Fraudulent transactions and sexual exploitation were the most reported cyber crimes in India in 2017, according to the latest series of data revealed by the National Crime Records Bureau. According to the shared document, cyber frauds led the number of reported cyber crimes by a large margin, accounting for a total of 12,213 individual reports across all states and union territories in India. The second most individually reported cases of cyber crime came in the form of online sexual exploitation and harassment, which received 1,460 reports, as per India's official cyber crime records for 2017.
In terms of the topographic distribution of cyber crime reports, Uttar Pradesh has been accounted as the state that received the highest number of cyber crimes in 2017, with 4,971 reports originating in UP out of the 21,796 accounted cases of cyber crime. Maharashtra ranked the second highest in terms of the most affected states with 3,604 counts of reported online crime, while Karnataka ranked third with 3,174 cases. In the North-East, Assam recorded sharply higher number of cyber crimes in comparison to other states, with a total of 1,120 reported cases in 2017.
Sexual exploitation and personal revenge have been noted as the two most focused motives behind cyber attacks in Assam, throwing interesting insight into how the nature of cyber crime differs among states. Among the other most affected states, frauds and extortion were the biggest motives behind attacks in UP, while sexual exploits and frauds were the biggest causes of attacks in Maharashtra. Alongside the uniform aspect of frauds in each state, "causing disrepute" has been noted as the second most reported form of cyber attacks in Karnataka in 2017.
While the NCRB data provides interesting insight into how cyber crimes differ among different cities across India, it is important to note that these only account for the number of officially reported cases for the said year. When it comes to online crime, a large number of cases often go unreported due to a wide variety of reasons — lack of awareness among individuals, lack of awareness among lawkeepers, fear of online execution, media and social trials, and so on. The sector of cyber crime also remains largely unorganised in India, which further makes it difficult for cyber safety activists and lawkeepers to trace down.
That said, the emphasis and awareness on cyber crime and cyber security have significantly improved in recent times, with multiple organisations teaming up with awareness bodies and corporate firms to open people up to the perils of the internet. Being one of the largest economies in the world, and the fastest growing internet market globally, India has also been attracting a significantly higher frequency of cyber attacks of late, leading the government and cyber vigilance bodies to increase their efforts to protect individuals in the country. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how the data tallies with private organisations, as well as for 2018 and 2019.