Demonetisation spurs cyber crime in India With the Indian government striving towards a cashless economy by expanding the scope of digitisation across all activities, the widening internet modes this will foster will need to be safeguarded from cyber crime and cyber fraud.
O By Sarosh Bana APSM Correspondent
nline databases and transactions are getting increasingly vulnerable to hackers today with their ever innovative tools. Cases of banking frauds from phishing, cloning charge cards, cyber stalking, hacking accounts and databases, and impersonation are already on the rise in India, but detection has been weak in the absence of effective policing and monitoring, especially in individual cases. Less than a fifth of the cases registered with the cyber police have been solved over the last four years. In Mumbai, the financial capital of the country, as much as 80 per cent of the crimes registered in 2016 has remained undetected. As per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, banks in India reported 9,500, 13,083 and 16,468 cases related to cyber frauds like breach of accounts during 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively. Pointing out that detecting cyber cases has become challenging as most such criminals use servers based out of India, the Mumbai cyber police see this situation presenting a severe hindrance in resolving the cases owing to the longdrawn procedures that are mostly beyond their jurisdiction. They yet say that they are continuously at work on cracking down online frauds and are monitoring the situation as best they can. Asked what challenges lay ahead for the city police in 2017, Mumbai Police Commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar retorts: “Cyber crime is a threat.” Furthering the government’s drive towards digitisation will be the planned optic-fibre based internet connectivity across rural India, apart from a new initiative that aims to provide villages with tele-medicine, education, and skills through the use of digital technology. Another scheme is for a digital pension distribution system that will provide retired
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defence personnel easier access to their funds and a similar initiative that will offer health information to senior citizens. Last November, the government took the drastic step of demonetising high denomination currency in an effort to crack down on black money and fake notes. As much as 87 per cent of the money in circulation was sucked out of the economy as a result. With diminished access to money even for their daily expenses, the public, especially the working classes who deal exclusively in cash, was traumatised. The government changed its tune, announcing that the withdrawal of the high value tender was also meant to usher in digitisation with the larger objective of financial inclusion of all. Following on this argument, it has hitherto replaced only part of the currency that it invalidated. This objective towards digitisation appears to be succeeding to a degree, with the numbers rising from 27.3 million credit cards and 739.3 million debit cards to 28.8 million credit cards and 818 million debit cards within two months of the demonetisation. Indians have always preferred debit cards over credit cards. While the total amount transacted through credit cards in January was Rs32,691 crore (Aus$6.8 billion), a 76 per cent rise over January 2016, that transacted through debit cards was Rs49,004 crore (Aus$10.2 billion), a jump of 235 per cent. India has traditionally and historically been more dependent on cash than most other countries. The penetration of banking services has been a niggardly 59 per cent, and there are only 202,801 ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) serving a population of 1.27 billion. India’s reserve money to broad money ratio, indicative of the scale of cash in circulation, is 0.18, deemed very high in
Published on Aug 23, 2017
Published on Aug 23, 2017
This special introductory edition of the Malaysia & Singapore Security Magazine has been compiled from current, as well as recent articles p...