Bangladesh is at serious risk of cyber crimes

Shrabani Paul

People in Bangladesh, from every sector, have poor or no concern about how their information is spread online, and on the protection of personal information -- which is why cyber-crime in Bangladesh is increasing rapidly. There is seemingly little interest amongst the general population to find out about this virus, and they have no idea on how to protect themselves against it. Unfortunately, cyber criminals have used this to their advantage and are seeking to exploit those fears and uncertainty for financial gain. Cyber criminals use phishing, smishing, and fraudulent websites to seize personal information or gain access to an organization’s computer system in search of valuable business and financial information. The emails and messages seem to be from an authentic source; in fact, imposters present themselves as genuine. Phishing, "smishing," malware, and insider threat have been identified as the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth biggest cyber threats respectively according to a report of the state-run Bangladesh e-Government Computer Incident Response Team (BGD e-Gov CIRT). Spam has been identified as Bangladesh's biggest carrier of cyber threat in the year 2021. In September 2021, the average daily spam volume was around 210.54 billion globally, which corresponds to around 84.83% of the total daily email volume. Bangladesh ranked 18 among the spam sources by country, and accounts for 7.2% of the world's spam volume. Spam is an unsolicited email, most often sent in bulk, and it is one of the most prevalent and persistent cyber threats in the world. Furthermore, from the BGD e-Gov CIRT record, Bangladesh ranked 29th among the spam sources by country, and also accounts for 7.1% of the world's spam volume. In this report, it also mentioned that not only spam but also phishing and ransomware are the most frequently encountered cyber threats in Bangladesh, having the most significant impact. Identity theft, web-based attacks, data breach, and denial of service are also among the top 10 biggest cyber threats in Bangladesh. There is also a kind of software called ransomware. This is a malicious software which either encrypts files or locks the home screen to demand indemnity from victims to access the files and device. In the BGD e-Gov CIRT report, ransomware has been marked as the first biggest risk, the demand for which has doubled in 2021. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, spamming and phishing, in the overall Bangladesh cyber threat landscape, has become significantly bigger threats. The report further added that the cyber threat landscape in Bangladesh follows the global threat landscape, and changes in the ranking are due to spam, phishing, and ransomware climbing to higher positions, web application attacks going down, and inevitably leading to changes in ranking to other threats, as per the report. Our government has been working towards the betterment of the cyber world, by enacting laws and regulations as well as cyber tribunal as the initial steps. But the question is: Are these steps working? In this digital world, the use of technology and media is prevalent in every field. For the safe usage, government is enacting legislations such as the “Cyber Tribunal Act, 2006, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Act, 2006.” Although the “Digital Security Act, 2018 (DSA)” covers many of the legal aspects to prosecute cyber-crime, it has not been effectively implemented since its ratification. On the other hand, the authorities are trying their best to ensure users’ safety in the cyber world. These legislations help prevent crimes on platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp, and remove irrelevant news. In addition, Cyber Tribunal are using these laws and taking rapid steps to punish the accused. It’s important to note, however, that while the government is working on the issue, citizens continue to be impacted negatively. If we look closer, our legislations are weak in the context of today's world. The punishments and fines for cyber crimes are also minimal; hence, criminals are hardly discouraged from committing further crimes. Most importantly, due to weak legislation, citizens are losing hope in the idea of justice. Moreover, lack of awareness is also an issue. The legislations and laws have not reached the masses yet, especially those who live in rural areas. Due to this lack of awareness, they suffer through regular acts of cyber crime. The government should work to spread the word on these laws, otherwise they will be of no use. Everyone has to acknowledge the current laws in order for them to work. The government is working really hard on the proper enactment of the legislations, but I believe that only passing new laws is not enough. Apart from introducing new laws and provisions, it is important we train our police, judges, and advocates about the cyber world. It’ll help us implement cyber laws properly, and ensure qualified resources to fight against cyber criminals.

(Courtesy dhaka tribune)