NEW-AGE crimes in the cyber world are leaving the cops huffing and puffing as thieves seem to run miles ahead of them with smarter and ingenious methods of breaching and misusing digital data to loot more and more vulnerable victims. As reliance on technology, remote work and automation picks pace and billions of people become digitally savvy, the scope for online trickery and scams has grown exponentially. Cutting across geographical borders, a cyber criminal may be striking at a victim from any remote corner. Thus, the task of cyber security is a constant work in progress, involving many inter- and intra-governmental agencies across not only the country but also the globe.
A Haryana woman recently became the unfortunate victim of criminals employing an innovative method of exploiting the widespread data available virtually to target her. The hackers — traced to Bihar — lifted her fingerprints from the state government’s website on ‘jamabandi’ that hosts property sale and purchase deeds. They then made silicon clones of the prints and used them along with her Aadhaar card details to rob her of Rs 30,000 at a point of sale (POS) machine. The authorities are now rightly mulling foolproof ways of making the revenue records public without compromising the security of the parties involved. They need to act swiftly and plug all loopholes.
Such instances also call for increased budget allocations in this field in every district to improve detection and prevention of the crime. The law enforcement agencies’ cyber security arena is inadequately equipped with expert manpower and resources needed to counter this specialised menace and the very real and growing risk of online frauds and thefts. Meanwhile, even as criminals are inventing newer tools to defraud companies and individuals of their assets, the old and common ways like phishing, malware, ransomware etc via scam emails, mobile phone calls and messaging continue to trap thousands of unsuspecting prey. The media is full of horrifying stories of the common and even highly-placed people being duped of their money through a wide array of online scams. A public awareness campaign could help curb cybercrime.