Modi government’s demonetisation decision has pushed the country towards a cashless economy. After enforcement of demonetisation policy and its consequences of cashlessness most metro people, switching to online banking and e-wallets, have become susceptible to cyber frauds. Reports says that India is the third biggest target for global hackers and cyber criminals after US and Japan. Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that Cyber crime as the biggest challenge for the country. So The Centre needs to give data safety top priority even as it promotes a cashless economy.
The absence of robust cyber security laws in India is a major threat to the country’s dream of a cash-less economy. Instances like the massive security breach of 32 lakh debit cards, just months before demonetisation, is a strong indication that the country is yet to develop an efficient cyber-security system. Paytm, a popular e-wallet in the country rolled out a smartphone-based PoS system to enhance the reachability of the technology but there were serious shortcomings and it had to roll-back the feature the very next day. The lack of an adept checking-mechanism for the modern banking technologies is an obvious deterrent towards a safe cash-less economy.
While reducing cash transactions in the economy is a wholly desirable objective, equally important is the need to protect consumers and businesses from frauds that can happen on electronic and digital platforms. There is no such thing as hack-proof technology, as recent high profile security breaches have demonstrated. The threat of cyber attacks — by both state and non-state actors — is a reality the Government needs to acknowledge even as it aggressively pushes digital payment over various platforms.
Cyber attacks have become a global menace these days. Due to the global nature of Internet and cyberspace, it is very difficult to ascertain the source of such cyber attacks in many cases. Further, different countries have different laws that make it really difficult to prosecute and extradite the cyber criminal. In short, conflict of laws in cyberspace is a major hurdle before the international law enforcement of cyber law and cyber attacks.
Business houses and individuals are facing sophisticated malware attacks around the country. This is true about not only big business companies but even small and medium business houses. Cyber criminals are also targeting individuals for sensitive personal and financial information. Ransomware attacks are increasing and they are targeting stakeholders ranging from big hospitals, banks and individual computer users.
Cyber security poses a major challenge to the security of the nation. With the economy of the nation now being hardwired into the digital medium cyber threat emerges as a larger challenge than ever before. Hence it is time India rises up to the challenge and combat it effectively.
With warm regards
Dr. Ashok Kumar Gadiya