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Call for effective security to deal with cyber risk

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, March 9 - As Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s �Digital India� campaign envisages taking maximum number of people within its folds, cyberspace has proved to be a new breeding ground for criminal activities with unscrupulous elements on the prowl to target na�ve Internet users.

A State-based startup has written to Prime Minister Modi seeking an effective cyber security campaign alongside the �Digital India� initiative, besides asking for measures to control social media hoaxes.

� Lack of cyber security awareness is among the top causes of security breach. People are still using important dates (birthday, anniversary, etc.), friends� or parents� name, etc., as usernames and IDs.

� Using the same password on multiple websites and carelessly following a link received in an email or SMS for logging on to a website can make an user a phishing victim.

� In many cases of Internet fraud, the attackers take the help of email, phone, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc., as the platform to cheat the unsuspecting internet users.

� With the social engineering approach, an attacker may lure people into divulging confidential information.

Foffat.com, an Assam-based IT startup group in an open letter to the PM, has drawn his attention to the mushrooming of web applications that process sensitive consumer data. �Not all such applications take security seriously. So, gaining unauthorised access to any application is comparatively easy, putting privacy at risk,� Chandan Hazarika of Foffat.com told The Assam Tribune.

Digitisation is changing our lives for better, but also creating new opportunities for criminals. If necessary measures are not taken, the chance of falling prey to a hacker is high.

�With infrastructure moving digital, without proactive measures, there is a great threat to national security. We think that the �Digital India� initiative has the power to revolutionise our country, but only with cyber security as the top priority. Humans are among the weakest link in cyber security and promoting awareness will greatly reduce the risk,� the letter stated.

�Lack of cyber security awareness is among the top causes of security breach. People are still using important dates (birthday, anniversary, etc.), friends� or parents� name, etc., as usernames and IDs. Now, software solutions exist to check all possible dictionary words until the match is found,� Hazarika said.

�Two other common mistakes are: using the same password on multiple websites and carelessly following a link received in an email or SMS for logging on to a website, thereby becoming a phishing victim. In phishing, the attacker tries to collect sensitive information such as debit/credit card details, login details, etc., by pretending to be someone else, often masquerades as a trustworthy entity, like an employee of a bank, payment processors, etc.� he added.

In many such cases of Internet fraud, the attackers take the help of email, phone, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc., as the platform to cheat the unsuspecting Internet users. With the social engineering approach, an attacker may lure people into divulging confidential information.

�We are still not immune to hoax or rumours spread through social media. Failing to differentiate the truth, we not only consume fake news, but also spread hoax by sharing without any second thought. The viral nature of social media contents may amplify the impact, causing panic. The criminal may also use social media to spread offensive propaganda. Only if digitisation is clubbed with proper security measures, we would be able to enjoy its outcome without any apprehension,� Hazarika mentioned.

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Call for effective security to deal with cyber risk

GUWAHATI, March 9 - As Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s �Digital India� campaign envisages taking maximum number of people within its folds, cyberspace has proved to be a new breeding ground for criminal activities with unscrupulous elements on the prowl to target na�ve Internet users.

A State-based startup has written to Prime Minister Modi seeking an effective cyber security campaign alongside the �Digital India� initiative, besides asking for measures to control social media hoaxes.

� Lack of cyber security awareness is among the top causes of security breach. People are still using important dates (birthday, anniversary, etc.), friends� or parents� name, etc., as usernames and IDs.

� Using the same password on multiple websites and carelessly following a link received in an email or SMS for logging on to a website can make an user a phishing victim.

� In many cases of Internet fraud, the attackers take the help of email, phone, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc., as the platform to cheat the unsuspecting internet users.

� With the social engineering approach, an attacker may lure people into divulging confidential information.

Foffat.com, an Assam-based IT startup group in an open letter to the PM, has drawn his attention to the mushrooming of web applications that process sensitive consumer data. �Not all such applications take security seriously. So, gaining unauthorised access to any application is comparatively easy, putting privacy at risk,� Chandan Hazarika of Foffat.com told The Assam Tribune.

Digitisation is changing our lives for better, but also creating new opportunities for criminals. If necessary measures are not taken, the chance of falling prey to a hacker is high.

�With infrastructure moving digital, without proactive measures, there is a great threat to national security. We think that the �Digital India� initiative has the power to revolutionise our country, but only with cyber security as the top priority. Humans are among the weakest link in cyber security and promoting awareness will greatly reduce the risk,� the letter stated.

�Lack of cyber security awareness is among the top causes of security breach. People are still using important dates (birthday, anniversary, etc.), friends� or parents� name, etc., as usernames and IDs. Now, software solutions exist to check all possible dictionary words until the match is found,� Hazarika said.

�Two other common mistakes are: using the same password on multiple websites and carelessly following a link received in an email or SMS for logging on to a website, thereby becoming a phishing victim. In phishing, the attacker tries to collect sensitive information such as debit/credit card details, login details, etc., by pretending to be someone else, often masquerades as a trustworthy entity, like an employee of a bank, payment processors, etc.� he added.

In many such cases of Internet fraud, the attackers take the help of email, phone, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc., as the platform to cheat the unsuspecting Internet users. With the social engineering approach, an attacker may lure people into divulging confidential information.

�We are still not immune to hoax or rumours spread through social media. Failing to differentiate the truth, we not only consume fake news, but also spread hoax by sharing without any second thought. The viral nature of social media contents may amplify the impact, causing panic. The criminal may also use social media to spread offensive propaganda. Only if digitisation is clubbed with proper security measures, we would be able to enjoy its outcome without any apprehension,� Hazarika mentioned.