Better awareness needed to check cyber crimes: Officials

Guwahati, May 6 (PTI) A senior Assam government official on Friday stressed the need for better awareness and capacity building to thwart cyber crimes that have gone up in the country during the global pandemic.

Anurag Goel, principal secretary of the Information Technology department, was speaking at a training session during the launch of a nationwide #TrueCyberSafe Campaign here.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the vulnerabilities of cyberspace, which is evident in the increase in cyber attacks during the past few years. This can only be tackled through better awareness and capacity building to recognise and report cybercrimes, the official said.

The campaign has been launched by Truecaller, the global platform for verifying contacts, and civil society organisation CyberPeace Foundation, in collaboration with the Assam Police, to create awareness and train people to tackle cyber frauds.

The safety training that begins from Assam will be held in five regions across India to increase awareness about the steps that our users can take to avoid fraud, spam, and scams.

The Assam government has taken cognisance of this issue and initiated several measures in the past, including organising a month-long cyber awareness drive and issuing a one-stop guidebook on how to stay safe online, Goel said.

”We are very happy to see Truecaller play a role in raising awareness and we are confident that this will prove to be an extremely fruitful exercise , he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Guwahati Commissioner of Police Harmeet Singh said that with rapid innovations in technology, there is also a corresponding rise in cyber threats and online harassment.

India has seen a five-fold jump in cyber fraud cases between 2018 and 2021 and ”as we continue our march towards technology, these negative externalities will also continue to grow”, he said.

It is, therefore, imperative that measures are taken to empower citizens, and the first step towards achieving this would be by raising awareness about digital safety and outlining how people can report cyber crimes, Singh said.

The top police officer exuded confidence that the nationwide programme would go a long way in realising this goal.

Pragya Misra Mehrishi, Public Affairs director, Truecaller India, said that with the world moving to digital space ”we remain committed to building trust in communication by making it safe and to build this mission, we are conducting our first set of training in Assam as part of our national campaign called #TrueCyberSafe”.

Global president of CyberPeace Foundation Major (retd) Vineet Kumar said that for the past two decades his organisation emphasised the importance of online safety and the issues that might be faced in the coming days.

Noting that after the onset of the pandemic, a rise in online frauds was noted, he said CyberPeace Foundation constantly collaborated with organisations across the globe to ensure that the netizens stay cyber aware and cyber alert and know the mechanism to report and raise their voices”.