Internet has become an integral part of our lives. We log on internet to perform daily tasks such as shopping, banking, social and business networking, applying for jobs, reaching out to old friends, downloading and uploading media, etc. As the usage of the internet has become widespread, it has become important to ensure our safety over the Web. With each piece of information shared on the web, it is susceptible to falling prey to a cyber criminal. So, it’s very important to discuss the ways to remain safe on the internet having complete information about it.
What is Cyber Crime?
Any unlawful act committed with the assistance of a computer as an instrument, target or both for committing further crimes comes inside the circle of Cyber Crimes.
Types of Cyber Crimes:
The unauthorized access to the computer systems or networks in order to gain important and secret information is known as Hacking. In this offense, the hacker steals private information or changes some financial or personal data.
Virus and Worms:
Virus are programs that attach themselves to a computer or a file circulating themselves to other networks or systems in order to delete or modify personal data on the computer. While Worms are programs that need no hosts to attach to. They make functional copies of themselves and go on repeating the process till they eat up all the space of the computer memory.
Example, the Love bug Virus affected at least 5 % of the computers of the globe. The world's most famous worm was the Internet worm let loose on the Internet by Robert Morris sometime in 1988 which almost brought development of Internet to a complete halt.
The term has its origin from the word ‘Trojan horse’. It is an unauthorized program that passively gains control over another system by representing it as an authorized program. The most common form being the installation of the Trojan through emails.
It is the most prevalent form of cyber crime in today’s cyber world. In this form of cyber crime, the criminal assumes the identity of another person through various unlawful means and gains credits and benefits under the other person’s name. The victim instead can face adverse consequences if held accountable in the theft.
Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire username, password or any credit card information by masking someone else’s trustworthy identity in a electronic communication. Phishing is usually carried out through emails or instant messaging which directs the users to enter their details in a fake website whose look and feel is same as that of the original website.
Fake Email (Nigerian 419)
A ‘Nigerian’ Scam is a money transfer scam. The scammers contact you by email or letter and offer you a large sum of money that they want to transfer out of their country. They mostly talk to you about the money trapped in central banks during civil war.
They will ask you to give your account number to transfer the money. You are then asked to pay fees or taxes in order to release the money out of their country. This ‘fees’ may start out as quite small amounts. If paid, then scammers make up new fees requiring payment before you can receive your ‘reward’. Thus, they drain out the money they want and you never receive the money promised.
Precaution, Prevention, Protection, Preservation and Perseverance- 5 P's
There are many other forms of committing crimes too that have been let lose by the cyber criminals. Thus, it’s our vigilance that will make us safe over the Internet.
Safety measures important for a netizen:
- Avoid disclosing any personal information in order to avoid cyber stalking.
- Avoid sharing photographs and other personal data to strangers or chat friends in order to guard yourself against its misuse. People you associate with or meet online may not appear to be who they say they are, after all one never knows who is really sitting at the other end of a network connection.
- Always keep your system firewalled and antivirus protected.
- Never give away your credit card number to any unauthorized site so as to prevent frauds.
- Always keep back up volumes so that one may not suffer data loss in case of virus contamination.
- Web site owners should watch traffic and check any irregularity on the site. Putting host-based intrusion detection devices on servers may do this.
- Educate yourself to the latest illegal trends of the cyber world. Awareness is the strongest weapon to protect oneself against cyber crime.
- Do not ever enter passwords or personal information on links you received in email since emails can be spoofed or used to "phish" for information.
- Use caution with e-mail. Be careful before downloading attachments from email. Many viruses, Trojans, and other damaging files can be included in e-mail attachments.
Cyber thieves stole above $25 million from businesses in the first quarter of 2010, and that number is consistently rising, according to Krebsonsecurity.com. And cyber theft has yet another target - social networking sites. People share information about themselves so freely that it is easy for criminals to pose as someone else and find your personal information.
Capability of human mind is unparalleled. It is impossible to eliminate cyber crime from the cyber world. Only possible solution is to check them. Internet can be used for fun, educational and useful purposes. Being cautious while online can greatly reduce the threat of being a victim to cyber crime.
As mentioned, BE SAFE. RATHER THAN SORRY...