Rising at an alarming rate, the number of cyber crimes in the country may double to 3 lakh in 2015 and could pose serious economic and national security challenges, an Assocham-Mahindra SSG study has warned.
The increasing use of smartphones and tablets for online banking and other financial transactions have increased risks.
India has emerged as a favourite among cybercriminals, mostly hackers and other malicious users who use the Internet to commit crimes such as identity theft, spamming, phishing and other types of fraud.
As per the study’s findings, total number of cyber crimes registered during 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 stood at 13,301, 22,060, 71,780 and 1,49,254 respectively.
“What is causing even more concern is that the origin of these crimes is widely based abroad in countries like China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Algeria, among others,” Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said.
Phishing attacks of online banking accounts or cloning of ATM/debit cards are common occurrences. Maximum number of offenders belong to the 18-30 age group, added the report.
With increasing use of information technology (IT) enabled services such as e-governance, online business and electronic transactions, protection of personal and sensitive data have assumed paramount importance.
“The economic growth of any nation and its security whether internal or external and competitiveness depends on how well is its cyberspace secured and protected,” said Rawat.
The attacks have mostly originated from the cyber space of countries including the US, Europe, Brazil, Turkey, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria and the UAE, the study revealed.
Smartphone users rarely check for security certificates while downloading apps (games, music and other software) from third party or unsecured sites, the study said, adding that mobile banking apps store data such as PIN and account number, on the phone.
There is a risk that if the phone is hacked or stolen, then the information is compromised, the study said.
It further stated that mobile frauds are an area of concern for companies as 35-40 per cent of financial transactions are done via mobile devices and this number is expected to grow to 55-60 per cent by 2015.
Rising Internet penetration and online banking have made India a favourite among cybercriminals, who target online financial transactions using malicious software (malware). India ranks third after Japan and US in the list of countries most affected by online banking malware during 2014, the study said.
Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra have seen the highest number of cyber crimes registered under the new IT Act in India. Interestingly, these three states together contribute more than 70 per cent to India’s revenue from IT and IT related industries.