India’s central bank tells digital wallets to avoid this app linked to compromising confidential user data

Reserve Bank of India offices in KolkataWikimedia

  • India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has issued a notice alerting online payment systems to be careful of an app called ‘AnyDesk’.

  • The app can allegedly access confidential user data to conduct fraudulent financial transactions through apps on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

  • 129 banks currently used UPI in India overseeing transactions amounting to ₹1 trillion.
As online transactions have boomed in India, so have the instances of financial fraud.

In its most recent notice India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has warned banks and payment system operators to be vary of an app called ‘AnyDesk’ that’s being used by fraudsters to gain access to confidential user data.

“An app code (nine-digit number) would be generated and once the fraudster inserts this code, he would ask the victim to grant permission. Post this, the fraudster will get full access to the victim’s device.”

RBI circular

The circular highlights how once ‘AnyDesk’ has the requisite permissions, the app allegedly uses its access the confidential data to carry out fraudulent transactions using apps that are based on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

India’s lax cybersecurity

Earlier this year, on January 10, the RBI issued a notice alerting developers of payments apps in India to introduce more stringent controls.


Even the National Payments Commision of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation that oversees all retail payments, issued a similar notice asking developers to be wary of what kind of data is being accessed on user’s devices.


Indian banks aren’t safe from the onslaught either. Cosmos bank, a Pune-based Indian bank, was robbed of ₹940 million because hackers were able to clone Visa and RuPay debit cards last year. The bank assured customers that the core banking system was safe and it was only the payments gateway that was hacked.

Cosmos Bank branch in Maharashtra

The use of digital wallets and online transactions have seen an increase since the government’s demonetisation exercise. And while hacking is a reality, there are also startups working on solving that problem.

Appknox, for example, is a startup that specialises in mobile app security and has identified several critical vulnerabilities in UPI mobile apps.

It’s critical to raise awareness about online digital security especially since India currently has 129 banks on UPI will over 650 million transactions amounting to ₹1 trillion as of January.

See also:

A majority of Indian corporates are unprepared for cyber security challenges: Report

Can Nilekani, the architect of the world’s largest biometric project, spark digital payments in India?

Here are the biggest bank frauds that happened in India the previous financial year
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