Digital payment fraud

The growing web of digital payment frauds

by | Feb 17, 2021 | IT Security

As consumers are rapidly shifting to online payments due to COVID-19, the risks around digital payment frauds have also increased and need a strategic prevention approach.
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The rapid maturing of digital technologies and contactless payments have made lives of businesses and consumers easier. During the pandemic-stricken, confined ecosystem, enterprises quickly moved to digital and incorporated new digital payment and supply chain models. Consumers were also quick to shift to new behavior patterns and replaced in-store shopping with online shopping. Along with merchants and consumers, cybercriminals switched to new ways as well to expand their malevolent and fraud activities.

The upsurge in the online ecosystem is likely to create a brand new generation of digital customers in 2021. As digital experiences continue to become mainstream, cybercriminals are sensing an unprecedented opportunity to use new tricks and technologies to weave a deep fraud web around the gullible people and vulnerable IT networks.

Pandemic fueling fraud surge

By leveraging the latest technologies and network vulnerabilities, fraudsters explore new ways to target individuals and enterprises who lack adequate knowledge or cybersecurity tools to defend themselves.

Consider some statistics to understand the gravity of the situation: India witnessed over 2.9 lakhs cybersecurity incidents related to digital banking in 2020 (Source: CERT-In); a few months back, grocery delivery major Bigbasket faced a data breach, revealing data of 2 crores of its registered users; according to various industry reports, data breaches cost Indian firms Rs 15 crores yearly on average; FICO, a US analytics company revealed that four in five Asian banks are losing money to fraud as real-time payments rise.

The above data is just the tip of the iceberg. With the pandemic as a backdrop, digital payment frauds can upsurge even further.

Unified Payment Interface (UPI) emerged as one of the easiest ways to transfer money through Google Pay, Paytm, PhonePe, Freecharge, and others. This trend, however, also gave birth to various frauds associated with UPI payments.

The situation’s enormity can be fathomable as fraudsters didn’t even spare the Delhi chief minister’s daughter, as reported by various media outlets recently. She recently fell victim to an online payments scam while selling a piece of old furniture on an e-commerce platform. Last year, an Indian Air Force officer too fell prey to one such scam. The UPI-related frauds are even more concerning as India target massive uptake of digital transactions in the next few years, up from the current 46 billion.

There are also instances where users have fallen victim to fake shopping websites and transferring money by relying on unauthorized payment links received through SMS.

In one of the advisories issued in 2019, the Reserve Bank of India had warned all banks to take robust measures to prevent digital banking frauds that can wipe out the entire balance of a customer using UPI technology. With the more users connected to the mobile and the internet, such incidents are ordained to increase.

AI, ML, and user awareness

It is reasonable that most new customers moving to digital payments lack the knowledge and can be tricked by fraudsters to make security mistakes or provide sensitive information about their accounts. It becomes essential for enterprises and banks to take the necessary steps to combat digital payment frauds in such a scenario. (See: AI in banking now geared for a takeoff)

Enterprises and banks overhauling their payment and customer interface mechanisms by integrating digital pieces need to embed technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide a secure and frictionless payment experience to customers.

By leveraging AI and ML algorithms’ competencies, the network can flag anomalies and derive a risk pattern, approving or declining a payment. In the year ahead, AI-enabled virtual chatbots will also play a pivotal role in enhancing user awareness and answer all payment-related queries. Enterprises are also testing predictive and prescriptive analysis to identify fraud in digital payment transactions.

There is a strong need for the industry to come together and make appropriate investments in next-generation security frameworks, real-time fraud monitoring solutions, and knowledge sharing programs to outsmart cybercriminals and strengthen consumers’ confidence in digital payments.

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Tata Motors delivers 40 electric buses to J&K

Tata Motors delivers 40 electric buses to J&K

40 Tata electric buses for J&K

Tata Motors has installed charging stations for fast charging of buses.

Tata Motors said it has supplied 40 9m 900mm Floor Height Non AC buses to the Jammu & Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation. Governor Satya Pal Malik flagged off the buses in the presence of Arvind Ganpat Sawant, Union Minister for Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises and officials from Jammu & Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) and Tata Motors at an event held in the city. Some of these buses are plying on the difficult terrains of the Jammu to Katra (Vaishno Devi) route and these electric buses will also ply in the valleys of Srinagar.

Manufactured at Tata Motors Dharwad plant, the Ultra Electric buses will have a traveling range of up to 150 kilometers on a single charge. The indigenously developed e-buses offer superior design and best-in-class features. The Li-ion batteries have been placed on the rooftop to prevent breakdown due to waterlogging. The batteries are liquid cooled to maintain the temperature within an optimum range and ensure longer life along with better performance in tropical conditions.

Speaking on the occasion, Rohit Srivastava, Vice President and Product Line Head – Passenger Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors, said, “With growing environmental concerns, electric bus will be extremely vital for mass transit because it is not only energy efficient but also reduces overall cost per kms. Tata Motors has always been at the forefront of the E-mobility evolution and this order from JKSRTC is a testament of our excellent range of buses built for STUs in India. Our in-depth understanding of sustainable public transport for different markets and customers has helped us differentiate from our competitors. The electric buses will play an integral role in reduction of pollution load in the congested areas of our metropolis. We are determined to develop alternate fuel technologies and create more energy efficient vehicles thereby supporting the government’s efforts towards promoting electric vehicles in the country.”

Dr. A.K. Jindal, Head Engineering (Electric & Defence), CVBU, Tata Motors said, “Tata Motors has been engaging in advanced engineering and development of electric traction system for Hybrid as well as Pure Electric vehicles for over a decade. The Ultra Electric Bus is a new modular platform, which has been developed in a very short lead-time of less than a year, leveraging the knowledge and experience we have gained and demonstrating our commitment to the Government of India’s National Electric Mobility Mission Plan for Public Transport. The architecture of the platform has been conceived and developed by in-house engineering team of Tata Motors, meeting the requirement of various tenders floated by different state transport undertakings. The exterior has been designed with new brand identity that includes stylized Ultra headlamps and streamlined looks. The vehicle architecture ensures very low energy consumption and low TCO (total cost of operation) apart from being a Zero Emission environment friendly bus.”

The new-age Ultra Electric buses, powered by an Integrated Electric Motor Generator are built on existing proven platforms of Starbus and Ultra. With a max power of 245KW and continuous power of 145KW, the buses have a seating capacity of 31 + 1D seats. The buses will help in zero tailpipe emissions, 50% lower fuel costs, 20% better energy consumption and lower maintenance downtime as compared to diesel buses. As an industry first, there will be air suspension for both front and rear axles to make travel more comfortable for the commuters. Integrated electric motor generator with a peak power of 333HP can deliver 197HP continuously ensuring effortless driving in congested roads and frequent start stops needing no shifting of gears.

Commenting on the occasion, Bilal Ahmed Bhatt, Managing director, JKSRTC said, “The need for a cleaner, smarter and safer mode of transportation is a prerequisite for Jammu and Kashmir, due to the alarming rise of air pollution in the city. Tata Motors has pioneered technological innovations in the bus segment with an in-depth understanding of different market conditions, making it a perfect fit for us. Tata Motors will be delivering 40 e-buses, which will soon ply on the roads of Jammu and Kashmir. We look forward to continue this association.”

The critical electrical traction components have been sourced from internationally known best-in-class suppliers in USA, Germany and China offering proven products. The buses have been tested and validated by Tata Motors across states including Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Assam and Maharashtra to establish performance in diverse terrains. The company has tenders to supply 255 electric buses to six public transport undertakings including WBTC (West Bengal), LCTSL (Lucknow), AICTSL (Indore), ASTC (Guwahati), JKSRTC (Jammu) and JCTSL (Jaipur). In addition to this, the company is also working on developing its electric mini-bus segment in the near future.

India has schemes to push organic farming

India has schemes to push organic farming

Realizing the potential and benefits of organic farming and to improve the economic condition of farmers in the country, Government of India is promoting organic farming through the dedicated schemes of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER) under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) since 2015-16. Under PKVY, flexibility is given to states to adopt any model of Organic Farming including ZBNF depending on farmer’s choice that is free from chemicals, pesticides residues and adopts eco-friendly low cost technologies.

Under PKVY, assistance of Rs. 50,000 per hectare/ 3 years is allowed out of which Rs. 31,000 (61%) is provided to farmer directly through DBT for input (biofertilisers, biopesticides, vermicompost, botanical extracts etc) production/ procurement, packing, marketing etc.

Under MOVCDNER , assistance is provided to the farmers in a value chain mode starting from formation of Farmers Producer Organisations (FPOs), on/off farm input production, supply of seeds/ planting materials, post harvest infrastructure including collection, sorting, grading facilities, establishment of integrated processing unit, refrigerated transportation, pre-cooling/ cold stores chamber, branding, labelling and packaging, etc .

These schemes are implemented through State Governments at district and village level depending on the interest of the farmers. PKVY scheme is being implemented in 29 States & UTs and MOVCDNER scheme is implemented in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura since 2015-16.

This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar in Lok Sabha today.

River Water disputes Bill gets cabinet nod

River Water disputes Bill gets cabinet nod

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Inter-State River Water disputes(Amendment) Bill, 2019 for adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter-State rivers and river valley thereof, says a Press Information Bureau release.

This will further streamline the adjudication of inter-State river water disputes. The Bill seeks to amend the Inter State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 with a view to streamline the adjudication of inter-state river water disputes and make the present institutional architecture robust.

Constitution of a single tribunal with different benches along with fixation of strict timelines for adjudication will result expeditious resolution of disputes relating to inter-state rivers. The amendments in the Bill will speed up the adjudication of water disputes referred to it.

When any request under the Act is received from any State Government in respect of any water dispute on the inter-State rivers and the Central government is of the opinion that the water dispute cannot be settled by negotiations, the Central Government constitutes a Water Disputes Tribunal for the adjudication of the water dispute.

Blended fuel options in place, says govt.

Blended fuel options in place, says govt.

The Government vide, G.S.R 490(E) dated 24.05.2018 has notified mass emission standards for flex-fuel Methanol M15 or M100 and Methanol MD 95 vehicles. M-15 is a blend of 15 % methanol and 85 % Gasoline. Use of blended fuel M-15 in BS-IV cars can result in lowering down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about 5 to 10 percent thereby improving air quality. M-15 fuel blending is available as an option and there is no proposal to make such blending mandatory in the near future.

This information was given by the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin J Gadkari in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

News source: Press Information Bureau.

Andhra’s Polavaram project gets Extension

Andhra’s Polavaram project gets Extension

In a major decision, the Union Environment Ministry has today given two years of extension and allowed the construction works related to Polavaram Multipurpose Project. Informing the media in New Delhi the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said that today the order has been signed and ministry has allowed the construction works for two years.

The Union Minister stressed that Polavaram project is very important to the people of Andhra Pradesh as it will irrigate nearly 3 lakh ha of land, generate hydel power with installed capacity of 960 MW and provide drinking water facilities to 540 enroute villages covering 25 lakh populations, particularly in Visakhapatnam, East Godavari and West Godavari and Krishna Districts.

In the year 2011 the then government had asked the Government of Andhra Pradesh to stop construction work of the project but in the year 2014 the NDA government declared the Polavaram project a National project and the ministry kept the “Stop Work Order” in abeyance to allow the construction works. The “Stop Work Order” has been kept in abeyance six times for a year each time. Considering the immense importance of the project this time the Ministry is keeping the “Stop Work Order” in abeyance to allow the construction works for two years without permission to impound water.

The Project envisages construction of Earth-cum-Rock fill dam across river Godavari. The maximum height of the dam is 48 m.

News Source: Press Information Bureau.

Image By IM3847Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Body to resolve disputes between REs, PSUs

Body to resolve disputes between REs, PSUs

In a major decision to facilitate the solar and wind energy projects, Union Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy (IC) and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, RK Singh, has approved the formation of a three member Dispute Resolution Committee to consider the unforeseen disputes between solar/wind power developers and PSUs Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) beyond contractual agreement.

The Members of Dispute Resolution Committee under this mechanism will be MF Farooqui (former DOT Secretary/ Heavy Industry Secretary); Anil Swarup (former Coal Secretary); and AK Dubey (former Sports Secretary), as per a Press Information Bureau release .

Union Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy (IC) and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, RK Singh. Source: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy

In an earlier statement, emphasizing the importance of this step, Singh had said that the move would give further fillip to the smooth implementation of solar/wind energy projects in India. It fulfills a long pending demand of the industry to resolve expeditiously, unforeseen disputes that may arise beyond the scope of Contractual Agreements.

The Solar and Wind Industry have been demanding setting up of Dispute Resolution Mechanism by MNRE for quite some time, to resolve expeditiously, unforeseen disputes that may arise beyond the scope of Contractual Agreements between solar power developers / wind power developers and SECI/ NTPC.

The issue was considered and it was felt that there is need to erect a transparent, unbiased Dispute Resolution Mechanism, consisting of an independent, transparent and unbiased Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC), for resolving the unforeseen disputes that may arise in implementation of contractual agreements and also for dealing with issues which are beyond the scope of Contractual Agreements between solar power developers/ wind power developers and SECI / NTPC.

The mechanism of Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) will be applicable for all solar/ wind Schemes/ Programmes/ Projects being implemented through/ by SECI/ NTPC.

The DRC will consider following kinds of cases:

(a) All cases of appeal against decisions given by SECI on Extension of Time requests based on terms of contract: All requests for extension of time due to recognized ‘Force Majeure’ events like flood, earthquake, delay in handing over of land by Solar Park Developers, delay in connectivity, etc. will be dealt strictly as per Contractual Agreements. In all such cases, the solar power developers / wind power developers shall make an application for grant of Extension of Time (EoT) within the time specified in the Contractual Agreement. If application is not made within the time limit prescribed in the Contractual Agreement, it shall be summarily rejected by SECI/ NTPC. If application is made within the time limit, the request will be examined and final decision given to solar power developer/ wind power developer within 21 days from the date of application. No separate extension of time shall be granted for overlapping periods of effect by two or more causes. If the developer is not satisfied with the decision of SECI/ NTPC, then it may appeal to the Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC), within 21 days of SECI/NTPC’s order after paying a fee, to be decided by the DRC, which in any case shall not be less than 5% of the impact of SECI’s/NTPC’s decision being challenged. This fee shall be deposited into the Payment Security Fund maintained by SECI/ NTPC for the project concerned. In case, the Government upholds the appeal in toto, after taking into consideration the recommendation of DRC, and strikes down the SECI order, then the fee so collected shall be refunded, provided the DRC makes a recommendation for the same and the Government passes a specific order to that effect. The Fee which may be received and is not required to be refunded, shall be credited to the appropriate Payment Security Fund being maintained by SECI/NTPC.

(b) All requests of Extension of Time not covered under the terms of contract: All cases involving unforeseen issues/ circumstances not covered under Contractual Agreements like cases where the site is to be procured by the developer but there is delay in land allotment due to policy change or registration by the Government, delays in grant of proposed connectivity due to court stays, etc., will be placed before the DRC for consideration and make recommendations to Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) for appropriate decision.

The ‘Dispute Resolution Committee’ (DRC) will examine all such cases referred to it, including the cases where the developer is not satisfied with the decision of SECI/NTPC and it decides to appeal after paying the required fee as laid down under Para (ii) (a) above, in a time bound manner and submit its recommendations to the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE), not later than 21 days from the date of reference.

The recommendations of the ‘Dispute Resolution Committee’ (DRC) along with MNRE’s observations, will be placed before Minister (NRE) for final decision. The Ministry shall examine and put up such recommendations to Minister (NRE) with the comments of IFD within 21 days of receipt of recommendation from the DRC.

To arrive at any decision, Committee will be free to interact with the relevant parties of the case and shall record their views. For presenting the case before the DRC, no lawyers shall be permitted.

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