India recorded more than 50,000 Cyber Crimes in 2020

The COVID19 pandemic has given the rise to cybercrimes. The nature of cybercrime is on an individual, organisation and state/society level. The question here is what is the importance of awareness when it comes to cybersecurity. 

Prof Triveni Singh, IPS SP. Cybercrimes, Uttar Pradesh Police, India in a digital event by W.Media on “Zero Breaches & Threat Intelligence – The next big thing in cybersecurity” highlighted the importance of awareness amongst people when it comes to cybersecurity.

In the total cybercrime landscape, online social media fraud consists of 24 per cent, online financial fraud is at 56 per cent. “Most of them are linked to frauds related to UPI in which money is debited by scanning a QR code. 99 per cent of people are unaware that when someone is asking them to scan a QR code it is for taking their money (unlawfully),” said Triveni Singh. 

“In present times, KYC (Know Your Customer) can be bought, a virtual number can be rented from overseas. The crimes can be committed via a virtual number and once the crime is committed all accounts connected to that number are deleted and at times it becomes difficult to track when organisations do not report the incident,” said Singh. 

On an individual level the possible ways of committing a cybercrime include email fraud, spam, phishing, creating fake profiles, ID theft, email morphing and cyber stalking amongst a few. 

Giving an example of a village in India Singh explained that the fingerprints of the villagers were being cloned in order to create fake Aadhaar card Id and commit cybercrimes. 

Other techniques involved in committing a cybercrime include spoofing of numbers, mail, IP, phishing of websites, cloning of debit/credit cards, fingerprint, biometric clone and creating fake social media accounts. 

According to a Financial Express report, the global losses from cybersecurity now total over $1 trillion, which is more than 50 per cent increase from the year 2018. 

Cybersecurity Ventures expects global cybercrime costs to grow by 15 per cent every year over the next five years, reaching $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025, up from $3 trillion USD in the year 2015. 

India recorded 50,035 cases of cyber crime (online fraud) in 2020, with a 118 per cent surge in such offences over the previous year, as 578 incidents of “fake news on social media” were reported, the official data reported. 

Cyber crime prevention

“It is important to create awareness regarding cyber hygiene and compromising that leads tends to create difficulty for the organisation.It is not related to the literacy of a person but awareness which is important in order to prevent cybercrime. Awareness is an important mantra when it comes to cyber security,” explained Singh. 

He gave an example of the Indian journalist who was a victim of a phishing attack earlier this year who had filed a complaint to the cyber cell of Delhi. The journalist had received a fraudulent letter claiming that she had been offered the position of associate professor at Harvard University. 

Singh also pointed out that it is important for the CEO, CRO, CFO, CISO and COO to be aware of the possible risks that could harm the organisation in the future and accordingly work towards its prevention. It is important to keep the employees of an organisation updated with the possible cyber risks by providing proper training, making them aware about various fallacies and myths, and having a standard framework, fraud detection toolkit.

COVID-19 has pushed organisations into hyperdrive mode in multiple areas and this is the new normal. People have now changed the way of purchasing, making payments, and interacting. 

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data showed that the rate of cyber crime (online financial fraud) (incidents per lakh population) in India also increased from 3.3 per cent in 2019 to 3.7 per cent in 2020.

In 2019, India recorded 44,735 cases of cyber crime ( hacking/ damage to computers, computer systems) while the figures stood at 27, 248 in 2018. 

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