London: India is fast emerging as a
major hub of cybercrime as recession is driving
computer-literate criminals to electronic scams, claimed a
study by researchers at the University of Brighton.
Titled `Crime Online: Cybercrime and Illegal
Innovation`, the study states that cybercrime in India, China,
Russia and Brazil is a cause of "particular concern" and that
there has been a "leap in cybercrime" in India in recent
years, partly fuelled by the large number of call centres.
"Russia, China and Brazil are world leaders in
cybercrime, with groups and individuals in India powering up
to compete. Yet companies in Europe and the US are
increasingly moving IT functions and software development
tasks to India, Brazil, Russia and Eastern Europe in a bid to
draw on their good IT skills and lower wages", says Professor
Howard Rush who lead the study.
Although cybercriminal activity remained low in India
compared with other emerging economies, the report says that
"there has been a leap in cybercrime in recent years".
Reported cases of cases of spam, hacking and fraud have
multiplied 50-fold from 2004 to 2007, it claims.
"One recent report ranked India in 2008 as the
fourteenth country in the world hosting phishing websites.
Additionally, the booming of call centres in India has
generated a niche for cybercriminal activity in harvesting
data", the report maintained.
The report also says that cybercrime is a global
industry but the combination of poor economic opportunities
and high skills is driving many developing regions to surface
as major players in cybercrime.
Across the world, the report predicts that cybercrime
will continue to offer high rewards and low risks both to
organised and to opportunistic criminals. New players are
emerging in countries like India and Brazil and as
international financial networks acquire a greater global
reach, such opportunities will multiply, it said.
The international response to cybercrime has been
weak, given the scale of the problem. There are no signs of
preparation to withstand a future cybercrime onslaught, it
"Countries do face problems responding collectively in
an appropriate and effective manner. The scale and nature of
the problem is genuinely transnational – credit card details
stolen in the UK can be processed in Malaysia and used in
Australia, while Indian call centres are thought to be a
source for insider fraud", it says.
As more and more regions of the world go online,
cybercrime is finding new and more permissive environments,
especially in developing nations, where cybercrime is gaining
a foothold, the report says.
Law enforcement agencies are struggling to respond,
especially in places where legislative frameworks are weak or
non-existent. The growth of cybercrime in Russia, India, China
and Brazil is of particular concern, it adds.