ET Financial Inclusion Summit: United, we can fight the cyber enemy – Economic Times

With a rise in cyber frauds over the past year and a half, collaboration is the way forward to stay a step ahead of fraudsters, top banks and payment operators said at the ET Financial Inclusion Summit.

“While the digital segment has grown multifold it’s become easier for fraudsters to take advantage of lack of less tech-savvy consumers; for us it’s a fine balance between creating a great user experience versus compliance and authentication,” Madhivanan Balakrishnan, COO, IDFC FIRST Bank. Senior leaders engaged in the cyber security space also felt that it was tough to stay ahead of fraudsters as frauds have become more sophisticated.

“We have accelerated growth of ecommerce by 3-5 years which has meant consumers and merchants have gone online, which provides an opportunity to fraudsters,” said Karthik Ramanathan, senior VP, cyber and intelligence solutions, Asia Pacific, Mastercard.


As per the an RBI annual report, in the fiscal year gone by, banks reported 2,545 cases of frauds amounting to `119 crore done through online channels and card networks. This was 35% of the frauds done last year in number terms, and would have been higher if frauds via other channels and UPI platforms were included.

“Bottom of the pyramid, financially gullible and the elderly are easily defrauded by telemarketing; people are easily sharing OTPs on the phone and bad merchants have come into the system as well..,” said Vishwas Patel (executive director, Infibeam Avenues & chairman, Payments Council of India).

Patel added that it was high time the entire sector came together to black list such fraudsters. “We are also creating a common platform to share intel of different kinds of frauds being perpetrated,” Patel said. “Every member will have to share their negative database to get access to such a list. There are also plans to issue authenticity certificates to merchants.”

Rohit Mahajan, president, risk advisory, Deloitte, felt that the pace of technology upgradation and investments made to keep systems secure have been more reactive and that is something that companies should change. “The pandemic has compounded the risk of cyber threat and we are seeing that organisations are moving to cloud security…We are seeing sensitive data being exchanged digitally along with use of personal devices in home networks. With workforces more distributed and distracted this is a great recipe for cyber attackers,” said Mahajan.

Madhivanan of IDFC FIRST Bank added that private lender was investing in tech to secure all its front-end offerings. “How do you educate your people, how do you wire your systems and how do policies evolve are the three main things for robust cyber security.”

Mastercard is investing in AI and machine learning to keep frauds at bay, Ramanathan said. “The risk of an enterprise is the sum total of people they work with and this becomes more critical in the work from home environment,” he said.

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