Is Your Online Identity Secure?

Posted in Pocket Insurance Blogs By Sajhyadri Chattopadhyay-Jan 5,2023
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As connectivity, technological innovation, and digitisation advance at a breakneck pace, justifying the infamous title of ‘global village’ for the 21st century, the world is transforming into a close-knit cyberspace. Where does India lie in this urban spectrum? Official data shows over seven crore citizens to be active internet users, a number expected to surge to nearly nine crores by 2025. Online financial transactions have also seen a sharp rise in the country in recent years, with RBI data reporting over 4,600 crore UPI payments in just FY2022. This amounted to more than ₹84 Lakh Crores. Last year, a net worth of ₹41 Lakh Crores was recorded from 2200 crore online transactions. A sharp rise, is it not?

The Pandemic Scare and a Paradigm Shift

From academics to corporate, the COVID-19 pandemic further catapulted every aspect of our daily lives into the digital world. Along with it surged our usage of online platforms for official work, storing personal data, and every teeny purchase. Believe it or not, kids nowadays are even buying toffees worth ₹1 online! This internet adaptation brought the exponential rise of cybercrime, especially after the world shifted to closed doors and we opened our digital windows to all forms of cyber criminals. CERT-In stated that cyber security incidents hiked to 14.02 lakh from 2.08 lakh between 2018 and 2021. Banking records revealed that the losses incurred from several forms of cybercrime like ATM and card fraud/theft, internet banking fraud, etc., amounted to around ₹63.4 Crores in 2020-21. 

Who Are You Online?

Simply speaking, your digital identity consists of a bunch of details that link to your personal and financial information. As a result, cybercriminals can trace these back to you and your digital belongings. The risks exist in a number of places, from social media photos and online shopping accounts to websites asking for your email ID, mobile number, and so on.  

To summarise, your online identity is anything you leave on the Internet; think of it as your digital footprint. Sounds harmless? It might be, but do you know what information can be traced back or used to gain access to your financial assets? Prevention is better than cure, but you can no longer escape the internet. Today, securing your online identity is perhaps the first step to securing your cyberspace.  

Online identity is more than just what we do on the internet. It also verifies that we are indeed whom we claim to be. From passwords and PINs to biometric recognition software, we need to fortify areas of risk. Each day, we all are exposed to digital threats that try to steal our online identity. To protect ourselves, a major pre-emptive step should be to increase awareness of cybercrimes and the basic dos and don’ts of online activities. 

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

With cybercrime cases showing no signs of control, taking additional steps to secure our digital accounts and banking methods has become a grim necessity. How can you choose the boon of the internet without the bane of criminal activities? Cyber insurance is the answer!  

As the name explains, this is a type of insurance cover that protects individuals from the effects of cyberattacks. It not only compensates the insured against the financial losses due to such incidents, but also covers the expenses of regulatory measures, privacy investigations, data recovery, etc. Did you know that cyber insurance is available for businesses and organisations as well? Here, it essentially provides the insured parties with financial security against losses from data breaches. 

Personal vs Organisational Cyber Security

For individuals, cyber insurance also provides you with coverage against a wide array of non-financial criminal activities, as proclaimed by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI). These include social media hacking, phishing, stalking, and identity theft Industry experts also attribute a due importance to individual plans of cyber insurance.  

A. Ramalingam, Chief Technical Officer of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, mentioned in an article of The Economic Times dated 25th April 2022, that large companies usually have firewalls and other safety mechanisms to stop cyberattacks. Naturally, this is not the case for people who often fall prey to digital cons and scams, leading to data breaches and financial losses. Cyber insurance provides you with a backup against such losses from fraudulent attacks. Now, you can explore the internet without worrying about the dangers!

Cybercrime During Christmas 2022

In the few days leading up to Christmas, India saw a whopping 314% hike in cybercrimes, a report by Surfshark Antivirus stated. It added that India’s digital security risks were 91% higher than the global average. In simpler terms, the country was placed third, after Thailand and Portugal, in terms of the highest cyberattacks recorded in that week. Nedas Kazlauskas, Senior Product Manager at Surfshark, attributed the year’s final holiday shopping season to the increased digital menace.  

He explained that this is a time when not only shopkeepers and retailers but also hackers and fraudsters thrive. Surely even you spent more time online than usual, searching for the best gifts and cool deals. If you didn’t get baited into clicking on any suspicious link via SMS, WhatsApp, or mail, consider yourself lucky. Most victims were found to have lost their digital finances or gotten some form of digital account hacked from such spam links. Cybercriminals use these to gain access to your device, and your personal information available online! 

Know the Risks

From calls and messages about blocked cards and bank accounts to new schemes and policy updates, hackers and fraudsters are ever ready with an arsenal to break through your digital walls. Scammers mostly ask for personally identifiable information, pretending to be banking employees, customer service executives, or salespeople. They can directly ask for or con you into sharing valuable details like your PAN or Aadhar number, bank account numbers, date of birth, etc. 

Block and Tackle

Simply following basic guidelines may not be enough, whether it be an attempt to scam you or hack into your digitally connected devices. Don’t cry over spilt milk; plan ahead and stay ahead of losses from cyberattacks! Take additional precautions to get your losses reimbursed at an affordable cost. Choose a comprehensive cyber insurance plan and boost your digital security now! Be on the lookout for an insurance plan that provides coverage against losses incurred from stolen SIM cards, fraudulent digital transactions, and more. 

Conclusion – How Safe Is Your Cyberspace?

In a nutshell, the online world comes with its risks and dangers, just like the real world. After all, you have health insurance for real-life threats; shouldn’t your increasingly digital life also get better protection? A cyber insurance policy provides you with exactly that, safeguarding against losses you might face in the event of a cyberattack. Choosing to buy a cyber insurance plan means prioritising your peace of mind. Conduct all your online activities without the constant cloud of cyber threats and their financial implications looming over your head.  

Innovation in digital payments, regulatory support, and a surge in mobile internet usage have accelerated rapid digital growth in India. However, adapting to the online world left us wide open to criminals out to defraud us based on human error and system vulnerabilities. As exposure to hackers and fraudsters is almost unavoidable today, why take a chance? With annual charges starting at ₹299, choose a policy that suits you best and stay covered for losses up to ₹1 Lakh! Protect yourself with a tailor-made cyber insurance plan from Bajaj Markets now.  

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