We all love to see geeky hackers hacking into secret facilities of the government or someone’s personal digital space. Hacking has always been portrayed as cool and thrilling on the screens. But do we ever think, “Does this only happen in television shows? Can it happen to us?”
Yes, it has been happening to us and it isn’t a thrilling experience at all. A hacker can gain access to your secrets, defame you or even loot you of your money and identity just by tapping his fingers. Cyber crime or cyber bullying is the process of attacking or harassing someone through a computer, the internet, cell phones, etc.
Like everything, internet and technology too have a dark side. The rise of technology has given birth to new types of crimes and criminals. Cyber crime mostly happens through internet mediums like WhatsApp, Hike, Facebook, e-mails, SMS, etc. Phishing, identity theft and money scams are some of the common cyber crimes. Facebook and WhatsApp have, with time, become a breeding ground for defaming people via rumour-mongering.
The rate at which cyber crime in India is growing is very alarming. A rough estimate indicates that the rate at which incidents are growing annually is 107%.
According to the latest figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau, there has been a phenomenal rise in the number of cyber crime cases registered in Assam. The report, titled Crime in India, 2013, shows that the number of cyber crime cases in Assam registered under the provisions of Information and Technology Act, 2000, leapt from 28 in 2012 to 154 in 2013 – an increase of a whopping 450%.
In terms of percentage increase of cyber crime cases, Assam is ranked second among the states in the country, only behind Uttarakhand.
Here are some precautions we can take to safeguard ourselves:
1. Avoid online banking, shopping, entering credit card details, etc, if the network is not properly secured.
2. Check your online account frequently and make sure all listed transactions are valid.
3. Be extremely wary of e-mails asking for confidential information. Never ever click on a link given in a spam e-mail.
4. Always delete spam e-mails immediately and empty the trash box to prevent clicking on the same link accidentally.
5. Beware of lotteries that charge a fee prior to the delivery of your prize.
6. While using a credit card for making payments online, check if the website is secure as the card verification value (CVV) will also be required for the payment.
7. Notify your bank/credit card issuer if you do not receive the monthly credit card statement on time. If a credit card is misplaced or lost, get it cancelled immediately.
8. Do not respond to lottery messages or call on the numbers provided in text messages.
9. Do not provide photocopies of both sides of the credit card to anyone. The CVV, which is required for online transactions, is printed on the reverse side. Anyone can use the card for online purchases if they get that information.
10. Do not click on links in e-mails seeking details of your account as they could be phishing e-mails from fraudsters. Most reputed companies will ask you to visit their website directly.
11. Do not give any information to people seeking credit card details over the phone.