Terrorist organizations are using crypto platforms, metaverses, the Dark Web, and other digital avenues to move money from drugs into terror funding, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned in an interview.
According to estimates of the World Bank, cyberattacks have incurred losses of around $5.2 trillion globally from 2019 to 2023. What’s more, they impact many other activities that are just as concerning.
Modi added cybercrime can have social implications. The dissemination of fake news can take away media credibility and ultimately culminate in chaos. Fake news and so-called deep fakes can serve as tools of social unrest.
India hosted a G20 Conference on Crime and Security in Gurugram this summer, at which topics like the metaverse, AI, and NFTs were discussed. Participants expressed concern over illicit cyber activity contrary to cyberspace rules, principles, and norms.
Coordination on prevention needed
Conference participants underscored the need for coordination on prevention and mitigation strategies and the need to reach complex international agreements on countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal aims.
While global cooperation is desirable in some areas, it is “inevitable” in the domain of cyber security. Modi explained why:
Because the threat dynamics are distributed – handlers are somewhere, assets are somewhere else, they are speaking through servers hosted in a third place, and their funding could come from a completely different region. Unless all the nations in the chain cooperate, very little is possible.
Speaking at the G20 conference, Indian Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah warned that global security issues have evolved from “hawala to cryptocurrency” and from “dynamite to metaverse.” He called on G20 member states to start sharing information about cyberspace crime in real time.
Shah emphasized the threats stemming from cybercrime that involve use of the metaverse, the Dark Web, ransomware, deep fakes, and toolkit-based misinformation campaigns as well as strategic targeting of financial systems and critical data.