India’s dream of achieving a over USD 5 Trillion economy by the year 2024-25 seems implausible as it stands today. The India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth showed a drop to 4.5% in the July-September quarter of 2019-20, from a projection 9% for the same period. The fall has been sudden due to many a reasons. In fact the first quarter of 2016-17, India registered a commendable GDP growth of 9.4%. In spite of the Economic Slowdown that is being encountered in India and also the fall of the GDP, there is one Industry i.e. ‘Cybercrime as a Service’ that seems to shine, this is the Industry that is growing by over 200%. This seemingly Black Economy, is also India’s’ clandestine contributor to the cash-flow and accumulation of liquidity elsewhere in the National Economy.
The Reports Available on Cybercrime
In a recent ASSOCHAM-NEC joint study reported published in the early part of 2019 quoted that the cyber crime incidents under the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 from the year 2011 to 2016, had recorded a rise of over 450%. This is not surprising, mainly due to the fact that many users are loosing money online frauds on daily basis.
According to estimates, in the year 2017 alone the global cost of cyber crime reached as much as $608 billion – about 0.8% of the global GDP. If we look at India for the same period, the cost of Cyber crime amounted to a loss of $18.5 billion. In 2017, India witnessed one case of cyber crime every 10 minutes, and here most of these incidents were not reported.
Hence, Cyber Security has become a top challenge for businesses, globally, as well as in India. Cyber crime now is the most lucrative business, especially in India, where the Skill Set is better and that this Manpower is unemployed with lack of legitimate jobs in India. Cyber criminals make thousands of Rupees each year, according to estimates, an average hacker makes over $90,000 a year.
As per Government reports, many Hubs across India have flourished as part of the ‘Cybercrime as a Service’ Industry. Maharashtra recorded 2945 cases of Cyber Crime till September 2018 and most of them were in Mumbai. In Delhi, in 2017, as per the Delhi police, only 84 FIRs were registered at the cyber crime cell. Until April 2016, 110 complaints were lodged, but only 26 FIRs were registered. In Chennai, as per reports, 5,703 complaints have been received by the cyber crime cell in the past five years. Bengaluru registered the most number of cyber crime cases in 2018. The country’s technology capital saw a whopping 5,035 FIRs registered at the lone cyber crime police station in the city. All this statistics shows that this Industry of ‘Cybercrime as a Service’ is an Organised form of services and is a formal affair.
In a report provide to the press during May 2018, the Union Home Secretary, Government of India, Shri Rajib Gauba had mentioned that ‘more than half of India’s Cyber Crime were being committed by fraudsters from the obscure place being Jamtara in Jharkhand. On 19 November 2019, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, Godda Jharkhand, has himself in the Lok Sabha, quoted that the regions of Pakur, Deoghar, Godda, Sahebgang, Dumka apart from Jamtara has become “Hub for Cyber Crime” and that these areas has now been patronised even better by cyber criminals. There have been numerous cases registered against legitimate ‘Call Centers’ in Gurugram, Noida, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bengalure, Anantapur, etc which have been patronising Financial Cyber Crimes and making an alienated economy by itself. All this is done as part of the large and flourishing ‘Cybercrime as a Service’ in India.
Cybercrime-as-a-Service Economy is growing stronger than ever, especially in India. Cybercrime-as-a-service, along with attacks-as-a-service, malware-as-a-service and fraud-as-a-service — has opened a wide digital door to anyone looking to score a quick, illicit buck on the internet.
In India alone, it is estimated that over 50,000 workforces may be employed as on date in the “cybercrime as a service” industry, and most of them are formal and registered entities operating undercover or alongside legitimate business dealings. These skilled participants as part of the ecosystem, may be developing the attack code and services and providing strategy consultations that enable criminals who lack technical acumen to execute the cyber crime.
India has over 350 million internet users and 80 percent of them use the internet for financial dealings and transactions and are thus susceptible to Cyber crime. This figure is projected to grow to over 500 million by the year 2022.
Cybercrime-as-a-service is poised by year 2020, to become an actual business trend in India due to lack of these perpetrators being booked and also for the fact that the money so extorted is not subjected to Income Tax scrutiny or reporting.