Caught up in the hacker's web

Caught up in the hacker's web

Having an e-mail account, a page on a social networking site or practicing online banking and shopping is becoming a new headache for netizens. Hackers, whe­t­her personal enemies or professionals, are breaking open electronic accounts and stealing personal data. Security agencies, unfortunately, are helpless before the barrage of cases surfacing.

Statistics provided by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) state that cases of hacking in Delhi rose by 1850 per cent — from just two cases in the year 2010 to 39 in 2011. As many as 100 complaints related to cyber crime have been registered in Gurgaon till August this year as compared to the 80 reported in the whole of 2011.

Noida too, has reported many cases of cyber crime in the past few months, setting the UP Police’s cyber crime cell on its toes.

A woman reported wrongful mails being sent to her fiance from her mail and they were traced to her colleague. A hacking group broke into a mobile recharge portal and recharged several phones for free before they were caught.

Before that, Google had complained against a Noida-based company for using its name to conduct various transactions.

Cyber security experts say that the most common variety of cyber crime is identity theft. Arunmohan Sherry, Chairman, IMT Ghaziabad, says, “Hacking of mails, FB and Orkut accounts has emerged as the biggest cyber-crime. The reason being that it is the easiest way to attack one’s personal life.

Often, people put in simple passwords, key it in others’ presence and do not change it frequently giving ill-minded people the opportunity to harm them.” 

He adds, “These cases are usually not reported for reasons of shame or looking foolish, and are taken to the police only when there is a great damage to one’s reputation or money is involved.”

Credit /debit card data theft is another rampant cyber crime which does not even necessarily need a computer. Mohit Yadav, Director of a company called Byte Code Cyber Security, informs, “People should never store their credit/debit card details in a computer, I-pad or mail. Also, never submit such details to mails or websites which ask for the same. Mails saying that you have won a lottery and need to provide credit card details to retrieve it are, without a doubt, always a farce.”  

One should also be careful while using credit/debit cards at ATMs and swapping machines in shops. “Make sure, that you are alone in the ATM booth and there are no devices to closely photograph your credit card; or else, you could become a victim of credit card cloning,” says Mohit.

Ankit Fadia, India’s prodigal ethical hacker, informs us, “Such cases are only increasing as our dependency on computers rises. Recently, there was a case of a woman’s computer being hacked in Mumbai. He hacked into her machine and switched on her web camera and subsequently uploaded her live video on the net.”

“There are a few security practices which every computer user must follow to avoid such issues. Firstly, use a good firewall, licensed anti-virus and anti-spam, and update both of them regularly. Avoid using public computers (cyber cafes) for online banking and shopping and change your password from frequently.

“Technology is evolving everyday and it is not possible to stop such people. However, we must take our own precautions to keep safe from such miscreants,” warns Ankit.   

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