Amid the surge in cybercrime cases in the last three years, Assam has been observing a month-long cybersecurity safety campaign.
In a response to the rising cases of cybercrime, the Assam Police and Cyber-Security think tank Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF) has jointly launched a month-long cyber safety awareness campaign targeting youngsters in the state.
Assam DGP Bhaskar Mahanta told Times of India, "I am getting more aware about the incidents of cybercrime happening here in Assam, especially during COVID situation. There have been efforts to hack people's bank accounts and take money out of those accounts."
The DGP also spoke about the involvement of foreign agencies in some cyber snooping cases. "We have planned a proper mechanism to counter this. To make people aware of cyber-safety, we have also launched a month-long campaign across the state," the DGP said. He also said that people should be alert and careful during this time.
Girls falling under traps and 'honey trapping' are the other kinds of cybercrimes that have occurred in Assam, the DGP added.
The official further pointed out that the pandemic has highlighted vulnerabilities on cyberspace, which can only be dealt with awareness. He said that the cybercriminals have been taking advantage of the widespread panic and confusion in society and so the awareness month would allow them to raise awareness on important cyber safety issues, particularly among the youth.
Harmeet Singh, ADGP (S, A, M&L ), Assam Police spoke about the increase in online activities and screen time due to the pandemic which in turn has raised the number of online transactions along with a consequent spike in cyber fraud.
"The principle behind the campaign is to raise awareness on cyber safety and open a free-flowing dialogue with the citizens to resolve their cyber-related issues," Singh said.
In the past three years, Assam has recorded a continuous increase in cybercrimes. According to the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB), the state has witnessed around 2231 cybercrimes in 2019. The report shows that the cybercrime rate in Assam is 6.5 while the national rate is 3.3.
Cases of extortion (518), sexual exploitation (289), fraud (243) and personal revenge (555) are also increasing at an alarming rate in the state. Around 731 cases were recorded in the state in 2019 related to publication/transmission of obscene/ sexually explicit acts in electronics.
A continuous rise in fake news has also become a major challenge for the Assam police department. People were involved in spreading fake news during the COVID-19 pandemic. The police ensured that the cyber cell was active and was involved in observing the issues related to cyber safety.
However, the month-long campaign for cybersecurity will be hosted across various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram of the state government, state police, Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF). It will also be aired on the FM stations.