Naavi Vijayashankar, cyber law expert, says such attacks work on the vulnerability of the victim. “We see many of these cases in India. Many of it is job-search related. The sort of attack that the journalist faced is called spear phishing, where a target individual is attacked. In this case, extensive research is done on the victim and they are sent emails that cater to their current needs,” he said.
Many of these attacks are launched from outside the nation with the intension of gaining personal data and/or money from the victim. Spear phishing works on searching up personal information so that a curated mail can be sent.
“There is no security software that can protect you directly from these attacks,” said cybersecurity expert KP Sai Vikram, founder of TheKATALYST. “These attacks are more common these days because there is a lack of awareness and patience on part of the users -- they click any link that pops up,” he said.
According to Vikram, south India is particularly vulnerable to attacks. “People from south India are typically targeted more than those in the north owing to the number of booming businesses and corporations investing in the south. The hackers simply follow the money,” he said. “Tracking the hackers down requires Indian police organisations to work with their foreign counterparts. If a traceable money transfer has taken place, it is easier to get a hold of the party. Otherwise, it can be very difficult. People need to be more aware of these attacks,” Vijayashankar said.