India has reported 3.13 lakh Cyber Security incidents from 01 January 2019 to 30 October 2019. As per the information reported to and tracked by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), 49,455; 50,362; 53,117; 2,08,456 and 3,13,649 cyber security incidents were reported during the year 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 (till October) respectively. This information was share by none other than the, Minister of State for Electronics and IT Shri Sanjay Dhotre in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha in December 2019. This is alarming, as a large percentage of these incidents are all carried out against victims with monitory motives. Cyber Crime is a persistent threat and is mostly aimed at victims for financial gains.
We at Cyber Secure India, have devised this “Ten (10) Point Formula” to educate our Readers, Patrons and Well Wishers to keep you safe from being a victim of Cyber Crime in India.
Protect yourself from being a victim of cybercrime:
- Purchase the right device
The devices which you possess need to be genuine and should be from a legitimate source. Spurious, Look-alike, Fake, Refurbished, and Pirated, etc may be a risk if one is to use these derives on the internet. There are mobiles in the market, embedded with malicious software and manipulated hardware, that may be a trouble giver for the complete life-cycle of the device.
- Updated your software on the device regularly
A legally purchased device will always possess legitimate and genuine software. The Operating System (OS) and other related Application Software (Apps) and Security Software are to be genuine on your device, and these should be updated regularly. An antivirus or total-security overlay is required to be installed that will act as a protection on the outer-ring of security. Cyber Criminals, known the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of all the OSs and Apps on the devices. A zero-day is first known to the outer world before the OEM, or software developer/license holder; hence it is a known fact that, exploits, or flaws, in them are used to gain access to the device by these attackers. Patching those exploits and flaws can make it less likely that one become a victim of cybercrime through these devises.
- Physical Security of the Device
Whatever device one may be using, the physical security is as important an aspect. The theft and destruction of these Personal Devices will also be a cause of concern. One needs to activate means and methods to ensure the physical security of these devices. Leaving a Smartphone unattended is also a threat. For that matter, handing over the phone or any device to a third person even for an instance may result in a malafide act.
- Use of strong passwords
Use of Passwords is a common practice to safeguard the utilities on a device. It is advised to use the Pass-Phrase, rather than a Password. Further, the Pass-Phrase should not be in anyway related to your identity or personal credentials. Also, it is better to use the maximum length permissible for setting-up a pass-phrase. Even the mundane ‘Security question’ on any site should be very discrete and should not be related to your personal life.
- Manage your social media settings
It is with discretion that one has to share information on the social media and internet as a whole. The sharing of photographs, location status and visit plans should be avoided or should be done securely. Keep your personal and private information locked down. Social engineering cybercriminals can often get your personal information with just a few data points, so the less you share publicly, the better. Even the ‘Security question’ on any site should be set-up with adequate caution and discretely and should not be related to your personal life.
- Ensure a secure Internet Gateway
The internet connection that you use should be a reliable and secure one, use the best encryption and a strong password on the Gateway, and do remember to change it frequently. The VPN facility should be explored for connecting to the internet; there are many commercially available secure VPN services these days. It will be a good practice to use a VPN whenever you use a public Wi-Fi network, especially at Airports, Restaurants, Coffee Shops and at other such free internet hubs.
- Educate your near and dear ones
Security is like a ‘link-chain’, and the bonding of these links, assures security, and this has to be maintained along with your near and dear ones, who also fall part of the link. The weakest link is the one that the attacker is looking for; the attacker will be able to mining/prodding/tapping the link to get to the person that matters, so as to execute the attack. Children are the most vulnerable link, educating them is as important as educating oneself.
- Identity theft is the best way a criminal gets to you
The ‘Identity Data’ is most vital; this data is obtained by a little bit of information prodding. Even the discarded papers or a parcel box with information about you, or a discarded letter from the nearest dust-bin is enough to make the ingress. Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully obtains your personal data, with an aim to make way for fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. There are many other digital means to steal Identity.
- Know your Enemy and their capability
It is better to be alert, it is better to assume that you can fall to the attack at any time. Remember, no form of Hardware and Software/Application/Security Software, is completely secure. No device is hundred percent perfect. Remember that the attacker is better educated and equipped than you.
- Keep an eye and ears open
There is no substitute to knowledge. Reading about vulnerabilities and the weaknesses of a product is as important as reading about the features and facility of a product. The Web is fast to report vulnerabilities, and also the fall of the product to attacks; this information need to be captured and then subsequent precautions planned. Plan your ‘after-actions’, well in advance, and do not wait for the attack to happen. Report the attack to appropriate agencies and forums, so that help and precedence is made use of, post the attack.
Fighting cyber crime is the responsibility of every citizen. So is the responsibility to report and educate people whom we know. It is better to share an experience to the outer world, so that the attacker is also received with certain deterrence, and at the same timeas the other innocent users may not fall victim to a similar experience. When you share, you are helping others to fight Cyber Crime. We cannot prevent Cyber Crime, but we can take Precaution against it. We all have to pledge to make this world a safer place for ourselves to live.
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