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Consumers Have To Take Charge To Ensure Personal Data Privacy - Ram Seethepalli, Cyberior

Founded in 1963, Europ Assistance supports customers in over 200 countries. Cyberior is an offering developed by Europ Assistance with industry-leading technology capabilities and a 24/7 support platform. Ram Seethepalli, CEO, Cyberior by Europ Assistance India tells Siddharth Shankar of BWBusinessworld - Cyberior puts consumers in control of their own digital identity.

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Please give us an overview of the cybersecurity situation in India? What is the loss an individual and organizations make every year because of cyber fraud?

Currently, in India, there are close to 1.2 billion mobile accounts, and over half a billion internet users. In 2018, Indians collectively downloaded over 12 billion mobile apps. India is speedily heading towards digital payments technology with the likes of UPI and other mobile wallets playing an integral role in the consumer’s daily lives. India is also among the top countries, which faces the most cyber-attacks and features among the most cyber-frauds. This trend has risen during the on-going pandemic and lockdown, which has also witnessed more people using virtual payment solutions and going contactless. In 2019, India witnessed over two lakh attacks from China alone and this number was breached within the first three months of the lockdown. Data suggests the situation has worsened with the onset of the pandemic. 

There are three ways cybercriminals plan their attacks and collect information. The primary technique is at the server level attacks on the companies. Once the server level attacks are executed, criminals sell that information on the dark web. Sometimes the same password for multiple accounts is used and hence the hacker can attack other accounts of the same person too. The second type of attack is the one that happens on mobile and laptop devices - through phishing, malware, ransomware, etc. The third is scams. These attackers pretend to be calling from various banks and financial institutions and in the pretext of offers and discounts, the consumer ends up giving vulnerable information, which can result in substantial financial loss. There has been an estimated loss of $6 trillion to organizations and individuals as a result of cybercrime in the first nine months of 2020, whereas the average cost per individual breached record of data is INR 4,552. This indicates just how necessary it is for us to seriously consider cybersecurity, on a macro as well as micro-level.  

What is Cyberior and what was the thought behind developing this solution?

Europ Assistance is a global leader in the cybersecurity space and protects more than 165 million individuals in over 25 countries. Cyberior is a one-stop solution that covers multiple aspects of an individual’s identity. It protects personal information, devices of the consumer and their families as well as an individual’s credits and financial attributes. Cyberior aims to educate and protects the individuals’ digital footprint and stresses protecting the “Digital You”.  “Digital You” philosophy includes individual’s email IDs, passwords, mobile phone number, address, PAN, Aadhaar number, Credit Card numbers, credit profile. Key features of Cyberior include:  

  • Protecting an individual’s personal information
  • Protecting devices (and what you are doing on the devices (e.g. banking transactions or phishing links, etc.)
  • Monitoring financial profile and financial capabilities and providing insurance to cover any losses; and 
  • Resolve problems with help of 24/7 Cyber Security Resolution Experts

Cyberior helps its customers through real-time digital account monitoring for any unwanted or suspicious activity. It also tracks your credit score while reducing the risk of a variety of scams (banking/loan fraud, payment fraud, Aadhar fraud, and other identity theft) and resolving them quickly. Additionally, Cyberior prevents data loss and cybersecurity threats to the data on an individual’s devices and helps to conduct banking transactions with confidence and without worrying about phishing, ransomware, etc. 

What is Cyberior's market strategy for the Indian market?

Cyberior operates on a B2B2C model and consumers can avail of the solution from Cyberior’s website. Globally, Cyberior has catered to clients through liaison with players across sectors such as banks, credit card companies, insurers, automotive manufacturers, airlines as well as travel companies – who in turn seek to provide differentiated and value-added services to their end consumers and employees. We expect to focus on the same market segments in India too. There are a need and opportunity for personal cybersecurity solutions in India given the demographics and some powerful behavioral shifts.  

Cyberior’s research suggests that individuals are open towards solutions that protect at the source and the estimation stands at 8-10 Million users using Cyberior in the next 5 years. 

How can the end consumer benefit from such a solution? How do you differentiate Cyberior from the other cybersecurity solutions provider currently present in India?

From an end-consumer perspective, it is important to understand that every individual has a digital version of themselves with all their information including IP addresses, passwords, credit card numbers, addresses, mobile number, marital status, Pan Card, Aadhaar card, etc. If a cybercriminal was to get hold of this information, a fake digital version can be created and could result in considerable damage. Hence, it is very important to protect the digital version of an individual. Additionally, end-users aren’t just worried about themselves but worry about the protection of their family as well, and Cyberior has this aspect very well covered. 

Cyberior is committed to protecting the digital version of every individual, and is built to secure personal data and devices of an individual and extends the benefits to family members. This solution protects against malware, ransomware, phishing, cyber fraud, credit protection, and more. In addition to detecting fraud activity, Cyberior also has resolution capabilities, with resolution specialists who provide individuals with hands-on and step-by-step solutions to resolve cases of fraud. Cyberior is also compliant with RBI’s data localization and India’s security laws. While other companies provide some of the benefits, but Cyberior is the only one that offers an integrated package to secure the digital identities of the individual. Globally, this service is being used by over 165 million individuals in more than 25 countries.

Why does India need stringent cybersecurity laws?

India is one of the most cyber-attacked countries in the world and hence it is necessary to have stricter cybersecurity and data protection laws to mitigate data thefts and cybercrimes. With over half a billion internet users and over 1 billion mobile accounts, India is a breeding ground for cybercriminals. 

The European Union’s General Data Protection regulatory standards levy heavy legal fees for the European organizations and that fall under the EU jurisdiction, it has a profound impact and curbs the surge of cyber-attacks though a similar bill in India is awaiting clearance.

As more and more people work remotely, and not just companies, but individuals too have to be even more careful about protecting crucial data on various devices. As per the University of Maryland, a cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds and the attacks are evolving at an astounding pace with social engineering and AI playing a crucial role in forgery. With the advent of 5G, the evolution of IoT, and social media’s omnipresence, we not only live in a world driven by data but also with as many loopholes. Thus, it is crucial that the government, organizations, and individuals up their cybersecurity game.  

While currently, there is negligible focus on data privacy in India and the Personal Data Protection Bill still in the pipeline, what Indian consumers need right now is a one-stop solution for a variety of cyber threats. Tools such as breach monitoring, digital identity monitoring, real-time alerts, financial loss coverage, and crisis resolution have to be implemented to circumvent and mitigate the risks of cyber-attacks. While the enterprises and service providers hardly follow the best data privacy practices, the consumers have to take charge to ensure personal data privacy.

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