The digital world has brought numerous advancements and conveniences into our lives, but it has also created new challenges and risks, particularly in terms of data security and privacy. In India, the growing use of digital technologies and the increasing number of cybercrime incidents have led to a higher demand for digital forensics services. Digital forensics is the application of scientific methods and techniques to preserve, collect, examine, and analyse electronic data for legal or investigative purposes. It plays a critical role in addressing the challenges posed by the digital world, including data recovery from mobile devices, assisting in litigation cases, and investigating cybercrime. In this blog, we will delve into the key statistics and information related to digital forensics in India, exploring the growth of the market, the importance of incident response, the rising number of cybercrime cases, the growing demand for e-discovery services, and the significance of mobile forensics, among other topics.
The digital forensics market in India is expected to see substantial growth in the coming years. A report by Expert Market Research Insights predicts a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.95% from 2023-2028 for the market. And Asia-Pacific is growing at the highest CAGR over 2020-2027. This growth is driven by several factors, including the increasing number of cybercrime cases, the growing demand for e-discovery services, and the increasing use of mobile devices. The digital forensics market is not limited to India and is growing globally, with a projected global market size of 20.29 billion by 2027, according to a report by Expert Market Research Insights. Businesses providing digital forensics services, including IT consulting firms, cybersecurity companies, and digital forensics specialists, have a significant opportunity in the growing market. The Indian government and private sector organisations are investing in digital forensics, including the development of new technologies and training programs, which are expected to drive market growth. The increasing demand for digital forensics services from both the public and private sector organisations is also expected to drive the market’s growth. The digital forensics market in India is highly competitive, with a large number of domestic and international companies operating in the market, offering a wide range of digital forensics services.
Incident response is a critical component of digital forensics, particularly in the context of cybersecurity incidents. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) reported 13,91,457 cyber security incidents in 2022, while 14.02 lakh cybersecurity incidents were reported in 2021. AIIMS Delhi is one such example, where five servers were impacted and around 1.3TB of data was encrypted, which was a result of improper network segmentation, and the actors behind this attack are not known to date. This highlights the growing need for digital forensics in incident response in India. Digital forensics plays a crucial role in helping organisations respond to cyberattacks and prevent data loss. It enables organisations to understand the cause of an attack, determine the extent of the damage, and take steps to prevent future incidents. By providing a systematic and thorough approach to incident response, digital forensics can help organisations minimise the impact of a cyberattack and restore normal operations as quickly as possible.
The increasing number of cybercrime cases in India highlights the growing need for digital forensics to investigate and prosecute these crimes. A total of 2,08,456 cyber-related crimes were reported in 2018. In the first two months of 2022, 2,12,485 cybercrimes were reported, which is more than the entire year of 2018. This rapid increase in cybercrime cases demonstrates the need for advanced digital forensics tools and techniques to effectively investigate and prosecute these crimes. Digital forensics plays a crucial role in gathering and analysing digital evidence, which is often critical to solving cybercrime cases. By providing a systematic and scientific approach to digital investigations, digital forensics helps law enforcement agencies build strong cases and bring cybercriminals to justice. Additionally, the growing use of technology and the increasing reliance on digital data have created new types of cybercrime, further emphasising the need for digital forensics in India.
Hacks have also increased in recent years. In 2018, 17, 560 Indian websites were hacked. In 2020, 26,121 websites were hacked.
An estimated 78% of Indian organisations experienced a ransomware attack in 2021, and 80% of those attacks resulted in encrypting data. This compares to an average attack percentage and encryption rate of 66% and 65%, respectively.
The growth of electronic communication and data storage has led to an increased demand for e-discovery services in India. E-discovery is the process of collecting, processing, reviewing, and producing electronically stored information (ESI) in response to a legal request or in support of litigation. Digital forensics plays a crucial role in e-discovery, as it helps organisations recover and analyse electronic data in litigation cases. This includes data from various sources, such as email, documents, databases, and mobile devices. Digital forensics provides a systematic and scientifically sound approach to e-discovery, ensuring that electronic data is collected and analysed in a manner that meets legal standards and protects its integrity. The growing use of technology and the increasing reliance on digital data have created new challenges in e-discovery, further emphasising the need for digital forensics in India. Organisations providing e-discovery services must ensure that they have the necessary expertise and tools to effectively manage electronic data, which requires a deep understanding of digital forensics techniques and best practices.
Mobile Device Forensics
The use of mobile devices has rapidly increased in India, leading to a corresponding increase in the need for mobile forensics. Mobile forensics is a specialised branch of digital forensics that involves the recovery of data from mobile devices and the analysis of that data for legal or investigatory purposes. This includes data from smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Mobile forensics is essential in a variety of contexts, including criminal investigations, litigation cases, and internal corporate investigations. The data recovered from mobile devices can provide valuable evidence in a wide range of cases, including cybercrime, fraud, cryptocurrency and intellectual property disputes. The rapid growth of the mobile device market in India has created new challenges for digital forensics practitioners, as they must stay current with the latest technologies and techniques to effectively recover data from these devices. As such, mobile forensics requires a deep understanding of digital forensics best practices and the ability to use advanced tools and techniques to recover data from these devices.
The Indian government has taken various initiatives to strengthen the country’s digital forensics and cyber security infrastructure and address the challenges posed by the digital world. These initiatives demonstrate the government’s commitment to To deal with cybercrimes in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. This includes the following:
i. The Ministry of Home Affairs has set up the ‘Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C)’ to deal with all types of cyber crime in the country, in a coordinated and comprehensive manner.
ii. The state of the art National Cyber Forensic Laboratory has been established, as a part of the I4C, at CyPAD, Dwarka, New Delhi to provide early stage cyber forensic assistance to Investigating Officers (IOs) of State/UT Police.
iii. The Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) platform, namely ‘CyTrain’ portal has been developed under the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), for capacity building of police officers/judicial officers through online course on critical aspects of cyber crime investigation, forensics, prosecution etc. along with certification. More than 12,500 Police Officers from States/UTs are registered and more than 3,050 Certificates issued through the portal.
iv. The National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (www.cybercrime.gov.in) has been launched, as a part of the I4C, to enable the public to report incidents pertaining to all types of cyber crimes, with special focus on cyber crimes against women and children. Cyber crime incidents reported on this portal, their conversion into FIRs and subsequent action thereon are handled by the State/UT Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) concerned as per the provisions of the law.
v. The Citizen Financial Cyber Fraud Reporting and Management System, under I4C, has been launched for immediate reporting of financial frauds and to stop siphoning off funds by the fraudsters.
vi. Seven Joint Cyber Coordination Teams have been constituted under I4C covering the whole country based upon cyber crime hotspots/ areas having multi jurisdictional issues by onboarding States/UTs to enhance the coordination framework among the LEAs of the States/UTs.
vii. To address the issue of jurisdictional complexity based on hotspots and areas for cybercrime, the I4C has established “Joint Cyber Coordination Teams” in Mewat, Jamtara, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Visakhapatnam, and Guwahati.
viii. The Ministry of Home Affairs has provided central assistance under the ‘Assistance to States for Modernization of Police’ Scheme to the State Governments for the acquisition of latest weaponry, training gadgets, advanced communication/forensic equipment, Cyber Policing equipment etc. The State Governments formulate State Action Plans (SAPs) as per their strategic priorities and requirements including combating cyber crimes. An amount of Rs.1653.20 crore has been released as Central financial assistance under this scheme during the last three financial years (2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21).
ix. Ministry of Home Affairs has provided financial assistance to the tune of Rs. 99.89 crore under Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) Scheme to the States/UTs for setting up of cyber forensic-cum-training laboratories, hiring of junior cyber consultants and capacity building of Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), public prosecutors and judicial officers. Details of funds released to States/UTs upto March, 2022 under CCPWC Scheme is at Annexure. Additional funds are released to the States/UTs on demand basis and Utilisation Certificate furnished. Cyber forensic-cum-training laboratories have been commissioned in 28 States/UTs, namely Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Odisha, Sikkim, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Dadra and Nagar Haveli & Daman and Diu, Punjab, Assam, Tripura, Puducherry, J&K, Chandigarh, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
x. Training curriculum has been prepared for LEA personnel, Public Prosecutors and Judicial officers for better handling of investigation and prosecution. States/UTs have been requested to organise training programmes. More than 19,900 LEA personnel, Public Prosecutors and Judicial officers have been provided training on cyber crime awareness, investigation, forensics etc. under CCPWC Scheme.
xi. Cyber Forensics Lab at the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has been notified as an Examiner of Electronic Evidence in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 79A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and is equipped with tools to carry out analysis of digital evidences extracted from data storage and mobile devices. Cyber Forensics Lab is being utilised for analysis of cyber security incidents and supports LEAs in forensic analysis. CERT-In also imparts training to the LEAs through workshops.
In conclusion, the digital world is rapidly growing in India, and digital forensics and cyber security play a critical role in addressing the challenges posed by this growth. With the increasing number of cybercrime cases and the growing use of mobile devices, the demand for digital forensics services is on the rise. The Indian government has taken various initiatives to strengthen the country’s digital forensics and cyber security infrastructure and address the challenges posed by the digital world, demonstrating its commitment to ensuring the security of India’s digital infrastructure and protecting its citizens against cybercrime. The digital forensics market in India is expected to grow at a fast pace, with numerous government initiatives in place to strengthen this domain. Whether it’s in incident response, e-discovery, or mobile forensics, digital forensics will continue to play a critical role in addressing the challenges posed by the digital world in India.