Combating Cybercrime

Rahul Dogra
Cyber crime refers to any criminal activity that takes place with the help of Internet. There are many cyber crime activities like hacking, online identity theft, cyber stalking, ransom ware/virus attack, credit card frauds, and child pornography and so on. We are being surrounded by the digital space around us and in today’s world every processing is directly or indirectly dependent on Information technology. The control, prevention and investigation of cyber crime activities is very much important for private organizations, government bodies and individuals. We need to be extra careful while surfing the internet and making online transactions. Combating cyber crime is the much required need of the time. Here is a curated list of the ways by which you can curate cyber crime:
Education – Hackers aren’t the only ones who can gain power from information. By educating yourself about the types of scams that exist on the Internet and how to avert them, you are putting yourself one step ahead of the cybercriminals. Since phishing is prevalent, read up on the latest phishing scams and learn how to recognize a phishing attempt. For example they may create a phony web page exactly like your bank home page where you may be lured to add your confidential details.
Use a firewall – Firewalls monitor traffic between your computer or network and the Internet and serve as a great first line of defense when it comes to keeping intruders out. Make sure to use the firewall that comes with your security software. And if you have a home wireless network, enable the firewall that comes with your router.
Click with caution; avoid being scammed: When you’re checking your email or chatting over instant messenger (IM), be careful not to click on any links in messages from people you don’t know. The link could take you to a fake website that asks for your private information, such as user names and passwords, or it could download malware onto your computer. Even if the message is from someone you know, be cautious. Some viruses replicate and spread through emails or even WhatsApp message links, so look for information that indicates that the message is legitimate.
Practice safe surfing and safe shopping – When navigating the web, you need to take precautions to avoid phony websites that ask for your personal information and pages that contain malware. Creating a phony site at an address similar to the real site is called “typo squatting,” and it is a fairly common scam. Be cautious when giving out personal information such as your name, address, phone number or financial information on the Internet. Make sure that websites are secure .You also want to look at the address bar to see if the site starts with “https://” instead of “http://” because this is another way to see if the site uses encryption.
Use credit cards, rather than debit cards:
When it comes time to pay, use a credit card instead of a debit card. If the site turns out to be fraudulent your credit card issuer may reimburse you for the charges, but with a debit card your money is gone.
Use comprehensive security software (eg antivirus)– Because hackers have a wide variety of ways to access your system and information, you need comprehensive security software that can protect you from all angles. And don’t forget to perform regular scans. You also want to update your operating system (OS) and browser with the latest security patches.
Secure your wireless network – Hackers can access data while it’s in transit on an unsecured wireless network. You can keep the hackers out by enabling the firewall on your router and changing the router’s administrator password. Cybercriminals often know the default passwords and they can use them to hack into your network.
Use strong passwords – Although it may be easier for you to remember short passwords that reference your birthday, middle name, or pet’s name, these kinds of passwords also make it easy for hackers. Use different user ID / password combinations for different accounts and avoid writing them down. Make the passwords more complicated by combining letters, numbers, special characters (at least 10 characters in total) and change them on a regular basis.
Use common sense and be suspicious -Use common sense whenever you’re on the Internet. Never post personal information online or share sensitive information such as your bank details and credit card numbers etc. Be suspicious – Even if you consider yourself cyber savvy, you still need to keep your guard up for any new tricks and be proactive about your safety. Take note : Your bank will never send you an email/sms telling you that your account has been compromised and asking you to provide sensitive account and personal information like password, PIN etc They already have it. These are obviously phishing attempts.
Keep an eye on the kids: You must be aware of what your kids are doing on internet and who they are interacting with. Identity thieves often target children because of their gullibility through online games, social sites and chat-rooms. They may first befriend children getting them into confidence and thereby gradually stealing identity. Make your kids aware of the cyber crimes and monitor their behavior online.
Do not believe everything circulating on Internet: Be cautious of the messages or links that you receive on Whatsapp , Facebook or any other social media groups. Scammers can spread misinformation leading to online outrages and communal violence. The mission of fake news content isn’t typically for financial gain but rather for luring visitors in via click baiting and then getting content consumers to virally spread the false information or hoax news. Be aware and check news from authentic sources before sharing or forwarding to others.
Beware of public computers too: Don’t access your sensitive accounts like banking or personal information accounts on public, hotel computers, cyber cafes etc which could have software that logs keystrokes and records your passwords and account numbers.