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Waiting For A Cybersecurity disaster to happen

There have been over 5.2 crore cyber-attacks happened between the months of January to March in India. The covid-19 crisis has redefined how we work and communicate with each other. While technology has ensured business continuity, it has opened a pandora box of sorts. At one end, it has resulted in faster adoption of digital banking and other technologies, and at the other end, it has made us vulnerable to cyber-attacks and online frauds.

 

The pace of innovation today is higher than ever before and India ranks fourth in cyberattacks globally and in recent times this has only increased. While, RBI has made cybersecurity mandatory for banks and set up a protocol for security implementation and attack reporting as early as December 2019, the COVID crisis has thrown caution to the wind.

 

Technology becomes a bridge that keeps us all connected and helps companies maintain business continuity. More than ever, application- centric IT has become a key factor for competitive advantage. A report says, India’s bank customers are particularly vulnerable to fraud, hit by unauthorised access and data breach. Only time will tell where we are heading…..

 

Co-operative banks, the dark side of the moon. A report of RBI states, there are 1,544 urban co-operative banks and 96,248 rural co-operative banks in India. It is  accounted for 64.7% of the total assets of the co-operative sector.  The asset value of Urban Co-operatives banks itself exceeds Rs. 5632 billion.  RBI data shows that during the period 2008-17, banks in India faced 130,000 reported cases of cyber fraud involving an estimated Rs 700 crore. A severe cyber-attack can result in bank failure even when no money is lost directly.

 

We could have learnt from the episode that happened in 2018 in Cosmos Bank in May 2019, a cooperative bank called Urban Cooperative got hacked and again In December 2019, data leaked from insiders led to the loss of Rs. 29 crores from Shamrao Vitthal Co-operative Bank. If that is not all, even a bank as small and lesser known as the Chembur Nagarik Sahakari bank, which has only 10 branches and serves customers located in the Chembur suburb of Mumbai has reported hackers trying to attack its servers.

 

A lot of incidents go unreported either because the banks don’t realize a data breach in the first place or fear reputation loss. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Although some of the co-operative banks may have begun complying with guidelines laid down by the Reserve Bank of India, the corona virus outbreak has most certainly disrupted the existing cybersecurity measures ushering in a sense of urgency.