DIGITAL INDIA: A BOON FOR HACKERS1 (AN INITIATIVE FOR THE CYBER GOONS)

Digital India, one the most important flagship Project of the Indian Government2 has flapped its wings and has covered most parts of the country. Digital India has brought a revolutionary change in the Indian Society as it has the capacity to bring every individual on the internet3, no doubt with time it is important to recognize the importance of the internet and bring every individual under its ambit for a better and efficient distribution of services between them. But as the saying goes with “Great Power comes Great Responsibilities”. Digital India is a Powerful tool in the hands of the government which is used in the right path can bring a transformation to the Indian way of looking at things but if used in the wrong manner can bring destruction to the already established system. The Internet is a vast database of interconnected computers which constantly send and receive information over different geographical locations. The moot point is that we are all connected, the extensive promotion and implementation of Digital India Policy have hidden this bitter truth. In a nutshell with each forward step towards Digitalization, we are also forwarding over selves to the darker side of the web. The counter-argument which comes into play in here is that the developed countries have been digitalized and they do not face many issues relating to the cyber-attacks, the difference between them and us is the Policies and infrastructure which has is to be developed simultaneously with the process of Digitalization. India lacks the basic infrastructure which would provide a secure implementation of Digital India4. India is at a position where it has to formulate guild lines relating to the data policy.

THE DIGITAL MISTAKE

The Recent instances of Ransomware and wanna cry Crytolockers cannot be ignored during this Digital Age, these Crytolockers basically encrypt your computer files and ask for money in return providing keys to those files. With people coming into the ambit of Digitalization most of them being a naïve user of the internet falls prey to these Crytolockers, due to lack of better awareness about these programs the best option they see is to give the money and get the files recovered. As the saying goes ‘if you are connected to the internet 24×7, you are exposed to cyber-attacks 24×7’. In this Digital Age, there are two kinds of People one who know they are hacked and one who doesn’t know they are hacked. It has already been settled that in today’s world absolute security is virtually nonexistent. Every stakeholder today is increasingly using data and information in the electronic form. There is no denying the fact that earlier we used to be connected to the internet, but today we are a part of the internet and consequently, there is a blurring of the lines between the physical world and the virtual world. Today one out of every Five individuals in India are carrying a smartphone, a Smartphone means a way in which we can go ahead and embed a lot of data starting from our check-ins, till allowing apps to monitor our location 24×7 on our phones till clicking pictures of ourselves with and without clothes or our browsing history that can speak volumes about ourselves. It is the great Indian vomiting revolution where Indians are vomiting information about their personal, professional and social lives on the internet. There was a very interesting study which said that over 40% of the people on the planet use a maximum of two passwords for all their accounts and if a hacker gets access to any one of those passwords they potentially have access to all the accounts. So, it’s relatively becoming easier to hack, not just because there is so much data; there is also the wide availability of hacking tools on the internet in a very easy manner. Thus, for a hacker, it’s a hacker’s paradise already. With the advent of Digital India and making more Indians online, it is relatively making more people come under the exposure of hacking. If we look at the cybercrime statistics in India in 2011 it was about 14,000 and in 2015 it was about 3,00,000. It’s not that only a few individuals are vulnerable we have seen

CIA was hacked5, Sony was hacked6, NASDAQ7 they have all been hacked and not once, but multiple times and in a bad way.

Though not claimed Demonetization seems to have been one of the programs to promote Digital India as people were drifted towards using more online transactions because cash was not available there were massive campaigns on the use of Digital money like Paytm and other online wallet services during this period which can clearly filter out the attempt of the government to push the individuals towards the internet and getting the transactions online. Though there might be a good intention of recording every transaction easily by the government through this it has also opened a backdoor for the hackers. For example, we get a website link on the emails for instance of Flipkart or any other e-commerce website, we see discounts available we buy a product and enter your card details and pay, the hackers use this technique as Phishing, though the website seems to look like the original Flipkart it is not and through this the hacker could get all the details that we enter on the website. Further lets imagine we are waiting at the bus stop and we see a man who comes and says that he needs to make an urgent call with our phone as his phone is dead, this is absolutely normal but here comes the crucial part because probably in less than 30 seconds he can download an APK(Android Package kit)8 file and install it without your knowledge and give it back to you without any change to our smartphone with that hacker can access our files, our contact list, our camera, our messages, our apps and everything else and since the hacker can access our SMS he can access the One Time Passwords being sent to your phone for transactions. Further through SMS, hackers can access our Gmail accounts our Facebook Accounts by resetting the passwords. So, one can imagine that in 30 seconds our entire life was in the wrong hands and they can do whatever they want. Maximum hacks happen because people were asked to click on something and with Digitalization and more people pooling in the oceans of the internet without this awareness fall prey to these clicks. Preciously Digitalization without this awareness is the career planning for the hackers.

CONCLUSION

When the Information Technology Act was enacted it was kind of the jack of all the trade laws so they put in a chapter to deal with cybercrimes. The 2000 legislation was effective because it had made a number of cybercrimes non-bailable offenses, but in 2008, when India amended its cyber law it made a historical mistake. Barring a few cybercrimes, almost all cybercrimes became bailable offenses. Today in 2017 we must realize that the Indian IT Act is thoroughly outdated. India does not have dedicated laws to deal with digital Payments. India also does not have a law on cybersecurity or a dedicated legislation on privacy and data protection. So, in a scenario like this, where increasingly Indians want to come into the digital bandwagon, it’s imperative that legal framework must not only provide for appropriate consumer protection but also provide for the cybersecurity of the entire ecosystem and its constituents. The Cyber Threat is bigger than it seems to be and it will soon begin the so-called third world war that is the Cyber War. In future, way the Digitalization is going it’s a no-brainer, that everyone has to understand the little bit of cybersecurity then only we can convert the Digital India into a secure Digital India.


1 Author Rakesh Kumar Sahu, 2nd year BALLB Student, National University of Study and Research in law

2 Digital India, available at http://digitalindia.gov.in/content/about-programme, (last seen on 22/9/17)

3 Essay on Digital India, available at http://www.indiacelebrating.com/essay/digital-india-essay/ (last seen on 22/9/17)


4 Why India needs a cyber Security vision inline with Digital India mission, available at http://www.cioandleader.com/article/2017/02/11/why-india-needs-cyber-security-vision-inline-its-digital-india- mission (last seen on 22/9/17)

5 Anonymous hacks CIA website, available at https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2012/02/10/cia-website- hacked/#20e14aac4fea (last seen at 22/9/17)

6 Sony Pictures hacked and blackmailed, available at https://www.forbes.com/sites/davelewis/2014/11/24/sony-pictures-hacked-and blackmailed/#4d350bd42b2f (last seen at 22/9/17)

7 How Russian hackers stole NASDAQ, available at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-07-17/how- russian-hackers-stole-the-nasdaq (last seen at 22/9/17)

8 Android Application Package, available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_application_package (last seen at 22/9/17)

About the Author:

  • Rakesh Kumar Sahu, Rakesh Kumar Sahu, A 2nd Year BA.LLB Student from National University for Study and Research in Law, Ranchi from Dhanbad Jharkhand. I am tech Savvy kinda Guy honing his skills in Advocacy with future goal of developing new perspectives of law and technology. Constitution is what I preach with an objective of finding out new possibilities in the field of Law. Other ways I am a Snooker Enthusiast, a Book lover mostly the comics!!
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