‘India Sees 63.5% surge in Cyber Crime Cases,’ Here’s why it should bother you and how you can protect youself against it.

Digital India may have become a soft target for criminals as the country recorded a huge increase of 63.5 per cent in cybercrime cases in the year 2019, showed the National Crime Record Bureau data.

The NCRB’s data stated that 4,4546 cases of cybercrimes were registered in 2019 as compared to 28,248 in 2018.

The data showed in 60.4 per cent of cases, registered fraud was the motive followed by sexual exploitation (5.1%) and causing disrepute (4.2%).

Highest number of cybercrime cases were registered in Karnataka (12,020) followed by Uttar Pradesh (11,416), Maharashtra (4,967), Telangana (2,691) and Assam (2,231). Among the Union Territories, Delhi alone accounted for 78 per cent of cybercrimes.

As per the data, in metropolitan cities, a total of 18,372 cases were registered, showing an increase of 81.9 per cent. The data also stated maximum cases (13,814) were registered under computer-related offences (section 66 of IT Act ).

“More the digitisation, more frauds will be highlighted that’s why numbers have spiked up so much,” a senior officer explains.

Why Should this bother you?

It cannot be argued that COVID-19 has changed the way in which we live and work. There have been changes to how healthcare professionals administer care, the way in which students are taught and the way we communicate with our teams. IT professionals had to work quickly, as organisations were given a matter of days to prepare to deal with this paradigm shift and the heightened cyber-risk associated with this unprecedented global event. For cyber attackers, this has served as just another perfect opportunity to identify and exploit vulnerabilities. Whilst cybercrime is not increasing overall, it shifted its focus.

Sadly, the NCSC has reported that COVID-19 is the most frequently used subject of scams claiming to be from governmental bodies, more than any other subject in fact. Phishing scams such as these aim to exploit people’s fear surrounding the virus and their desire to follow guidance from the UK government and NHS. With the sudden increase in people working remotely, ransomware cases have increased by 20% in the first half of this year.

Here are a few suggestions to help protect you against cybercrime:

1. Use a full-service internet security suite that provides real-time protection against existing and emerging malware including ransomware and viruses, and helps protect your private and financial information when you go online.

2. Use strong passwords: Don’t repeat your passwords on different sites, and change your passwords regularly. Make them complex.

3. Keep your software updated: This is especially important with your operating systems and internet security software.

4. Manage your social media setting: Keep your personal and private information locked down. Social engineering cybercriminals can often get your personal information with just a few data points, so the less you share publicly, the better.

5. Talk to your children about the internet: Teach your kids about acceptable use of the internet without shutting down communication channels. Make sure they know that they can come to you if they’re experiencing any kind of online harassment, stalking, or bullying.

7. Keep up to date on major security breaches: If you do business with a merchant or have an account on a website that’s been impacted by a security breach, find out what information the hackers accessed and change your password immediately.

8. Take measures to help protect yourself against identity theft: Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully obtains your personal data in a way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. How? You might be tricked into giving personal information over the internet, for instance, or a thief might steal your mail to access account information. That’s why it’s important to guard your personal data.