As per a survey conducted by U.S.-based financial technology firm FIS, around 68% of Indian consumers now use digital banking services, for both online and mobile banking. Digital transactions rose by 46% in 2020 (45.72 billion transactions) compared to the F.Y. 2018-19 (31.34 billion transactions). The uptake of these services was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant buying day-to-day groceries online.
Considering this boom and the rapid rise of the use of Bitcoin, India is also getting ready to soon launch its digital currency that would “mostly be based on the blockchain technology,” informed Anurag Thakur, the Minister of State for Finance. However, to learn about the threats harming the digital banking landscape, the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of India) had asked for a comprehensive report that would give a clear picture of the tasks ahead. Responding to Rajya Sabha’s query, Sanjay Dhotre, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, informed the upper house that more than 2.9 Lakh (290,445) cybersecurity incidents related to digital banking have been reported in 2020.
Referring to the findings from the Indian Computer Emergency and Response Team (Cert-In), Dhotre said that the number of incidents reported has nearly doubled as compared to 2018 when it was 1,59,761. The reported “incidents included phishing attacks, network scanning and probing, viruses and website hacking.”
Responses to Other Queries
The Rajya Sabha had also made some additional requests to get deeper insights on the number of fraudulent and cheating cases reported in the same period, along with the number of websites blocked as evasive measures. To this, Dhotre responded with the following details:
- As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, 6,233 cases were registered in 2019 under fraud and cheating (involving communication devices as medium/ target as per Information Technology Act 2000). This number too has nearly doubled since 2018 when only 3,353 cases were reported.
- Approximately 9,849 websites/webpages/or respective accounts were blocked in 2020 as opposed to 3,635 in 2019 and 2,799 in 2018. The section 69A of the IT Act was enforced by the Government in such cases which empowers it to “block any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states or public order.”