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Cyber security firms eye India as attacks on world's IT hub rise


(Reuters) — Global cyber security company TaaSera launched its India business on Thursday, joining a growing number of cyber security firms eyeing India as a growth frontier amid an expected doubling of online crime in the country.

Silicon Valley-based TaaSera said India, host to some of the world’s biggest IT service companies, was vulnerable to cybercrimes on account of its growing economic progress.

Increasing smartphone use, online transactions and the government’s “Digital India” initiative are opening up opportunities in an industry that is worth $77 billion globally.

The number of cyber crimes in India may reach 300,000 in 2015, almost double the level of last year, according to an ASSOCHAM-Mahindra SSG study conducted this year.

That compares better than the number of reported instances in developed nations.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P. study of 2014 said the average number of security incidents detected in each of the 500 organizations they surveyed in 2013 was about 135 per organization.

However, industry experts say the number of crimes reported in India is not a good measure for comparison, given the absence of disclosure laws.

“The point is India does not have public disclosure as law, unlike in the United States and many parts of the western world,” said Ranndeep Chonker, director of global solutions at FireEye.

“A lot of information about such breaches gets swept under the carpet.”

U.S.-based FireEye Inc., which works with both the government and companies, said it was on track to spend $50 million on its India R&D center for the five years to 2018.

“The amount of breaches in the western world is maybe two times, or three times, of that in India. But India is the IT back office of the world. If that image suffers, of our capabilities of IT and ITES, there’s a lot to lose,” Mr. Chonker said.

The global IT security market is estimated to be worth $77 billion in 2015 and growing at more than 8% annually, according to Indian industry body NASSCOM.

The group recently tied up with security company Symantec Corp. to train Indians to deal with cyber threats. They want to increase the number of trained cyber security professionals in the country to a million from 63,200.

“The threats today are not national, they are global,” said TaaSera CEO C. Scott-Hartz.

“There are attacks coming from all over the world but there are particularly significant financial attacks coming out of Russia. Significant attacks on government facilities coming out of China. That is true for both of our countries,” he said, referring to the United States and India.

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