Visakhapatnam: Cybercrime has become a national security issue, says Commissioner of Police | #itsecurity | #infosec

1.50 million people being affected on a daily basis, says Ch. Srikanth; A.P. stands seventh in country in number of cases

1.50 million people being affected on a daily basis, says Ch. Srikanth; A.P. stands seventh in country in number of cases

The dangers associated with cybercrime are not to be taken lightly, Commissioner of Police Ch. Srikanth cautioned, adding that anyone can become a victim of cyberattacks.

The Police Commissioner was addressing a national seminar on cybercrime titled ‘Cyber Apradh se Azadi — Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, here on Thursday.

Cyberattacks have now become a national security issue, and they have become a tool for hostile countries with which they can try and cripple the economy. Almost 1.50 million people are affected by various forms of cybercrime on a daily basis, he said.

“Anybody, from a person sitting in the living room of his house, to someone possessing intelligence on national security, can be duped and information fished out through cybercrimes, including ways such as honey-trapping,” he said.

Citing Operation Dolphin, in which a number of Naval personnel from Visakhapatnam were arrested, he said, “All of them were honey-trapped by women employed by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan, so that they would give away critical defence information.”

A.P. seventh in country

While Andhra Pradesh stands at the seventh position in the country in recording the number of cybercrimes, Visakhapatnam is leading from the front in the State.

Speaking about the types of crimes usually witnessed in the city, the Commissioner said that abuse over email and social media and being conned by fake loan apps are leading the modus operandi of cybercrime in the city. These are followed by scams like OTP frauds, Nigerian 419 scam, B2B frauds, job frauds, online link and KYC frauds and email and social media hacking.

Challenges galore

Listing details obtained from the National Crime Record Bureau and international security agencies, Mr. Srikanth said that a hacking attack occurs across the globe once in every 39 seconds. Of these, 43% of the attacks target small businesses, while the global average cost of a data breach is around $3.9 million, since COVID-19 there is a global increase of cybercrime by 300% including in India and 95% of cyber security breach is due to human error.

On challenges faced by the police in tackling cybercrime, he said that the police department needs to be upgraded and trained to handle such crimes. “Picking up digital footprints is very difficult and hunting for a cybercriminal is like searching for a needle in a haystack,” he said.

Mr. Srikanth added that the criminals always tried to remain a step ahead of law enforcement and in most cases it is seen that they use burner phones, which are almost impossible to track as they do not have Internet or any apps.

Moreover, all of them use fake IDs. There are a number of cases where, after a painstaking investigation, the officers have stumbled upon fake addresses, said Mr. Srikanth.

Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University Prof. P.V.GD. Prasad Reddy, who has been a teacher in computer science, said that in the digital age we cannot do away with gadgets and phones and hence being careful is the only way out. “Despite being a teacher in computer science, my social media accounts were hacked four times. But I could minimise the damage by not taking any hasty moves. The criminals wait in anticipation for a hasty move from us, which can prove to be costly,” he said.

Cyber expert P. Prasada Rao spoke about various cybercrimes in vogue such as Ransomware, SIM swapping and cloning and deep fakes.

C. Mohan Ram, a cyber expert, gave a live demonstration of a mobile phone being hacked in real time.

The event was organised by the City Police in association with Sangeet Natak Akademi, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Government of Andhra Pradesh.

A cultural programme was organised by SNA and National School of Drama on the occasion.

Deputy Secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs Harjot Sandhu and DIG (Technical Services) P.H.D. Ramakrishna spoke.

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