we also receive cases of cyber harassment against women."
According to survey reports, the incidents of cyber crimes in the country have doubled in just a year. So many users and experts alike are worried about the growing trend.
This has opened up the Pandora's box as cyber security experts warn of the threats that might prove to be major hindrances in paving the way for the digitisation of economy. There is thus, an urgent need to come up with robust cyber security infrastructure which will lead to systematic control of cyber crimes in India.
Experts say people are wary of cyber transactions for fear of becoming a victim of hackers who steal personal data and in the face of which banks and police plead helplessness rather than any concrete action.
This is how hackers can have access to someone's money in e-wallets, create multiple fake accounts to collect money in small amounts; cheat people who are digital novices by psychological manipulation; and break servers to steal data.
With the demonetisation deadline set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ending, the goal posts have shifted from cracking down on black money to a digitised cashless economy. During the demonetisation period, the CBI had registered a complaint against 15 people for allegedly claiming fraudulent refunds worth Rs 6.15 lakh from the leading e-commerce and payment system Paytm.
According to Vidit Baxi, Director (Technology) at the risk assessment and digital security Service Provider Lucideous, e-wallets are at greater risk than ever as users grow and hackers identify digital payment gateway as a lucrative opportunity.
" That being said, let's understand that even the largest banks on the planet have been digitally hacked, so,there is nothing like 100 percent security. It's all about managing the risk and minimising it to whatever extent possible. It is clear that the benefits of digital payments for outweigh the risks but, at the same time, such risks have to be continuously monitored and managed," said Baxi.