Senior police officers spoke on “Cyber Crime & Civic Awareness” at the Ahmedabad Management Association on Friday evening, issuing a warning to social media users. The police advised people to use caution when accessing online content because of phishing scams and fake news.
Prem Vir Singh, Joint Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad’s Detection of Crime Branch, spoke about the link between social media and the increase in cybercrime. He warned against what one “watched” and “read” on social media, adding the total losses due to cybercrimes were estimated to be around 6 trillion dollars.
“As per the data collected in 2021, Google earns 69 billion dollars. Of this, 10 per cent of the revenue comes from YouTube, which is around 7 billion dollars. So, they get revenue, and what we get is rumours from certain sources… beware of what you watch. One should use social media carefully. If one cannot verify, do not read it”, Prem Vir Singh said.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between what is real and fake, he further said, as he spoke about deepfake content.
Further, at the event, Ajit Rajian, deputy commissioner of police (cybercrime), Ahmedabad, said, “Everybody with a mobile phone is vulnerable and a potential criminal. As per the World Bank Report 2022, 63 per cent of the world is connected to the internet. And in India, 61 per cent is connected to the internet. By 2025, more than 95 crore Indians will use the internet. Embracing technology and tackling its challenges simultaneously is a two-pronged strategy that has to be adopted with the advent of the internet of things and digitisation of process, which penetrates further into the lives of individuals.”
Some of the categories of cybercrime, like hacking, cyber fraud, online narcotics, social media bullying, and conventional crime, were described by Rajian. “The biggest challenge in the cyber world is ransomware attacks which increased in 2021 and more so in 2022. Along with this, phishing attacks and Internet of Things attacks have also become common. Software vulnerabilities are also one of the common reasons for cyber attacks, where one does not update the software on their devices as they find it unnecessary, but this should be a top priority for everyone,” added Rajian.
Mentioning some incidents like the Bangalore 2012 exodus by people from the Northeast, 2013 Muzzafarnagar riots, and lynching deaths because of an unverified video of a child kidnapping doing rounds in 2018, he also spoke on the perils of fake news.