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Malware business in India is thriving and Covid pandemic has a role to play

If the digital economy needed a shot in the arm, Covid pandemic provided just that.

Published: 01st August 2021 09:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st August 2021 09:27 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

BENGALURU:  If the digital economy needed a shot in the arm, Covid pandemic provided just that. But then came the flip-side. From Air India, Domino’s to Mobikwik and Juspay, cyber security professionals flagged the data breach incidents recently during the pandemic which put up the sensitive data of users including KYC details, credit/ debit card information as well as phone numbers up on sale in the dark web.
Various studies conducted by the global tech majors and cyber security focused firms have stated that the malicious software (malware) industry is growing exponentially with the spur in internet users.

In India, according to a recent study by tech behemoth IBM, the cost incurred by the organisations due to top three cyber attacks including phishing, malicious insider and physical security compromise during the pandemic (March 2020- May 2021) was over Rs 70 crore. Industry experts peg the total losses by the end of 2021 at Rs 2 lakh crore . The sectors worst hit by data breaches due to malwares were financial, education and public. On an average, these industry lost Rs 5,536, Rs 3,139, Rs 210 per record lost during these breaches respectively.

A looming global threat
Malicious softwares include a wide range of detrimental products including spyware, virus, phishing attacks, which according to industry experts, can risk your financial personal security, data privacy and in worst cases even your life.

Globally, industries like finance, manufacturing and healthcare encountered maximum cyber threats. According to most recent research by the NTT Ltd, healthcare, manufacturing, and finance industries saw an increase in attacks (200%, 300%, and 53%, respectively), with these top three sectors accounting for a combined total of 62% of all attacks in 2020, up 11% from 2019, the study revealed.

“While there is no way to predict the exact market cap of malware industry, but with an increase in the number of Internet of things(IoT) and the lack of awareness among the users, it has grown the landscape for the malicious software to be executed and the devices to be compromised,” said Bakir Muzzafar, information security consultant with global visibility solution provider Niagra Networks.

India more vulnerable?
India’s smartphone userbase expected to jump to 900 million by 2020 and the fastest growing internet market has shore up its chances of being more vulnerable to cybercrime activities. Jiten jain,CEO, India Infosec Consortium, who unearthed recent data leaks from digital platforms while referring to recent studies stated that India has seen a massive 400% increase in the cyber crime activities. The cyber security expert pointed out that various clickbait links, dubious marketing campaigns are being run by the criminals to target individual users as well as big corporates. He noted that the medical emergency in India like Covid has been turned into an ‘infodemic’.

“We expect the losses due to cyber crime activities incurred by individuals, corporate as well as the public institutions to touch nearly Rs 2 lakh crore by the end of 2021. The pandemic has led to joblessness in the country, which in turn has made people more active in cyber crime activities particularly the younger age group. Lately, the nature of crimes has also evolved to not just phishing but bogus marketing campaigns,” Jain added.

Across Dark wide web

Losses due to cyber crime activities expected to touch Rs 2 lakh crore by the end of 2021

Rs 70 crore India Inc’s loss due to data leak incidents in pandemic

51% Increase in use of spyware/ stalkware in 2021

Industries worst hit: Financial, education, public



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