Traditional criminals shifting to cyber crime

Traditional criminals are shifting to cyber crime as it is more lucrative and less risky thanks to widespread vulnerabilities of the IT network.

The Indian government’s decision to link vital Aadhaar number to bank accounts, income tax and mobile phones could trigger a wave of internet financial crimes in the country.

“Cyber crime is rapidly rising worldwide including India as criminals use the Internet to commit a multitude of criminal activities using the Internet and law enforcement agencies are struggling to cope with the huge growth of the problem, with linking of Aadhaar card with banking and phone numbers on the internet increases the risk of financial frauds,“ said Arvind Gopal, Attorney, Digital Crimes Unit, at Microsoft while speaking at a seminar on ‘Cyber Crime and Data Protection, Challenges’ organised by the Indian National Bar Association (INBA).

“If Aadhaar card is linked everywhere then people’s personal information will be leaked thereby paving way for cyber crimes. Our country India lacks proper mechanism to fight such crimes. The entire process of Aadhaar-enabled services are prone to cyber attacks. Linking Aadhaar with all kinds of services is making things worse as social engineering is often used to find out bank account details, credit card numbers and passwords to steal money from people’s accounts,” added Gopal.

“One of the prime examples is individuals receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be from the bank. Aadhaar data makes this process much easier for fraud and increases the risk around transactions. Even in country like US, the ease of getting Social Security Numbers from public databases has resulted in numerous cases of identity theft. These risks increase multifold in India due the proliferation of Aadhaar numbers and other related data available, it is high time government and other institutes should work at beefing up India’s cyber security,” said Neeraj Aarora, eminent cyber security lawyer.

“Cyber crime is rapidly rising and experts warn it is reaching epidemic levels as criminals use the Internet as a tool for a multitude of fraudulent activities. Even the criminals involved traditional physical crimes have started considering cyber crime both more lucrative and less risky as the huge widespread vulnerabilities in IT networks were persuading criminals to migrate, at least partially, from armed robbery, drug smuggling and the like have migrated to data hacking and other forms of cyber crime,” commented Aarora.

“From grooming children to financial fraud, cybercrime is increasingly perceived by criminal gangs as a lower risk and higher reward type of offending. Financial gains from cyber crime could be immense. And gangs can commit this type of crime to any organisation or individual, all from the comfort of their own homes,” added Aarora.

The others who spoke on the occasion included Rajesh Tandon, former High Court Judge, Uttarakhand; P. K. Malhotra , former secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice; and Rajender Kathal, a technology expert.


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