India’s move towards a cashless society could see a spurt in cyber crimes, said cyber security experts.
Many people belonging to the lower middle class, especially senior citizens, are not educated when it comes to using the Internet for monetary transactions and will therefore become easy targets for cyber criminals.
Former Maharashtra director-general of police and a cyber-expert D. Sivanandhan said that reputed banks across the globe had lost hundreds of crores in cyber hacking cases despite having an infrastructure in place.
“Imagine our country where people are poverty stricken and clueless about the use of computers, smartphones and the Internet,” he said.
“India is going digital all of a sudden and moving towards a cashless economy. It is a good move but will result in a lot of cybercrime. Poor and uneducated people will be the victims. It will be difficult for them to even figure out how much money they have lost. We do not have a mechanism to save them.”
Another cyber-expert, Ritesh Bhatia, said the move will affect the masses and not classes. “There will be many practical problems for the poor, like my maid, and old people like my parents. They can be targeted easily as they don’t know how to use smartphones. For the poor, a loss of Rs 100 or Rs 500 can be devastating,” he said.
Experts said people may end up downloading fake applications for monetary transactions, they may enter wrong passwords or lose their smart phones, information from which could be misused by criminals. Many a time, personal information is also given away.
Bhatia said, “What if criminals do shoulder surfing or take a photo of the online transaction on the phone when you are not around and later misuse it? People will panic if their cards get misused and wouldn’t know what needs to be done in such situations. Unfortunately, there is no help in this regard and they will be soft targets.