Karnataka, the tech flag bearer of India, lost about ₹1 crore each day to cybercrimes in 2022, cumulatively incurring a loss of ₹363 crore in the whole year, said Priyank Kharge, Minister for Electronics, Information Technology, Biotechnology; Rural Development and Panchayat Raj here on Saturday.
Such losses, the Minister said, were likely to see about 150% rise this year as incidents of economic offences, cyber cheating, online scams, frauds, identity theft, and cyber terrorism etc., were significantly on the increase.
“Economic cyber violations are certainly on the rise year after year,” said the Minister, speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of a Meta event on cybersecurity for children and young.
The State, comprising private enterprises, public undertakings, and individuals, would be losing ₹2.5 crore every day this year and its cumulative loss in 2023 would be over ₹900 crore.
Not just metros
According to the Minister, a general perception is that economic crimes in cyber space are an urban phenomenon and happen mostly in metros such as Bengaluru, Mumbai, or Delhi. However, the fact of the matter was that every small town and city had its share. For instance, Mysuru reported a loss of ₹ 15 crore on account of economic cybercrimes and Mandya ₹14 crore last year.
Only 50% reported
“A lot of crimes that happened offline earlier have now moved online. These include harassment of women, economic offences, and financial terrorism. Some 20% of all cases filed by the Karnataka police are related to cybercrimes. However, a sad thing is that only 50% of the cyber intrusions are reported, as victims are afraid of being named or shamed,” Mr. Kharge noted.
The country had a mobile Internet penetration of 89% and a large number of youngsters were falling prey to various frauds on cyber spaces as they used certain apps, including loan apps, that were unverified, unauthorised and often illegal. Also, the availability of these apps in vernacular language made them appealing to a large number of people, the Minister added.
For instance, Mr. Kharge said in his home town of Chittapur in Kalaburagi district, a young man recently lost some ₹89 lakh playing online games or falling prey in the hands of cyber criminals.
“The State government is playing a proactive role to curb cybercrimes rather than being reactive. If social media companies like Meta work together with the government and people in the State, cyber violations can be brought down effectively,” Mr. Kharge said, while delivering a keynote address at Digital Suraksha Summit, organised for Karnataka by Meta to extend its commitment to user/child safety, and youth well-being online.
Sandhya Devanathan, vice-president, Meta in India, said: the California-based platforms company that owned and operated Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and WhatsApp, among other products and services, was cognisant of the empowering role its apps were playing in India, in terms of giving voice to millions of people, especially women and youth.