Jul 04, 2017

Cyberthreats increase as India goes cashless: Study

BYPankaj Mishra

As India shifts to a cashless economy, cyberthreats are at a new high with the number of such incidents occurring in banking systems increasing in the last five years, a study here said on Tuesday.
The joint study by Assocham and PwC said an ATM card hack hit the Indian banks in October last year, affecting around 3.2 million debit cards.
“Hence, efforts are needed to enhance cybersecurity as businesses and citizens embrace this new digital wave,” the study noted.
The study said attacks on Indian websites have increased nearly five times in the past four years. However, the country’s budgetary allocation towards cybersecurity was only about Rs 42.2 crore in 2012-13.
“Despite the growing threat, India’s budgetary allocation towards cybersecurity was about Rs 42.2 crore in 2012-13, up 19% from Rs 35.45 crore in 2010-11, whereas the US spends $658 million through the Department of Homeland Security and $93 million through US-CERT in 2013,” the study said.
The study revealed that demonetisation has given an impetus to e-wallet services and mobile wallets have witnessed a massive rise in app downloads.
“The result has been that leading mobile wallets have witnessed growth upwards of 100% in app download numbers and have similarly seen an increase upwards of 400% increase in wallet recharges,” it said.
“Moreover, cyberthreats will only rise as India is seeing a shift towards a cashless economy. The types of cybersecurity incidents such as phishing, scanning, website intrusions and defacements, virus code and denial of service attacks will continue to grow,” the study added.
“Globally, most countries are facing a shortage of professionals with the expertise, training and motivation needed to deal with cyber criminals, and India is no exception,” said Assocham secretary general D S Rawat.
“What we urgently need is serious effort in capacity building and setting up high-end cyber labs that are capable of critically inspecting every IT component before these are deployed in critical infrastructure across industry sectors.”
Rawat added: “There is an ever-growing threat to the economy, financial sector, key government departments and infrastructure set-up, which in turn leaves internal security at risk.”
The study said that by identifying cyber security flaws and issues, the decision-makers will be better placed to implement appropriate security controls, design additional secure architectures, monitor targeted attacks and maintain effective cyber resilience for their IT, OT and CT networks.

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Pankaj Mishra is a writer of FactorDaily.