Even as Google launched DigiKavach, a program to fight financial fraud and scams last month, the tech major is also directing its research to empower its users with a digital vaccine of sorts to fight against harm on the Internet.

Speaking to businessline, Saikat Mitra, Vice-President, Trust and Safety, Google Asia Pacific, said Google sees safety on the Internet to be a highly integral ingredient for user retention on its platform. 

For that purpose, “ we are doing research in this space to create a digital vaccine of sorts, that triggers an antibody reaction, when an event of cyberthreat occurs, empowering users to take the right steps to protect themselves”, Mitra explained. 

Google also hopes to empower the industry as a whole. “The second part we are thinking is that when we protect harm in our platform, the bad actors tend to migrate to other platforms. So, we are thinking of sharing our knowledge with the industry, so that the stance of the industry overall is the collective safety of the Internet,” Mitra added.

Mitra added that safety on the Internet becomes especially important, as India reaches an inflection point when it comes to the number of users online. “Number of users online will be close to a billion in India in the next few years. These new users are coming from all parts of the country, the hinterlands, different strata of society. They are excited about the opportunities online and they are learning how to stay safe.” In these circumstances, online safety becomes really important for user retention, according to Mitra. 

Ransomware attacks

According to a report by TrendMicro in October, India recorded the highest number of ransomware incidents in South Asia, in the first half of 2023. Malware is the most common type of cyber attack for the online population.  It is a type of malicious software that is designed to infiltrate a device without the user’s knowledge and cause damage or disruption to the system, or steal data. Malware can be caused by clicking on a dodgy link, downloading an unreliable app or visiting unreliable sites.