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DGFT issues trade advisory for Indian exporters to prevent cyber attacks, fraud activities

DGFT communication also informed that such problems can be largely resolved by implementing security protocols and better email password practices

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To protect Indian exporters from the cyber-attacks and fraud activities, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has issued a trade advisory. It has also suggested the exporters to follow better password practices.

The issued advisory to all the export promotion councils, members of trade and regional authorities of DGFT, communicated that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has informed that email spoofing/phishing cyber frauds are causing increased bilateral trade disputes. 

“Though this is registered as cybercrime in the respective jurisdictions of the country, the authorities cannot do much to reverse the transaction. And the victims end up being Indian exporters who, having supplied the goods, neither have the goods in their possession nor have received the payment,” stated the advisory.

The DGFT communication also informed that such problems can be largely resolved by implementing security protocols such as Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC). SPF, DKIM and DMARC are protocols for standard email signatures, which meet various safety issues, and all three must be implemented in order to ensure the best possible deliverability.

It has also suggested that the better password practices should be followed on both the senders’ and receivers’ email IDs to avoid this completely, and exporters should confirm their bank details by another channel such as secure voice line. Export Promotion Councils/Traders are also advised to take all precautionary measures to protect their payments from cyber frauds.

“Cyber attacks and cybercrimes are very common and organisations have to take all possible measures to augment their cyber security measures to protect their IT Systems. Pharma companies are no exception and all leading companies have taken adequate measures. However, the trade advisory is excellent in terms of further fortification of export receivables,” mentioned, Dr Dinesh Dua, Chairman, Pharmexcil.

Naga Prasad Vaitla, Former CIO, Granules India confirmed that in the last few months the cyber attacks in the pharma industry have increased. He suggested, “The first and foremost thing which pharma companies need to look into is to see how intact is their Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is because nobody can stop cyberattacks from happening, but it can be prevented by putting the firewalls in place. If we put them in our business plan, then back to business activities would be very short in such cyber attacks.”

He further emphasised on a point that whenever such pandemic comes people who are involved in those lines of businesses, are likely to witness such attacks as it is mainly to obtain the data for the ransom attack purpose. It is also noteworthy to observe that it usually doesn’t happen with the first generation company, who are probably nothing to do with the pandemic but still as a measure each company should focus on designing the BCP to prevent themselves from such attacks.

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