The Internet is without a doubt, one of the greatest inventions of all time. Trying to quantify its impact is futile, as it has pervaded literally on every aspect of life. According to Statista - a global analytics company and provider of market and consumer data, - as of January 2018, there were more than 402 Crore internet users worldwide and over 319 Crore social media users. Unsurprisingly, India is the second largest online market, with over 46 Crore internet users and 25 Crore social media users.
The rise in the number of internet, social media and mobile users in India is tremendous. Unfortunately, so is the increase in the number of cyber-crimes and frauds. In a digital world where there is free-flow of information, maintaining security and privacy of data is crucial.
India’s Biometric Identification program (Aadhaar), has seen multiple instances of sensitive information being published online by hackers and third party service providers. Most recently, names of soldiers along with their Military Identity Numbers and PAN details were leaked as the Defence Ministry’s websites were hacked.
Cybercrime is any criminal activity involving a network and an electronic device (Computer, mobile phone and so on). The device can either be the object of the crime or the target. The intent of the crime can be to make profits or to disable the targeted system. There are a number of ways in which a cybercrime can be carried out. The following list shows only a few of these methods which are the most popular around.
Hacking -Hacking is simply accessing a computer system without permission. Hackers are experts at software programming and computer language, and misuse this expertise for personal gain. Many times, hacking is done as a prank or joke, but it can have serious consequences.
Phishing - Phishing is when a person impersonates a legitimate institution or company and tricks the target into giving personal information like credit card number, user names and passwords and so on. Unsuspecting users readily give away the information, believing them to be their own banker, internet provider or telephone company.
Identity Theft – Identity theft happens when scammers pretend to be a certain person to access services and benefits which are reserved specifically to that individual whose identity is being stolen. This includes withdrawing cash from banks, gaining credit card information and committing other unethical activities under a false identity.
Virus – Viruses are computer programs that are designed to do a specific task like cause a system to malfunction, steal data from a system, among others things. They are usually attached to a file and infect the host system and can also multiply and spread within a network.
Denial of Service – This happens when a cyber-criminal sends a massive number of service requests to a server, causing it to temporarily malfunction or crash completely. This results in the server being unable to perform its intended tasks and can cause huge losses to organisations.
Web-Jacking – Derived from the word “Hijacking”, criminals take control of a website illegally and use it for their own benefit. They can change the content of the site, redirect users to another website which is controlled by him, post controversial content and so on.
Piracy – Piracy is the theft of copyrighted material and distributing it without the permission of the owner. Software’s, games, music, and movies are just some of the things that are a target of piracy.
Stalking–Cyber-stalking is a major concern for internet service providers and social media owners. People are followed virtually by stalkers who continually view their profiles, photos, real life location and all activities online. Sometimes stalkers get very aggressive and threaten or blackmail their victims into doing things that either cause harm to the victims or brings which bring some form of gain to the stalker.
You May Also Watch:
With such danger looming, how can the common man protect himself from being a victim to cyber-crime?
Always exercise caution while following links and responding to ads, emails and telephone calls. Look out for simple and common mistakes that can be a sign that it is not a genuine company. Be sure to keep a backup of all your important information on an external hard drive. This way, even if your system crashes, you will have a record of all your data. Never reveal unwanted personal information on social media and other websites. If you feel that an unknown website requires you to provide personal information and you are not comfortable with it, leave the site immediately and look for reliable alternatives.
A smart way to secure yourself is to make use of the Cybercrime Insurance covers available. This way, you are protected against losses arising out of any form of cybercrime.
The average person may not fully understand the subject of cybercrimes and insurance, therefore, it is better to get as much information as possible from the insurer. Being experts, they are the best source of information and can make you understand the details involved. At the time of taking the insurance, disclose all relevant information, so as to avoid claims being rejected in the future. Relevant information includes your current level of knowledge on the subject, what the internet is used for, how much time is it used for and so on.
Practice due diligence and adopt safety measures while online, as losses arising from acts of blatant ignorance and failure to take reasonable precautions, will lead to claims being rejected.
In case of a cyber-attack, file an FIR with the police or cyber cell. A copy of this form is mandatory to claim for losses. Report to the insurance company immediately, as delaying will increase the chances of the claim being rejected.