Computer Crime Research Center


Cyber crime: Prevention is better than cure, say experts

Date: May 08, 2008

Chandigarh, May 7 Most of us who own an e-mail address have frequently come across a mail announcing that you have won a fortune through a lottery or an earnest appeal for money. Some e-mails masquerade as requests from a bank or financial institution. All ask for vital information like credit card number, bank account number, ATM pin, full name and date of birth.

In cyber parlance, this is known as phishing — unsuspecting respondents are lured into giving vital information, which enables the sender to create a fake account, ruin credit standing and in extreme cases foist an identity theft.

Even as incidents of cyber crime are on the rise, speakers at seminar on consumer information security, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) today, were unanimous that such crimes should not deter people from making the full use of the Internet.

CII Chief Information Officer Vikram Tiwathia said: “You have to be careful. To give a simple analogy, if you don’t follow the rules while crossing a road, you are prone to an accident. Similarly, there are rules for safe operation in cyber world too.”

And what are these rules? Deepak Maheshwari, Director Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Corporation Ltd, lists a few elementary safeguards: “Basic things like installing an effective firewall, anti-virus software, anti-spyware software and regularly updating software can go a long way in ensuring privacy and security. The net is very much like a human body. If you don’t inoculate yourself then you could catch a deadly disease.”

But these basic precautions do not work when faced with hackers more technologically proficient in use of Internet and computers. For example, phishing is estimated to have caused a loss of around $ 2 billion to users in the US.

Also the proliferation of some bugs, worms and viruses is so fast that incalculable damage can be done in minimum time. For example, the Slammer worm is capable of scanning 55 million computers every second.

Identity thefts have also taken place from presumably safe interfaces. The recent instance where vital information of users was stolen from Facebook is a case in point. Experts suggest that vigilance and caution on part of the user are the best safeguards.

“Most importantly, the confidence that ‘my machine is safest and no bug can afflict me’ is false. We all are susceptible and we should all be take precautions,” said Jaspreet Singh, Manager Risk Advisory Service, Ernst and Young.

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2008-10-12 04:21:31 - llll lll
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