Ever received a call which goes by “Hello Sir, you have won 20 lakh rupees in a lucky draw! Please send your bank details to claim the reward!”
Or a text message “Dear XYZ, your mobile number XXXXXXX736 has won 20 lakh rupees! To claim the reward, click the below mentioned link immediately!”
Now that’s strange! Isn’t it? 20 lakh rupees without breaking a sweat? For some it may sound Lucrative and Exciting! On the other hand, some might call it a mere joke or a prank and question the credibility of such calls! But here’s the question “Why would on earth someone offer you a large sum of money in exchange for nothing?”
Is it an insidious ploy to to rob you off your hard earned money? Over the years we have heard stories about people being conned or cheated by fraudulent schemes, fake contests which promised to credit a large sum of prize money by obtaining the bank details only to rob the victim off their hard earnings. The victims would fail to see through the ulterior motives of these tricksters and by the time they would realise their mistakes, it would be too late.
Cyber crime has become a major threat to the world, considering the fact that most of the commercial transactions take place digitally. Digitalization has revolutionized and transformed our life, and has made a major impact on Business, Corporate, Education and other sectors. Courtesy to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have been forced to adopt new ways to run our lives. Online classes, Virtual Business meetings, Virtual Conferences are several examples which depict the new trend.
But somewhere down the line, the criminals and anti-social elements have found a way of using the digital platform to carry out the illegal activities such as extortion and fraud in a more lucid manner. Cyber crime is not limited to online scam and fraud. Human trafficking, child pornography, stealing information, identities and violation of privacy comes under Cyber crime. The different types of Cyber crimes are mentioned below.
- Online/ Email Fraud
- Identity Theft
- Theft of Payment Information
- Theft of Organization Data
- Cyber Extortion
- Ransomware Attacks
- Cyber Espionage
The Pegasus Spyware Controversy
Pegasus is a spyware developed by an Israeli Organization NSO Group. Once the spyware is installed in devices, mobile phones in particular. It not only enables the monitoring of communication from the device but also provides access and complete control over device’s microphone as well as camera. As a result of which the device is under constant surveillance.
The Pegasus Controversy first came to light in the year 2019 when The WhatsApp revealed that the spyware was used on many Journalists, Human rights activists. This was revealed at a court in San Francisco, USA. Although WhatsApp claimed to have fixed this issue. Many individuals who are concerned about their data and privacy questioned the credibility and assurances provided by the tech giant.
Recently, the leaked data base of 50,000 numbers revealed that several ministers, journalists, lawyers, civilians and academians were targeted by the clients of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware.
How To Protect Yourself From Cyber Crime?
- Do not respond to fake messages or links about non existent schemes and offers.
- Keep your device and applications safe by updating them on a regular basis.
- Never disclose your passwords, codes, pins, card credentials, bank details to anyone.
- Use a strong and complex password.
- Keep changing your password regularly.
- Encrypt and back up your data.
Indeed, advancement in technology has brought a major change in our day to day lives. On the other hand, an alarming surge in cyber crimes has left many wondering if the Digitalization is next big THING or a next major THREAT.