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Cyber Security - Need of the Hour

- Sneh Gada



Introduction

The 21st Century is witnessing an era of widespread digitalization, which has led to the rapid growth of technology and Internet. Around 5 billion people across the world use the Internet today, out of which India contributes a huge chunk of more than half a billion, and it is also predicted that this number will skyrocket in the next few years. In this fast-moving world, the density of the internet usage is at its peak, advancements in mobile technologies and computers have transformed the life of the people. Various companies, governmental bodies across the world have increased their reliance on these technological advancements like mobiles, computers and other Internet platforms in order to collect, store and analyse the data. This has caused a huge rise in the number of cyber-crimes. Overall, more than half a billion global internet users have been trapped by cyber-crimes. Hence, it is of utmost importance to develop an effective mechanism of Cyber Security to tackle the growing rate of crimes in the cyber space.


Understanding Cyber Security


Cyber Security can be regarded as the practice of safeguarding the data, a system of networks and other programs available on internet from digital conspiracy. The conspiracies are often termed as Cyber Crimes and are targeted towards activities such as data theft which are aimed at accessing, analysing and destroying the owner’s data in order to extort money by interrupting their routine processes on the internet. It also creates a defence for the computers, network system against malicious activities that illicitly breaches one’s data in order to manipulate one’s individual identity, or might sell the collected data for huge amounts, etc.


The Numbers are Huge


The advent of cyber-crimes is growing very rapidly. In India[1], more than 50 thousand cases of cyber-crimes and more than 1.1 million cyber-attacks were reported across India in 2020. This was a significant increase compared to the previous year's nearly 400 thousand cyber-attacks. The country was amongst the top five with the greatest number of cyber security incidents that year[2]. Furthermore, India is the world’s second largest country after China with over 560 million internet users.


According to the 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average global data breach costs $4.24 million in 2021, subsequently the cost of average global ransomware attacks is also reported to costs $4.62 million, which is even more than that of the data breach cost. As on 2020, the average cost of per data breach across all industries stood at around $4 million USD, which leads to a serious implications of the activities of the organisations. Furthermore, as per the report of Cyber Crimes Magazine for Cybersecurity Ventures, it is predicted that the cost of cybersecurity would rise by 15% per year, reaching $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025. All of these statistics shed light upon how brutally these crimes and its cost of security is affecting the global world.


Recent Trends in Cyber Security


1. Evolution of Cyber World

The Industrial Revolutions changed the dimensions of these technological advancements[1]. It began from the year 1784, where mechanically powered machines were introduced, then in 1870 it further developed into electrically powered production methods, moving to electronics and IT to achieve automation of machinery in the year 1969. Lastly, in the early 2000’s it was the cyber system which gave a boom to technology and its development. This paradigm shift to cyber system has increased the importance of data to great heights.


2. Data is the new oil


Data is one of the most quintessential parts in the life of a person. It plays a wide role in helping out people in carrying out their day-to-day work. The 21st Century has opened its doors of communication on a global level. These skyrocketed developments in the field of technology have made every internet user to invest their resources towards cyber security infrastructure. It is shocking that more than 30,000 websites are being hacked by the cyber criminals, who perform various crimes such as extorting money by selling data, phishing, identity theft, hacking, etc.


3. Impact of Covid-19 on Cyber Security


The COVID-19 Pandemic has led to serious increase in the number of cyber-crimes. As per the India witnessed a rise of 500% in the existing number of cyber-crimes because the global pandemic[4]. The Pandemic had forced everyone to stay at home. This shift from the real world to the world of internet has led to a drastic increase in one’s usage of internet. People had to carry out their work from home while limiting their activities within the four walls of the homes. This rapid increment in the usage of the internet has impacted the cyber security a lot.


This virtual way of functioning has made technology even more important in balancing personal as well as professional well-being. Cyber attackers took this pandemic as a great opportunity to capitalize the internet regime by using their hacking skills in an unethical manner so as to gain personal as well as monetary benefits. Various government apps and sites were also under the hands of these cyber-criminals that used people personal data. The cyber security is also affected by some male-factored employees, who fraudulently expose their company’s data in order to satisfy their personal needs. This entire shift has led to serious threats to cyber security. A few technologically advanced companies have also introduced measures to reduce cyber insecurity, such as antivirus protection, VPN (Virtual Private Networks) usage, Risk management, zero trust policies, etc. Thus, this maliciously created pandemic of cyber crimes has led to serious threat to cyber security, and hence we must prepare to tackle these crimes successfully.


4. Threats to Cyber Security


There are various threats that has led to serious repercussions to the Cyber security regime.


1. Data Breach is one of the threats, wherein the protected data is illegally accessed by someone with legitimate permission. It can be in the form of Debit Card/Credit Card Number, CVV, PIN, etc.


2. Malware, which means that a harmful software creates virus by transmitting illicit data.


3. Phishing, in which fake emails and identities are used for communicating and manipulating people on internet. The other vulnerabilities include Denial of Services, Internet of Things, middleman attacks, Ransomware, etc.


It is estimated that these cyber-crimes are likely to increase by more than 70% by 2024. Hence, it is the need of the hour that we prioritize Cyber Security as these Cyber threats are very dangerously evolving that will be leading to trillions of losses in the near future.


Conclusion


Cyber Security is one of the quintessential tools to protect the data and create secure environment for the smooth functioning of activities on internet. Hence, in this interconnected world of the Internet, it is high time for the global community to prioritize the efforts to efficiently secure our Cyber World.

Sneh Gada is a second year student at SVKM's Pravin Gandhi College of Law, Mumbai.


(gadasneh@yahoo.com)



[1] Statista’s Report on Cyber-Crimes in India, file:///C:/Users/Dilip%20Gada/Downloads/study_id59177_cyber-crime-in-india%20(2).pdf

[2] Statista’s Report on Cyber Security in India, file:///C:/Users/Dilip%20Gada/Downloads/study_id85981_cybersecurity-in-india%20(2).pdf [3] Deloitte’s Report on Security and Privacy in Digital World, https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/tr/Documents/risk/security-and-privacy-noexp.pdf

[4] Cyber Crimes went up by 500% during Pandemic, published by the Hindu, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cybercrime-went-up-by-500-per-cent-during-pandemic-chief-of-defence-staff/article37457504.ece


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