This Article will give an overview of the increase in cybercrimes in this coronavirus lockdown.
In the phase of this pandemic where every country is under lockdown and where it is observed that the crimes such as theft, murder, etc. are decreased on the other hand it seems that it has given a good opportunity to hackers or criminals to commit cybercrime and these are increasing.
While all the people are sitting at home and trying to gather the information about the prevailing situation by searching about the Novel Corona virus (COVID-19) online it is giving more opportunity to the hackers to create a disruption in the environment and also looking forward in order to exploit this situation to the fullest for their own benefit by creating fake or malware websites or any infected links so that if anyone does their research online to know about this virus somehow gets to that infected link and click on it so that it gets automatically downloaded.
Also, in another way the hackers are trying to hack or con people, we can see that due to the concurrent situation nationwide people are buying hand sanitizer, gloves, and facemasks in a large quantity. So due to the drastic increase in demand for these products, there is a shortage everywhere so now people are preferring it to order online where the websites are claiming to have these products. So, in order to avail these products urgently and also ignoring the authenticity of the websites people are buying from it and hackers are enjoying it by portraying as a potential seller by promising to deliver the products and when the online transaction is done there is no delivery of any goods. That’s how cybercrimes are increasing.
Recently in a telephonic interview with Economic Times, the National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) Lt. Gen. Pant said that in the last two months approximately 4000 fraud portals which were related to coronavirus have been created across the globe by the cybercriminals and other mafia organizations and eventually this information was first published in a study report by the Check Point Threat Intelligence. In its study report, it was also written that the coronavirus-related domains or links are 50% more likely to be malicious than the other domains registered in the same period.
Also, with regards to this crime being increased the DCP Cybercrime New Delhi tweeted on his Twitter account a few domains related to the infected or malware links regarding this content of the virus. The following domains which were tweeted by him are:-
In the State of Maharashtra where so many cases of Coronavirus came into the light and the state in this situation was trying to struggle or tackle with it meanwhile, it came to the notice of the Maharashtra Police that the cyber-criminal or fraudsters have come up with a malware called “Coronavirus Map” in order to steal the confidential data, including the bank account details as well as the passwords. The State Police also urged people to be aware of these kinds of links and requests not to open it. The State police also assured the public that the police department is taking several precautionary steps to curb the cybercrime in this pandemic by spreading awareness about the unauthorized links.
It was also aware that this link is being circulated to the other people via WhatsApp where this link claims to contain some important information to prevent the Coronavirus and if any person who has received the link clicks on it then it automatically installs a malware software which can steal the important or confidential details.
An official also said that those who wish to seek the information about this pandemic should think twice before clicking any link sent to them on social media.
The State and as well as the Central Government is trying to make sure by circulating the authentic and verified information to the people so that they avoid clicking on such infected malware links.
Also, recently the Supreme Court Of India issued in a notice that without any prior permission of the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of NCT Delhi no person//institution/organization will use any print or electronic media for information regarding COVID-19. This is done so that the spread of rumours can be prevented or any kind of unauthenticated information regarding COVID-19 can be stopped from spreading. And in any case, if any person/institution/organization is found in indulging in any of such activity then it will be treated as a punishable offence under these regulations.
So as everybody can see that we the people are the good and easy targets for these hackers then it’s also our responsibility to be much more cautious and aware of the hacking websites and links as due to the pandemic situation almost every company is advised to do work from home so there are high chances that such sensitive data might get leaked or hacked while surfing online or for that matter even working online. It comes to a point where we need to find a solution to protect our sensitive data available on our laptops or even on our emails. The world-leading solution is the IBM security Guardian which helps to prevent leaks from databases, data warehouses, and big data environments. It is designed to safeguard critical data.
A police official also advised the public at large that it is important for the people that they only read the information from the genuine media websites and official government accounts for any kind of updates on the coronavirus pandemic as a lot of fake news is being circulated amongst the people.
Even it has been reported that the cybercrime department is constantly in touch with several international officials as it is believed that the Indian cyber criminals usually copy the tactics or footsteps of the international hackers and apply the same techniques in India.
The IT Company’s has also advised the people to ignore the unauthorized emails or emails from an unknown source. Several officials have also advised people to be more vigilant while working online. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised people to be alert and aware of the hackers who are posing as organization representatives.
It has been advised to everyone that to protect themselves from this malware to implement security solutions that protect the company’s email environment and also the people should ensure that the software they are using should be up-to-date.
Author Details: Kashish Kundlani (Ramaiah Institute of Legal Studies, Bangalore)
The views of the author are personal only. (if any)