February 21, 2024

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Strengthening Cybersecurity in India’s Financial Landscape

In a gathering in New Delhi that reflected the significance of the issue, the Secretary of the Department of Financial Services (DFS), under the Ministry of Finance, spearheaded a comprehensive discourse. The focus was on unveiling the challenges and strategising against the burgeoning threats of cybercrime in the financial services sector, particularly the surge in online financial fraud incidents.

Critical issues discussed encompassed the imperative need for enhanced coordination among police, banks, and financial entities for real-time tracking and blocking of defrauded funds. Additionally, strategies to tackle the proliferation of mule accounts, augment response times to handle alerts on online financial frauds, and establish regional/state-level nodal officers were highlighted.

Image credits: Press Information Bureau

The meeting also emphasised the necessity of a central registry for merchant onboarding and KYC standardisation, as well as the importance of whitelisting digital lending apps through stakeholder consultation. Progress updates on implementing recommendations, such as setting up the Digital India Trust Agency (DIGITA) and the proposed legislation known as the ‘Banning of Unregulated Lending Activities (BULA) Act,’ were also on the agenda.

Lastly, an overarching consensus emerged: all stakeholders, including banks and financial institutions, must prioritise customer awareness and sensitisation programs to bolster digital payment security.

Attendees, including the Secretary of Telecom and high-ranking officials from multiple sectors such as DFS, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Department of Revenue (DoR), Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Department of Telecom (DoT), Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Indian Cyber Crime Co-ordination Centre (I4C), National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), as well as leading banks and financial institutions like State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, and others, converged for this pivotal discussion.

The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) from the Ministry of Home Affairs shared a concerning presentation. They highlighted the escalating statistics of digital payment frauds culled from the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (NCRP), shedding light on the diverse sources of financial frauds and the intricate modus operandi adopted by cybercriminals. This included exploring the challenges impeding efforts to counter these financial cybercrimes.

The meeting was not just a gathering of minds, but it explored preparedness. Participants assessed the readiness of banks and financial institutions to confront the escalating challenges posed by cyber threats in the financial domain. They delved into the rising trend of digital payment frauds and crafted a focused strategy to combat these attacks and scams head-on.

Moreover, key players like the State Bank of India (SBI), PayTM, and Razorpay showcased their distinct strategies for mitigating such fraudulent activities. SBI presented its Proactive Risk Monitoring (PRM) strategy, while representatives from PayTM and Razorpay shared their successful best practices.

Key takeaways from the deliberations included noteworthy statistics: 70 lakh mobile connections implicated in cybercrime/financial frauds were disconnected via digital intelligence platforms. Furthermore, a staggering Rs. 900 crore of defrauded money was safeguarded, benefiting approximately 3.5 lakh victims.

The meeting chaired by the DFS Secretary served as a pivotal juncture to fortify India’s financial sector against cyber threats. Collaboration among various agencies unveiled potent measures, disconnecting implicated mobile connections and safeguarding substantial defrauded funds. The discussions culminated in a roadmap to shield citizens from the insidious web of financial frauds, showcasing a unified resolve to combat cyber threats in the country’s financial ecosystem.


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