Complaints of cyber crimes in Himachal Pradesh have increased by 88 per cent this year as compared to last year, according to the half-yearly report compiled by the state cyber crime officials.
A total of 1,535 complaints were received by the state cyber crime police station till June 30 this year, at an average of 8 to 9 complaints per day. In 2019, the station had received 4 to 5 complaints per day while in 2016, it was merely 1 to 2 complaints per day.
Officials said that enhanced digital activity for social, official and financial purposes due to lockdown restrictions this year has been one of the factors behind the rise in crime.
The actual number of cyber crime cases in the state could be more as the report does not take into account the complaints lodged at regular police stations.
Of the 1,535 complaints, 490 were related to online financial frauds, and the police were successful in getting a total of Rs 15.56 lakh refunded back to the victims’ accounts. At least 501 complaints were related to social networking.
In recent years, number of cyber crimes reported in the state has shot up from 519 in 2016 to 1,638 in 2019.
Additional Superintendent of Police Narvir Singh Rathour of the cyber crime police station said that the HP Police are planning to write to RBI asking it to issue directions to banks against opening accounts without KYC.
“In some cases, banks are allowing accounts to function up to a certain limit even without completion of KYC, and fraudsters are making use of this loophole to transfer the stolen money into these accounts. Criminals are also increasingly opening e-wallet accounts using fake numbers. It gets difficult to trace the real holders of such accounts,” he said.
Another official said that netizens often use their mobile numbers as passwords for their social media accounts due to which they get hacked easily.
ADGP (CID) Ashok Tiwari said that the police have issued advisories and guidelines to the public as well as government and private offices in the state in recent days after the union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology warned of a potential “phishing attack campaign” on Indian individuals and businesses.
According to the Ministry’s Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, or CERT-In, certain hackers are planning to impersonate government agencies using around two million email addresses closely resembling official addressess (such as email@example.com).
Using these addressess, these hackers are planning to send emails with the subject: “free COVID-19 testing for all residents of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad”, and related subjects, inciting netizens to provide their personal information and download malicious files.
The Director General of Central Industrial Security Force, too, has warned all its sectors to beware of a “potential cyber offensive attack by the Chinese Army”.
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