Awareness is the key to cybersecurity
The digital generation's present era is surfing the internet heavily, which has opened the doors of opportunities to everyone utilizing digital platforms.
The digital generation's present era is surfing the internet heavily, which has opened the doors of opportunities to everyone utilizing digital platforms. Unfortunately, however, the usage of the cyber world has awakened cyber frauds, i.e., the threatening form of crime where fraudsters hack victims' personal information and data feed online. It is problematic for every individual as cybercrimes are growing with the speed of viruses like Covid and disrupting businesses, governments, and public services. According to the NCRB report, India recorded 50,035 cases of Cybercrime in 2020. It registered an 11.8% increase from last year's comparison, while it is expected to grow 25% by 2020 till 2025 if the preventive steps are not implemented properly.
What makes a criminal commit cybercrime? This thorny question arises whenever we read or hear about cybercrimes happening across society and the globe. Phishing, spoofing, hacking, cyberstalking, Ransome attacks are the most common cyber crimes. However, the biggest reason is excessive internet usage during lockdown time. There are several other determinants for the drastic surge of cybercrime cases.
♦ Pandemic situation
One of the reasons for growing cyberattacks is lockdown imposed due to pandemic. People have to work remotely and upload and download data on servers for shared usage inside their organizations and projects. Online conferences, meetings, financial transactions, etc., have given cyber attackers additional options.
♦ Lack of skills
Everyone needs to get stable and earn considerable remuneration for their earnings. However, while skilled people are able to secure their jobs, a lot of unskilled people have lost their jobs. Such unskilled and jobless people use Cybercrime as their earning medium. Further such people find Cybercrime and attacks easier than finding legitimate ways to earn money.
We hear news of the hack of government websites and social media channels by terrorists. In their campaign to threaten the world, terrorists use Cyberattacks as a powerful weapon. For example, we observed several cyberattacks by terrorists last year where they wiped out historical data of a Colorado-based energy company and disconnected internal controls. Similarly, ransomware attacks on Australian utility firms were made by Russian cyber attackers.
♦ Social media
A typical social media addict surfs the internet very frequently. Social media platforms have many apps and programs that look very appealing and attractive. But most such apps are used for stealing your personal data. Nowadays, cyberattackers are analyzing the social media profiles of their targets to get their personal preferences. Hence it is recommended to use social media platforms sensibly and securely.
Still, regular internet users are unaware of the ways of Cyberattacks, and they are clueless about simple hacks of protection from Cybercrimes. While the government and corporations are making all the efforts to spread awareness for Cybersecurity, regular people are barely following the standard practices. Following cybersecurity guidelines and practices can prevent cyberattacks and the loss of hard-earned colossal money.
We often see essential software and apps prompting us to install the latest updates. Actually, those updates include security patches from the latest known cyberattacks. Therefore, try to install updates and upgrade your system software as soon as possible.
♦ Password security
Always use complex passwords composed of alphabets, numbers, and special characters. Don't save your passwords on browsers and apps. Always use different passwords for important accounts. You can also opt for using biometrics authentication for banking and financial apps.
Use passwords for apps installed on your device so that in case of mobile theft, your apps are not accessible. Nowadays, everyone's bank is found in their pocket and easily accessible. So, keep changing your passwords at regular intervals. Also, instead of installing different payment and UPI apps, try to use fewer transaction apps on your mobile device, reducing cyberattacks chances.
Never click unknown links. Many frauds happen by clicking on the link they share on websites, apps, mail, SMS, or call. Most Cyber Crimes happen through fraud apps made for the hacking of personal and transactional details. Your account balance may be wiped out within minutes of clicking such fraudulent links. Therefore, it is recommended to download apps from official websites and recommended app stores only. Avoid downloading apps shared through the direct links.
We can prevent typical cyberattacks by using strong passwords, using VPN while consuming shared Wi-Fi networks like cafés, libraries, hotels, etc. In addition, the computer can be protected by security and antivirus software from trusted companies. Never use unknown and free Antiviruses available without expert recommendations.
The Information Technology Acts 2000 deals with most cybercrimes that contain provisions for protecting electronic data in our country. The IT Act penalizes 'cyber contraventions' (Section 43(a)–(h)), which attract civil prosecution, and 'cyber offenses' (Sections 63–74), which attract criminal action. The complaints against crime can be registered in the cyber cell or police station.
(The author is IT Expert & Amazon Bestseller Author of Innovate & Seize Your Success)