Digital safety fears as India eyes cashless future

Concerns over cyber security are growing in India due to a spate of high-profile hacking and cyber- security incidents as the government urges millions to embrace digital payment systems.

India’s Cashless economy

Following his decision in November to demonetise high-value currency notes of 1,000 rupees (S$21) and 500 rupees

to curb corruption and illegal activities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been pushing for cashless transactions to promote more transparency.

According to The straight times, the prime minister launched the Bharat Interface for Money, an app for cashless transactions, and his government has announced a raft of incentives including discounts of up to 10 per cent for the purchase of petrol, diesel and insurance products by card.

Yet cyber-security experts said going digital must go hand in hand with stronger legislation, more protection for consumers and more resources to fight cybercrimes. Cybercrimes have been on the rise in India, which has more than 400 million Internet users, and 25 million users are added every year.

In 2015, 11,592 cybercrime cases were reported across India, compared with 453 in 2006, according to data released by the National Crime Records Bureau.

According to a Symantec report in 2015, India ranked third highest for ransomware attacks in Asia. In such attacks, hackers plant malicious software that blocks access to files until a sum of money is paid .

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