Digital culture and economy – a boon or a curse?
After the pandemic, our lives changed dramatically in a bittersweet way – partly good and partly bad. Some changes are short term and some are long term. None of us ever imagined that we could have video consultations with doctors or order our groceries, including perishables, online. Many utilities, such as driver’s license renewals and stamp duty payments, also went live, which we thought was impossible. We meet our colleagues and family on video chats and pay our local kirana shops or fruit vendors using online modes.
The catalytic change we are experiencing today has provided each of us with great convenience. It has also dramatically increased our risk of cyber attacks and made us more vulnerable to hackers and malicious fraudsters waiting to steal our identity, reputation and hard-earned money.
According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), more than 50,000 cybercrime cases were reported in 2020 alone. There can also be a significant number of crimes that go undetected or go unreported. Recent reports also show a threefold increase in cyber attacks in 2020 compared to 2019 in India.
Using caution to protect our information online has become crucial. The government and regulators strive to hold organizations and businesses accountable for the privacy and security of our information. However, we must do our part to protect our data and understand the implications of our online behavior. We need to be aware of the different ways that fraudsters and hackers cause financial, mental and privacy damage. It’s also crucial to look for ways to reduce the amount of information we share online and minimize our online footprint.
Is consciousness alone enough?
Reducing the online footprint and being aware of the various cyber threats and ways to protect ourselves can help. However, that might not be enough. Let’s think about it. We buy cars based on our affordability and taste. We are confident in our driving and take good care of the car. We always get auto insurance to protect against any unforeseen damage as we are wary of car thieves, reckless drivers on the road and other risks.
While we do everything possible to keep our information private and secure, there are certain risks that are beyond our control. Fraudsters and hackers are launching pretty sophisticated attacks these days – so much so that viruses and malware can be bought today to hack people’s phones and computers. It is also one of the reasons for the tripling of cyber attacks in India. India’s digital ambition, combined with the growth of mobile and internet services, makes Indians the primary target for the foreseeable future.
Similar to auto insurance, cyber insurance is an effective tool to protect us against these unforeseen risks and malicious attacks. Understanding the risks people face online, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) released guidance for insurers in September 2021. The document highlights the need for cyber insurance to provide coverage against identity theft and funds, unauthorized online transactions. , email spoofing / phishing / social media coverage, cyber extortion coverage, etc.
There are many options of cyber insurance products available in India. Personal cyber insurance products generally cover people over the age of 18. In some cases, the entire family staying with the insured is covered against various risks, such as financial loss (due to unauthorized transactions), phishing, identity theft, identity theft, reputation damage injury, cyberbullying, cyberextortion and malware intrusion. Although these individual policies have an insured sum, they limit the amount of coverage (sub-limits) to a certain type of risk based on that person’s risk profile. A personal cyber insurance policy helps provide financial compensation to the extent permitted by the policy chosen by an individual. Cyber insurance coverage typically includes the following:
- Identity theft: Expenses related to reissuing identity documents, affidavit preparation fees and various credit program fees for restoring credit history and correcting files
- Financial losses due to unauthorized transactions
- Losses due to damage to reputation resulting from illegal publications
- Consult a psychologist as needed to manage reputation damage or cyberbullying
- Data restoration and medico-legal fees, including cybersecurity consulting fees
- Legal costs related to a first legal consultation for a legal action against a third party
- Any penalty you may have to pay to the financial institution for EMI default or any similar expense
Considering the many risks we face today in the online world, we need to be aware of the threats we face and reduce our online footprint. We also need to have insurance coverage that can cover our financial needs in the event of a cyber attack or fraud. Remember, we insure the car not because we drive the car safely, but for unforeseen incidents over which we have no control.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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