On an average, every individual gets at least one mobile or email notification stating that the user has won many hundreds of thousands of dollars in an online lottery that they may not ever remember entering. But in almost all such cases, the ‘winner’ usually ends up a ‘victim’ of cybercrime.
And with increasing use of technology and mobile for financial transactions, the numbers are only expected to increase. According to research and advisory firm Gartner, Worldwide mobile payment transactions is said to reach $235.4 billon in 2013 and nearly 245 million people using such services. With increasing smartphone sales and usage in India, the number of people falling victim to such crimes is also on the rise. According to anti virus maker Norton, the number of cyber crime victims in India (2012) was 42 million people against the global (24 countries) average of 556 million.
Norton states that that the average direct cost per cybercrime stood at an average of Rs 10,585 in 2012. “There are many ways that sensitive information is hacked as a result of cell phone usage. The most common are due to installation of uncertified applications,” Jatinder Pal Singh, a Bangalore-based networking security consultant told Express.
He states that smartphone users seldom check for security certificates and download apps (games, music and other software) from third party or unsecured sites. “Mobile banking apps store data such as PIN, account number on the phone. So there is a risk that if the phone is hacked or stolen, then the information is compromised,” he said.
According to National Crime Records Bureau, 2,876 cyber cases were registered under IT Act in 2012 as against 1,791 cases (2011) posting a 60.6% increase yoy. IT solutions company Unisys says mobile frauds are an area of concern for companies as well as 20-30% of financial transactions are done via mobile devices and this is expected and this is expected to grow to 50% by 2015.
“There is no foolproof system to avoid hacking. But consumers can take caution in the sites the browse and the information they share online. As long as they are connected to the internet, the risk element will always be there,” Jatinder says.