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Union Minister Asks People to Exercise Caution in Downloading Images on Devices

Union Minister S S Ahluwalia today asked people to be extra cautious while downloading images on their devices as they may contain viruses and said terrorists are also sending such pictures with their embedded messages in them. “They (cyber criminals) will send you a picture of Monalisa and out of curiosity you will download that Monalisa’s picture but virus will be embedded in it. The terrorists are using these pictures to send their message embedded in the pictures,” Minister of state for electronics and IT Ahluwalia said at a FICCI event. He said a basic training for users should be there on what they should download or share on their devices. “While forwarding (images) also we don’t know. Knowingly or unknowingly we are helping people who are indulging in cyber crimes,” Ahluwalia said.

National Cyber Security Coordinator Gulshan Rai said that the cyber attacks have become very complex and recent European law on data regulation will make it difficult to track owner of an IP (computer system) address. “Today hackings are very different. All the recent cybercrimes are manipulation of several technologies. If you ask me every case is a case of cyber warfare. As of today, 90 per cent cases of an incident are cyber crime, 9 per cent are of targeted attack and 1 per cent are of cyber terrorism,” Rai said.

He said that systems are required to test new age technologies – Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to check if they are performing function which they have assigned. Former Deputy National Security Advisor and Director at Vivekananda International Foundation Arvind Gupta said the government needs to put more resources in cybersecurity and it should be seen as a separate segment from information technology. “Resources will be needed to promote cybersecurity education, certification, training and awareness. This will require government intervention. A time-bound mission approach is needed to address shortage of cybersecurity professional,” Gupta said.

At the event, Ahluwalia released a whitepaper jointly developed by EY and FICCI on cyber crime based on secondary research. The report said that India ranks third in the number of cyber crime incidents encountered with the United States and China on the first and second position, respectively as per the data released by a leading security vendor in April 2018. It said that technological advancements are making the task of cyber criminals easier.

Encryption and steganography are being leveraged by cyber criminals to thwart the effort of law enforcement agencies (LEAs), who are not able to decrypt the information in time to predict and prevent crimes. “Migration to VoIP, Volte and other Over the Top (OTT) services like WhatsApp and Viber, etc, has made the task of intercepting voice calls extremely complex. These calls can only be intercepted with the active support of the respective service providers. Often, servers are located outside the country and make it virtually impossible to monitor voice calls of criminals in real time,” the report said. – Financial Express

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