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Cybersecurity In 2022: Awareness The Key
While the country is making digital progress by leaps and bounds, the lack of awareness of dangers lurking on the world wide web is often taken for granted
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
Technological innovations truly have caught on at unimaginable speed over the last decade and the era of digital transformation ushered in by the mega event of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to adapt quickly to function under the new normal. But seldom is it realised that even as the pandemic fades into the background, ‘the normal’ has been redefined and stuck. And so have the problems that came along with it.
Today, the flipside of accelerated technological advancement is evident due to the prominence of debate over cybersecurity, as it presses consumers of the internet and businesses – all alike. On any given day during the first half (H1) of 2022, there were 2 lakh threats on the digital medium in India. In total, Google says the country witnessed 18 million cyberattacks in H1 2022.
The latest report by internet infrastructure provider Cloudflare indicates India to be the second largest source of HTTP DDoS attack traffic in Q3 2022, only trailing China globally. The attack traffic coming from India has spiked by 61 per cent year-on-year (YoY) in the quarter.
Speaking to BW Businessworld, Samuel Sathyajith, Head of India and SAARC Region, Cloudflare said, “Generally, what we have seen is that there have been a host of compromised devices and a lack of knowledge and awareness in India. This means that these resources here are being used to generate attacks.”
This brings to spotlight the question of awareness or the sheer lack of it in India. While the country is making digital progress by leaps and bounds, the lack of awareness of the dangers lurking on the world wide web is often taken for granted.
Path Of Least Resistance
Contrary to what’s portrayed in Hollywood and Bollywood movies, hackers aren’t always trying to blitz their way into networks. In fact, the presence of cybersecurity mechanisms acts as a huge deterrent and seldom is something pursued by malicious actors in such areas. Malicious actors instead choose to find points of ingress into networks/systems/devices which provide the least resistance. It's rarely worth the effort for threat actors to try cracking a firewall. Their time is rather well spent finding the chinks in the armour rather than penetrating it.
This, again, brings the topic of ‘awareness’ into the picture as only through awareness can someone/business know how to build armour to deter threat actors. This can begin by adopting basic hygiene practices along with the right tools and safe online practices. It could then extend to creating online accounts, and ensuring passwords that are unique and complex. Adding multi-factor authentication could add an additional layer of protection.
“Consumers must also think before they click, as malicious links can be found in emails, tweets, texts or online advertising. People should remember to share information with caution. This includes being cognizant of the information that sites collect and minimise sharing any confidential information”, said Ramesh Jampula, Vice President, IT, India and APJC Regional CIO, Dell Technologies.
It is also important to avoid using public Wi-Fi. While they are enticing and provide ease of connectivity, public Wi-Fi can be hazardous. It can provide hackers with a quick ingress into a smartphone and help them steal data. It’s also best not to use lighter versions of apps as developers often use more vulnerable encryptions to make them run easily which also makes these apps susceptible to cyberattacks.
“Although this seems basic, ensuring that your debit/credit card details are not saved when you make purchases online is crucial. The best way to stay safe while making digital payments is to avoid suspicious websites and applications and only use legitimate, trusted apps recommended in the app store”, said Dipesh Kaura, General Manager, Kaspersky (South Asia).
Smartphone users should also only download authorised, tested and genuine applications, check terms and conditions, update any default security configurations and delete apps when they are no longer being used regularly.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month
With the threat landscape ever-expanding, cybersecurity will always be a journey. There never can be a single silver bullet in cybersecurity that addresses all the vulnerabilities. Deploying the right technologies and strategies can only go so far without awareness. For consumers, it’s a learning curve and for organisations it’s teamwork coupled with training, simulations and real-life tabletop exercises to keep everyone apprised of the latest cybersecurity developments.
For close to two decades, October has been celebrated as Cybersecurity Awareness Month to bring to light various risks involved in the cyber realm. This year, even the Indian Government joined this initiative in a big way through its nodal agency The Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In) under MeitY. All this month, the agency has been doing a tremendous job by publishing advisories on malware, fake schemes, securing remote access, Wi-Fi hacking and a lot more via its social media.