The world is moving towards the digitization. We already have adopted computers over papers and files in most of the sectors. We also moving for a cashless economy. With the demonetisation in the November last year India too has signaled for a cashless or less cash economy. That means use of electronic means of funds transfer instead of cash transactions. Govt. of India is also promoting a cashless economy in India. With the increase of use of internet in our daily life the need of cyber security measure is very important.
This digital world offers us many advantages and convenience over traditional methods. E.g. If we can read news on our smartphone then what is the need to buy a newspaper. But there are certain drawbacks of the digital world. Most crucial being the concern of security of data.
We can manage all our bank accounts and finances from phone or computer on internet. We have all our personal information stored somewhere on internet. As the internet is accessible to everyone in the world. Anyone can reach to the interface of a bank site we use. Also we use social media sites which contains our personal information. Email is the one revolution in IT industry which has become an integral part of our life today. We keep many private and sensitive information in our mails. Also we use our email ids and phone numbers in bank accounts, business accounts or social media accounts. Only compromising email id or phone number we can compromise everything associated with these. This open digital world poses a threat to the security of our data.
Another threat in cyberspace is the telemarketing and Email Scams. We often get phone calls, emails and messages claiming some XYZ company. They ask for our bank or Debit/credit card details for some reason. If provided our account will be robbed. Also we get many emails about some lucky contest.
So what is in our hand? We can not control the security issues of a Bank website or Social media website we use. If a bank site gets compromised all the data will be compromised. In october 2016, data of 3.2 millions debit cards were compromised. So was it in our control? No!!
There are different level of cyber security. At Government level, organisational level, server level and personal level. Governments and organizations like banks, Google, Facebook invest millions of dollars for security and R&D. But what we can do to protect our data at our level is our concern. There are few things if we care about can keep us and our data safe. So here are cyber security precautions we should keep in mind.
Using passwords for cyber security
Passwords are the most important tools for cyber security at personal level. We use username and passwords at different interfaces. Hackers try to crack passwords with the help of some tools. The stronger the password, better the security. So how to set a strong password and keep it safe.
- Set a strong Password. Do not use your name, phone number, date of birth or any common phrase as Password.
- Use a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, digits and special characters.
- Do not reveal your password to anyone.
- Do change your password periodically or when you suspect it is compromised.
Public Wifi or Public PC
There are chances of Password and other user credentials theft when we use public wifi or PC in internet cafe. There may be any software on wifi node or in PC you are using. Keylogger is a such software which saves all the keystrokes entered in username and password field.
- Avoid to use the sensitive websites on public wifi.
- If it is very important to use a public PC, use virtual keyboard to enter credentials.
- Use of incognito window can be handy.
Phishing is one other method of stealing information. Hackers send you some links. When you click it opens up a page which looks similar to the one you often use. It can be a replica of facebook page, google login or Banking site you use. The page ask you to login to proceed further. If you enter the credentials and submit the same would be saved in attacker’s database.
- Attackers use domains similar to real ones but not exactly the real. e.g. it may be faceboook.com instead of facebook.com. So always check the domain urls when you are using sensitive websites.
- Always prefer to use the site with a lock and ‘secure’ written in green color before domain url in the address bar.
Fraudulent phone calls
We often get phone calls, where caller claims to be from some govt agency or some company related to your bank. They would tell you about some problem with your debit card and would fix them for you. And ask for you banking or card detail. If provided they will use the detail to transfer or draw money from your account. So what to do?
Simply reject the call if anyone ask for your details. banks or any agency never ask for you details.
You may receive emails which say that you have won some amount in lucky draw. They would ask your detail. If you reply they ask you to send some money as charges to send your winning amount. Once you send the money, they will disappear as they never existed.
Do not reply to such emails. You are not so lucky to win something millions without doing anything.
Like spam mails you can also receive phone calls from any telemarketing company. They will offer you some item in a very low price saying you won a lucky draw. They will send you the package. You would pay the money hoping for the item and when you open the box, you will find nothing.
Do not respond to such calls.
We all use debit and credit cards for online transactions or to withdraw cash from ATM. These cards or Card information can also be used by someone to transfer or withdraw money from our accounts. There are some measure we should take for safety.
- Don’t reveal your card PIN to other. Also do change your PIN on regular basis.
- Credit cards are more secure than debit cards.
- Use debit cards with CVV numbers. These cards are more secure than non-cvv cards.
- Make use of OTP or 3d secure password in online transactions.
With these few measures and precautions at our end we can ensure cyber security for our cyberspace at some extent.