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Crime in the digital age : Keeping yourself safe

Crime in the Digital age : Keeping yourself safe

It is important to raise awareness about the need to protect information in the wake of the latest cyber attacks. One must understand the tactics with which criminals steal information Crime in the digital age: Keeping yourself safe!

What is Cyber Crime? Cyber crime or computer crime is crime that involves a computer and a network. Cyber crime is gaining unauthorized entry into a system to steal the data or to damage the system. Cyber Crime is carried out many ways – using the system to criminally obtain data or to siphon off funds, using the system or computer as a tool to gain access into a network, or by impersonating someone or being abusive, issuing threats etc.

Major Threats!

A variety of cyber crimes or internet scams are based on social engineering. They target individuals and businesses to commit financial frauds through various methods like bank account hacking, impersonation or emotional targeting, credit card fishing etc. What does social engineering mean? It means that you are contacted and your passwords and other personal information, like your PAN card number, your credit card numbers, your security pins are acquired. Using this information, criminals gain access to your funds. There are multiple ways in which this information is obtained by criminals. In addition to hacking your computer or your accounts, there are spurious software called malware which steal information stored on your computer. There is an increase in the volume of cyber crime because the criminals can commit these without leaving the comfort of their office or home! The speed, convenience, anonymity, and lack of any borders or boundaries are afforded to criminals by the internet.

Look who is calling?

There are many cases where people impersonate bank officials and try to solicit information. It helps to be alert. Be informed that banks or any organizations cannot ask you for confidential details like your security pin, passport number etc. So always verify who is calling, and confirm their name. If you have any reason to believe that the call is spurious, ask questions.

Passwords:

Your passwords are extremely important. Always keep all your credentials, passwords, security PINs, bank account numbers, credit card number, user ids etc. confidential. You must never give away this information to anyone, especially on the phone. This information can be easily used to hack your emails, bank accounts or even your social media accounts. You must change your passwords regularly. You should also consider making them a combination of alphabets, numerals and special characters to make it difficult for anyone to guess it. Never keep all your passwords together in written form. Please do not store these in your mobile phone. Because if someone steals your phone, they will get direct access into all your accounts.

Dont get tempted on the phone

Beware of fake calls offering you attractive deals and discounts. Sometimes they offer free holidays too! Don’t believe these callers without verifying them. Check back with your bank, cellular service provider about any such plans before divulging any information.

Enjoy social media responsibly

One must take precautions while using social media sites and applications. Photos, messages on social media are digital footprints which are stored on the internet and any person can trace these or store these for misuse later. New apps can actually pinpoint your location too. Just because social media is free to use, it doesn’t  mean that it doesn’t come without any responsibility. It is the user’s responsibility to decide what to share when to share. But simple steps like using security

settings and limiting access to anyone who is not a friend will guard your information better. Women in particular must be extremely careful and vigilant while using these websites and apps  They are at a greater risk, as predators use these sites to find their victims and their pictures can be misused.

Mobile applications

Currently, mobile apps are a new rage. Nothing comes for free, not even mobile applications. Mobile applications are often run on advertising and for this, these apps collect your information from your phones. There is a great risk of downloading malware or viruses in your phone which could give criminals access to your data. Beware of the permissions that as certain app seeks and only grant permissions that seem reasonable. You must check the credibility of the app before downloading it. It is best to download apps that are by the app stores like Google or Apple. There are several ways in which cheating, criminal activity occurs. It could be a straight-forward siphoning of funds or someone may gain access to some information using which they might try to extort you. The first thing you must do in such a situation is register a police complaint. Go the nearest police station or contact the nearest cyber crime unit. If funds are being charged to or siphoned off from banks or credit cards, call these institutions and alert them to the fraud so that any further payments can be stopped. Maharashtra Police have a strong Twitter presence and their website will give you complete information of things to do if you’re a victim of cyber crime. But most importantly, raising awareness about this new world of crime is essential in fighting it. So spread the word, and stay safe!


Brijesh Singh – Utility Calmanac 2017 – English Edition

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