India's biggest tech centers named as cyber crime hotspots

Global tech companies' Bharat offices attract the wrong sort of interest

India is grappling with a three-and-a-half year surge in cyber crime, with analysis suggesting cities like Bengaluru and Gurugram – centers of India's tech development – are hubs of this activity.

The report – A Deep Dive into Cybercrime Trends Impacting India from the non-profit Future Crime Research Foundation (FCRF) – identified cyber crime hot spots from January 2020 until June 2023.

"The analysis of the top 10 cyber crime-prone districts in India reveals several common factors contributing to their vulnerability. These include geographical proximity to major urban centers, limited cyber security infrastructure, socioeconomic challenges, and low digital literacy," states the report.

Several of the most cyber crime-prone top geographies house tech hubs. Gurugram and Bangalore – both considered [PDF] among the top five most attractive cities for the IT industry in Asia – featured for the wrong reasons.

The Gurugram district, which is home to a planned IT-focused city of the same name, made number six on FCRF's list. The district accounted for 8.1 percent of reported cyber crime, despite being home to less than 0.2 percent of India's population.

FCRF cited the high crime rate as "likely influenced by its status as a major corporate and IT hub, making it an attractive target for cyber criminals seeking valuable data or financial gains."

Outsourcing services and call centers are prominent in the area. Globally recognised tech names including Google, Microsoft, IBM India, Accenture, Cognizant, Infosys, Wipro and more all have presence in the city.

And while the city is known for economic affluence – it's said to have the third highest per capita income in India – the Foundation suggested "disparities in digital literacy and cyber security awareness" could be factors likely to drive criminal activity.

Meanwhile, Bangalore – in the district of Karnataka – was named by FCRF as an emerging cyber crime hotspot. The city is known as the "Silicon Valley of India" thanks to its proliferation of IT employers – including Infosys, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, IBM India, Microsoft, Google, Amazon Intel, Cisco, Samsung Research Institute, Nvidia Graphics and more.

Topping the list was Gurugram's neighbor Bharatpur, with 18 percent of India's overall cyber crime. FCRF cites limited employment opportunities and lack of digital literacy as reasons for the region's prevalence of crime, as well as the fact it contains major urban centers like Delhi and Jaipur.

Mathura – a district filled with significant religious sites – took second place with 12 percent. The FCRF cited limited cyber security infrastructure and the area's status as a tourist attraction among likely reasons it was so popular with crims.

Another finding in the report was that of all reported cyber crimes in India, almost half (47.25 percent) involved Unified Payments Interface (UPI) fraud. Debit, credit card and sim swap fraud came in a distant second place with 11.27 percent. Overall, financially motivated crime accounted for 77.41 percent of incidents. ®

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