Amit Sahay’s worst nightmare came true when someone hacked into his Facebook account and started posting pornographic content. Amit first warned his friends and then tried changing his password. But when the hacking persisted, he was forced to get a new account. Amit’s ordeal, however, is not an isolated case.
There is a new criminal in town and his victims are growing exponentially. Every sixth cybercrime in India is committed through social media, Alok Mittal, inspector general at the National Investigation Agency(NIA) said. Though he did not divulge the basis of his findings, data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show an around 70% rise in cybercrimes annually between 2013 and 2015.In comparison, theft and robbery, which account for the highest incidences of crime in India, show an annual growth of 17%-18%. A cybercrime is defined in India as any unlawful act where a computer is used as a tool or target or both and offenders are booked under the Information Technology Act.
“The number of cybercrime cases reported across India in 2014 was a little more than 9,600, a mere fraction of the estimated three lakh theft cases (that year). But the concern is an annual growth of 70% for the last three years,” Mittal said. In 2013, the number was 5,693. Estimates for 2015 put the number of cybercrimes at 16,000. Cyber experts said high rate of cyber crime is natural in a country where technology adoption is high but awareness is low.
“Most cybercrime are targeted towards people with social media accounts since knowledge about security and privacy protection is low,” said Mrityunjay Kapoor, head of risk analysis at KPMG.