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Impact of COVID-19 on Indian Cyberspace

The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic caused enormous damage to all the countries across the globe. But the damage caused is not limited to the health crisis. As the Covid-19 cases surged, the governments of almost all the nations started to declare lockdowns in their respective countries. The words ‘quarantine’ and ‘social-distancing’ have become a part of everybody’s life. People have started to spend their time indoors, the ‘hanging out’ started to become online chatting. But all this resulted in activating the evil elements of the society in Cyberspace. As per the officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the cybercrimes increased by 86% in India in the times of lockdown.

A few days ago, a case was filed relating to the cybercrime where an anonymous person attempted to sell the world’s tallest statue ‘Statue of Unity’. Though, this fraud has been apprehended and arrested by the Police. The fake offers of telecom leading companies; fake job offers; fake subscriptions of streaming services like Netflix; fake apps in the name of the cure for Coronavirus; and many more techniques were used by the cyber attackers. The fear of Corona was being exploited by these attackers and used it to involve the general public in their traps. Various malicious apps were circulated in the disguise of keeping track of the Corona updates but in reality, these apps were used to evade the privacy of the general public by getting access to their private data such as photos, location, videos, and even their data of bank accounts.

The workspace was compelled to shut due to the lockdown, the employees started to work from home. This led to the usage of their personal laptops and PCs which may not have cyber protection as it is in the workspace devices. One can notice the increase of E-mails in their mailbox impersonating advisory regarding the Corona Virus. These emails will invite the user to open attachments that contain the malware to access the system of the user. Once this malware enters the system, all the data privacy gets compromised which can be resulted in losing the confidential data. Lt. Gen. Rajesh Pant, India’s National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) said that cybercriminals had launched thousands of “fraud portal” related to the coronavirus.

The citizens have attracted a huge number of people who wish to donate for the battle against coronavirus. A significant number of these fake destinations were created which are modern and identical from their real counterpart. The officials of the ‘PM Cares Fund’ established by the Hon. Prime Minister said that more than 8,000 complaints have been received regarding the counterfeit versions of the PM Cares Fund. The state-sponsored cyber-attacks from the countries like Pakistan and China have also been increased as the tensions on the borders have augmented.

Cyber-attacks are and have been the problem of India even before the Covid-19 lockdown. India is considered one of the top five most targeted countries. In recent years, the number of internet users in India has increased in large numbers. But the quick explosion of Internet users has also left the public and private zones of India exposed to cyber-attacks. The strategy to reduce the risk of cyber-attacks is by getting ‘domain knowledge’ and providing user-friendly cyber policy along with executing secure setups.

Everybody can keep themselves safe from such cyber frauds and the attacks. Few moments of diligence while using the internet can make a difference. We can check the details of the Application on the Play Store before downloading it and we shall install it from the trusted sources only. We shall avoid the applications downloading from third-party sources. By installing antivirus and antimalware applications, we can secure our system from malicious apps, websites, and links. We shall avoid opening unknown Email attachments. We shall pay attention to where we share our personal details to avoid getting tricked into the frauds. If anyone falls for the trap of cyber fraud, that person shall lodge a complaint on Cyber Crime Portal or nearby Police Station without wasting the time.


Adv. Chinmay Kalyani is a practising Advocate in Bombay High Court.

You can contact them at https://www.linkedin.com/in/chinmaykalyani

Edited by: Arushi Gupta

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