Indians have been the target of numerous Cyber Crimes in 2020. A report by IBM states that India was the second most cyber-attacked country in the Asia-Pacific region.
And as you can probably guess, a lot of these attacks were supported by the sudden change in the economy due to Covid-19. The most prominent attacks were ransomware, where the attackers sent suspicious and malicious links to the victims, and then blocked their access to personal files. The attackers then proceeded to demand ransom in order to restore that access.
Ransomware: The biggest threat to Indians in 2020
Ransomware attacks have become common during the pandemic. Ransomware is malicious software that is deployed into the victim’s system directly, indirectly, or by the means of social engineering. Once inside the victim’s system, the software infects the computer and compromises sensitive data, providing the attacker with authority.
The attacker then demands ransom which is usually some amount of money for the victim’s system to work properly again. In India, ransomware is usually deployed in the victim’s machine through malicious email links or misleading advertisements on websites.
Ransomware comprised a staggering 40 per cent of all the cyber-crimes that took place in India in 2020. The most targeted sectors were Financial Sectors, hospitals, Power Supply firms, etc. This means that the attackers were milking money from the drastic situation by disrupting the most crucial services during Covid-19.
The greatest number of Cyber-attacks took place between May to July when Covid-19 shook the whole world and Lockdown was imposed in India. A large number of these attacks were directed to the health industry, where the public health data was compromised and misused to carry out ransomware attacks.
Pandemic to be blamed?
Sudeep Das, who is the Security Software Technical Sales Leader at IBM (India and South Asia) has pointed out the changes in the cybersecurity domain brought by the pandemic. He said that Indian companies were hit by Digital Currency Mining and Server access attacks in 2020, and similar things might happen on a bigger scale in 2021. Das suggests that organizations and companies should use better preventive measures like confidential computing, advanced encryption, etc.
Staying safe: What you can do
To prevent yourself from similar crimes, make a note of these points:
1. Never open links attached to emails sent from unknown accounts.
2. Don’t download pirated software from the internet as it may contain ransomware.
3. In case you’re the target of an attack, immediately report the incident to the authorities.
4. Don’t give your credentials to anybody else, as they may misuse them to extort money.