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Indian Ministry of Home Affairs launches online cybercrime portal

On 5 July, the Minister of State for Home Affairs (MEA), Mr Hansraj Gangaram Ahir announced that the MEA is going to launch an online portal where people can file complaints regarding cybercrimes.

At the Cyber Safety and Digital Awareness Programme for Senior Citizens that was organised by the Delhi Police, Mr Hansrajv Gangaram Ahir said that that cyber-frauds can be more or less curtailed if Indian citizens become more digitally aware and responsible about the cyber transactions they make.

According to the press statement released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Delhi Police created the programme specifically for senior citizens as they are soft targets for cybercrimes as a result of their lack of digital literacy. Senior citizens are increasingly targeted by cybercriminals that steal their savings or commit healthcare fraud. Many senior citizens are still not aware of the growing number cyber-threats including identity theft and financial and healthcare fraud.

In addition to their lack of digital awareness, computer skills among senior citizens can vary and not everyone is concerned with the need to protect information that they post online. They often do not appreciate the importance of basic maintenance such as keeping their electronic devices updated with the latest security programmes.

New terminology and threats are also difficult for them to grasp. A common method used by cyber-criminals is to target older adults with phishing emails that claim to be sent from a financial institution they use, or from a government agency. The Ministry’s online cybercrime portal is expected to reduce the number of senior citizens that are victims of cybercrime.

The programme started with a basic introduction to cybercrimes and cybersecurity procedure. Informative handouts on cyber-threats and safe online habits were given to the 2,500 senior citizens that participated in the programme.

During the programme, Mr Hansrajv Gangaram Ahir said that every citizen should remain vigilant and aware, and with police being on guard, the government anticipates a reduction in the rate of cybercrimes. He said that in most cases criminals that commit cybercrimes are caught by the police and convicted, but victim’s main priority is always to recover their lost money, hence the most important task is to recover the money from the accused.

The Delhi Police Chief, Mr Amulya Patnaik while addressing at programme said that Delhi Police has established cyber-cells in 14 districts of Delhi that work under a Special Cyber Unit. He added that it is the police department’s priority area and that they have already trained about 800 police officers to deal with cybercrimes, specifically.

Mr Hansrajv Gangaram Ahir also noted that the Ministry of Home Affairs has earmarked IN₹25,000 crores (around US$3.6 billion) to equip the police with the required technology and knowledge to deal with the increasing rate of cyber crime in the country.

Mr Hansrajv Gangaram Ahir also talked about the Courage (Himmat) mobile application for women's safety and an all-women patrolling squad on streets at night. The application is a part of the Digital India initiative that was launched by the Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi.

The press release stated that during the programme, the Ministry also launched the first Cyber Forensic Van of Delhi Police for on-the-spot police investigations at crime scenes.  The Van has been developed with the latest technology and with the ability to detect digital crimes with a portable/mobile system and hard disk forensic tools for onsite investigation. The van will be available round-the-clock on call in all districts/units.

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