Technology
Ransomware, Digital India and the growing cyber threats
The recent attack by 'WannaCry' ransomware had left several organisations and countries locked-in. The ease with which this ransomware has spread across several countries raises big questions on cybersecurity issues. This worrisome situation also raises questions on security and safety aspects on initiatives like 'Digital India' that aim at transforming India into a digitally empowered society and expect to further accelerate awareness, availability and adoption of digital technologies. Unfortunately, the benefits of digital payments also increase risks and the principal concern over the rush to a digital economy is the growing threats of cyber-attacks, and data leakage, says a research note.
 
In its note on 'Digital Payments - Analysing the cyber landscape', KPMG, said, "Keeping pace with the growth of digitisation, the cyber threats are not far behind. As many as 11,592 cases of cybercrime were reported across India in 2015. The growth in cybercrime coupled with proliferation of digital economy is as close as it can get to a death-knell, if not dealt appropriately." KPMG had also conducted a survey on cybersecurity concerns around digital payments. 
 
According to the tax and advisory service provider, the lack of awareness among customers and the evolving digital payment ecosystem have amplified the chances of exposure to cybersecurity risks such as online fraud, information theft, and malware or virus attacks. It said, "Security should be the shared responsibility of government, organisations as well as the end users. Organisations should regularly update their software and fraud detection systems while the users should be aware of the basic security features. The government should focus more on educating the customers as well as enforcing basic security standards for organisations. Also, all the breaches should be mandatorily reported."
 
 
The pace of shift to digital payments has significantly increased with the strong move towards a cashless economy. The main factors that influenced this growth include increasing mobile phone penetration, lower cost of service delivery, banks discouraging customers from visiting branches, the unorganised sector supporting digital payments and the demonetisation drive.
 
While macro factors clearly indicate a favourable environment for digital payments, which is also being supported by the approach being taken by the regulator, KPMG says several challenges remain before India becomes truly digital. These challenges include wide use of feature phones, especially in rural areas, patchy digital connectivity in parts of the country, acceptance and change in mind set, lack of awareness and security in transactions.
 
 
KPMG says with initiatives like 'DigiShala', the Indian government aims at building a conducive ecosystem for a cashless economy. Other initiatives like national optical fibre network (NOFN) and introduction of unified payments interface (UPI) and Bharat interface for Money (BHIM) can help support faster adoption and transition to digital payments.
 
 
However, it added, this sudden surge and change in end user profile has led to various challenges in the digital payment ecosystem. "Cybersecurity is one of the most critical challenges faced by stakeholders of the digital payment ecosystem. With more and more users preferring digital payments, the chances of getting exposed to cybersecurity risks like online fraud, information theft, and malware or virus attacks are also increasing. Lack of awareness and poor digital payment ecosystem are some of the primary reasons that have led to increase in these attacks," it added.
 
KPMG says, "A robust regulatory framework, an effective customer redressal framework, fool proof security measures to enable confidence and tryst, incentives for large participation and benefits similar to cash transactions, such as ease of use, universal acceptability, perceived low cost of transaction, convenience and immediate settlement, are some measures that can help ensure long-term success for digital payments."
 
 
"The larger question is who is responsible and accountable for a cashless economy. The government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have clearly stated that cashless economy is the way forward. In this scenario, we need to answer some important questions, like is there adequate governance mechanism and public policy intellect to cope with the impact of digital or cyber terrorism and warfare? Are the three pillars of our democracy, legislative, executive and judiciary skilled and ready to take on the challenges of cybercrime? If the economy runs on digital, should the government report on cyber security performance? Do companies have an obligation to their customers and investors to be transparent on their cybersecurity performance? These are just some of the questions that need to be answered for a thriving yet secure digital economy," KPMG concluded.

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COMMENTS

Mahesh S Bhatt

1 week ago

We do real time active attack detections but USA based legacy vendors keep their businesses warm & ticking Mahesh Bhatt

Nifty, Sensex Trading Higher – Tuesday closing report

We had mentioned in Monday’s closing report that Nifty, Sensex were headed higher. The major indices of the Indian stock markets rallied on Tuesday and closed with gains of 0.71%-0.86% over Monday’s close. The trends of the major indices in the course of Tuesday’s trading are given in the table below:

The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) crossed the 9,500-mark for the first time during the mid-afternoon trade session on Tuesday. Around 2 p.m., the NSE Nifty traded at 9,503.50 points -- up 58.10 points or 0.62%. According to market observers, positive global cues, coupled with healthy macro-economic data and expectations of a normal monsoon lifted the Indian equity markets to record high levels intra-day. Healthy macroeconomic trends, prediction of a normal monsoon and the news on EFPO (Employee Provident Fund Organisation) increasing its equity investment limits led to the rise, observed market analysts. According to market analysts, buying was witnessed in consumer durables, automobile, banking and IT (information technology) stocks. Sector-wise, the S&P BSE consumer durables index augmented by 122.50 points, followed by the automobile index by 112.28 points and the banking index by 72.90 points.
 
State-run Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has reduced price of petrol by Rs2.16 per litre and that of diesel by Rs2.10 a litre excluding state levies. According to IOC, the current level of international prices of petrol, diesel and the Indian rupee-US dollar exchange rate warranted a decrease in selling price. Inflationary trends in India are however, likely to soften with lower oil prices and this could contribute to favourable bull market trends.
 
IT major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Monday said it will commence its Rs 16,000 crore share buy-back program from Thursday. The company said that it will start the process after securities markets regulator Sebi gave its approval to the share buy-back plan. According to a regulatory filing with BSE, the IT major through letter dated 12 May 2017 has received the final observations from Sebi on the draft letter of offer for the buy-back dated 25 April 2017. "In accordance with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Buyback of Securities) Regulations, 1998, the company will dispatch the Letter of Offer for the Buyback to eligible shareholders appearing on the record date of 8 May 2017, on or before 16 May 2017," the company said in the filing. On 20 February 2017, the global software major announced that it will buy back up to 5.61 crore equity shares of Re1 face value for Rs16,000 crore. TCS shares closed at Rs2,427.25, up 2.66% on the BSE.
 
The top gainers and top losers of the major indices are given in the table below:
 
 
The closing values of the major Asian indices are given in the table below:
 
 
 

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M Veerappa Moily, Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, assures a discussion on ever-increasing bank charges
M Veerappa Moily, Chairman of the Standing Committee of Parliament on finance assured a group of activists that the issue of ever rising and unfair bank charges would be discussed in detail by the committee. The meeting, which included Mr Dinesh Trivedi (of the All India Trinamool Congress) and Mr TK Rangarajan (Communists Party of India-Marxist) was told how banks have begun to levy a series of unjustified and unconscionable charges on customers, which actually hurt poorer customers at a time when the government is working at financial inclusion, while rich customers with large deposits are not charged. They drew attention to the furore caused by State Bank of India (SBI) decision to charge Rs25 on every single cash withdrawal from SBI Buddy app through ATM.
 
The group, including well known NGOs, trade unions, finance editors and experts presented Mr Moily a 1,100 page print out of over 100,000 signatures to an online petition at Change.org protesting against discriminatory bank charges and demanding action.
 
The group also submitted a Memorandum with seven points and requested that these be addressed urgently. 
 
The meeting was coordinated by Mr Sanjay Nirupam, President, Mumbai Regional Congress Committee and former Member of Parliament. 
 
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance was in Mumbai for meetings with banks, insurance companies and financial institutions on 12th and 13th May. 
 
The group told the Standing Committee that although the Reserve Bank of India requires bank charges to be reasonable, how it refuses to go into the reasonableness of charges and allows banks to operate as a cartel. Since consumers are a disaggregated lot, they are unable to fight back.
 
The group asked for the following key issues to be dealt with urgently. 
 
1. Ensure Digital Safety by converting RBI’s draft circular of August 2016 into a formal Master Circular, thereby limiting customer liability and shifting the onus of proving customer fault to banks. This is in line with international best practices.
 
2. Remove Average Minimum Balance Charges: If a customer’s balance is low, then the bank can downgrade the account to a Zero Balance or No-Frills Account (and reduce services like chequebook facilities etc.). It cannot levy a charge. This is in line with international practices.
 
3. Remove charge on cash transactions, or low value cheques, which discriminates against economically weaker bank customers and students. 
 
4. End Discrimination against old borrowers vis-à-vis New ones for Loans- where new customers are offered significantly lower interest even on floating rate loans.
 
5. Banks must be ordered to stop the discriminatory charge levied to reduce interest rate on floating rate loans. (There is no such charge or delay when interest rates increase).
 
6. Making NEFT (National Electronic Fund Transfer) transactions safe by capturing additional data such as name and branch details and have a robust redress process for inadvertent mistakes. 
 
7. Bank services must have a rational, transparent and non-discriminatory pricing framework for banks based on a detailed costing of all products and services
 
The group of activists who met the standing committee members: Sucheta Dalal, Trustee, Moneylife Foundation; AV Shenoy from the Rashtriya Matadata Manch; Ms Lalita Joshi and Mr Devidas Tuljapurkar, both Joint Secretaries of the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA); Harsh Vardhan Roongta, Financial Expert and Advisor; RN Bhaskar, Senior Editor and columnist; Dolphy D’souza, Convener, Police Reforms Watch; DS Ranga Rao, Public Concern for Governance Trust (PCGT); and Yogesh Sapkale, Director (Projects), Moneylife Foundation. Several leading unions and activists have signed and supported the Memorandum on bank charges. 
 

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COMMENTS

Sudharsan R

7 days ago

Pure heavy charges. Minimum balance charges even if we don't have money... Purely sucking public that too an average minimum balance of 500 and 1000 is reasonably OK but 3000 and 5000 is very high in public sector bank SBI

Ravindra Bhat

1 week ago

Hope things fall in place... And arrogance of these banks falls flat. Great initiative from money life...

Suketu Shah

1 week ago

PMO office(not MoF as of today) shd have moneylife advising them directly on suggestions on major changes required in financial/banking,etc sectors in India.Positive results wl be much faster to protect customers.

Mahesh S Bhatt

1 week ago

Good Great Show Money Life. But I donot know how much the will materialise?
Mahesh Bhatt

Jagdish Chavan

2 weeks ago

Great and timely efforts by MLF.

Simple Indian

2 weeks ago

A very good initiative taken by MLF. All the points mentioned for action / implementation are justified and will benefit millions of Bank customers who have been forced to put up with the whims n fancies of Banks all this while. Will be good if the concerned Govt Depts/RBI/Banks take note and implement the same at the earliest.

SRINIVAS SHENOY

2 weeks ago

With such a promising start and adequate backing, hope our objective of having reasonable charges levied, for all financial transactions, as per international practices by banks is met. Hope a vigorous follow up action of recovery of bad loans follows in a great way.

SRINIVAS SHENOY

2 weeks ago

With such a promising start and adequate backing, hope our objective of having reasonable charges levied, for all financial transactions, as per international practices by banks is met. Hope a vigorous follow up action of recovery of bad loans follows in a great way.

SRINIVAS SHENOY

2 weeks ago

With such a promising start and adequate backing, hope our objective of having reasonable charges levied, for all financial transactions, as per international practices by banks is met. Hope a vigorous follow up action of recovery of bad loans follows in a great way.

ksrao

2 weeks ago

At a time when the government is thinking of extensive use of digitisation for all financial transactions, banks' increasing and imposing charges is just anti-national.

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