Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Beware of the 'HACK TRAP'

Don't fall for that elusive e-mail with an enticing subject line asking for your personal details. It's a cyber criminal who is using a facade to lure you into a trap. Don't just delete the mail, report it to the cyber cell!

The Mumbai police are waking up to battle the rampant increase of crime in the cyber world. All of us, at some point would have been victims in the virtual world, ranging from falling prey to deadly viruses, to internet stalking or the more serious hacking and character assassination.

The Mumbai police, apart from spreading awareness by holding workshops in schools and colleges and issuing advice to parents has also launched a drive to secure over 2 lakh wi-fi connections in the city.

According to statistics, there were 76 cases of cyber crime registered in 2010 as compared to just 6 cases in 2006.

"Cyber crime and white collar crimes is the new trend and is committed by people from the middle and upper middle class," remarked Sanjeev Dayal, Mumbai police commissioner at the annual police meet held recently. "It's a kind of crime where the educated are involved," he added.

The city's first cyber police station, which was set up in 2006 and the police are making efforts to create more awareness amongst the public. We give you a brief take on the kinds of cyber crime that you need to be wary of and guidelines to avoid being a victim.

Watch out for these cyber crimes

Hacking means an illegal intrusion into a computer system, network or your personal email id. The motive can range from monetary gains such as stealing credit card information, transferring money from various bank accounts to their own account followed by withdrawal of money. It could also be for revenge or a desire to access forbidden information

Cyber stalking:
Cyber stalking is a repeated act of harassment or threatening behavior of the cyber criminal towards the victim through the internet. A vast majority of stalkers are dejected lovers or jilted ex-lovers, who intend to harass the victim because they failed to satisfy their secret desires. Many a time, the stalker posts phone numbers or email address of the victim as willing to solicit sexual favours. The stalker even uses filthy and obscene language to incite the person.

Virus Dissemination:
Malicious software that attaches itself to other software. (virus, worms, Trojan Horse, Time bomb, Logic Bomb, Rabbit and Bacterium. These are malicious viruses

This is an act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The e-mail directs users to visit a website where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card details, social security and bank account numbers, already available to the legitimate organisation. The website, however, is bogus and set up only to steal user information.

Tips for adults, children and teens:
1. Do not give out identifying information such as name, home address, school name or telephone number in a chat room.
2. Do not send your photograph to any one on the Net without initially checking with the parent or guardian.
3. Do not respond to messages that are obscene or threatening.
4. Never arrange a meeting without informing your parents.
5. Remember that people online may not be who they seem to be
what you need to register a complaint
If you are a victim of hacking

Bring the following information:
  • Server Logs
  • Copy of defaced web page in soft copy as well as hard copy format, if your website is defaced
  • If data is compromised on your server or computer or any other network equipment, keep a soft copy of original data and soft copy of compromised data.
  • Access control mechanism details i.e. who had what kind of the access to the compromised system
  • List of suspects - if the victim suspects anyone

If you're are a victim of e-mail abuse, vulgar e-mail;
Bring the following information-
  • Extract the extended headers of the offending e-mail
  • Bring a soft copy as well hard copy of the offending e-mail. Do not delete the offending e-mail from your inbox.
  • Save the copy of the offending e-mail on your computer's hard drive.

Where to complain
Cyber Crime Investigation cell
Annex III, 1st floor, Office of the Mumbai Commissioner of Police,
DN Road, Mumbai 400001

How to safeguard yourself
1. Ensure your passwords have both letters and numbers, and are at least eight characters long. Avoid common words. Some hackers use programs that can try every word in the dictionary.
2. Don't use your personal information, your login name or adjacent keys on the keyboard as passwords
3. Don't share your passwords online or over the phone
4. Protect yourself from viruses by installing anti-virus software and updating it regularly
5. Use different passwords for different websites.
6. Send credit card information only to secure sites.

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