Vulnerability to Cybercrime | Tech Tips for the Pepper Spray Woman


Vulnerability to Cybercrime | Tech Tips for the Pepper Spray Woman

India’s top-notch female detective Rajani Pandit cites the case of a woman who trusted an online friend from abroad too much too soon so much that she spilled information about her family’s weak spots and relationship-cracks with her children...read on

 
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Vulnerability to Cybercrime | Tech Tips for the Pepper Spray Woman

There is a reason they say ‘women and children first’ while lowering down life-boats. Is that reason innocence, vulnerability or strength?

Let’s start with a simple quiz, of a simple woman, going about her simple la-la day. Albeit, armed with a Smartphone.

  1. She spends a Sunday afternoon browsing for the best online deal for a pair of cherry-red pumps (for the upcoming date with her Tinder beau. Did we not tell you she is tech-savvy?). She finds just the right glass-shoes, without any fairies or pumpkins to lean on, and Lo! She pops in a digit, pays in a jiffy and orders the lovely pair to arrive at her doorstep without any bone or nail shifted. She even lets out a smirk as she looks out of her window, pitying her not so-smart/housewife neighbor who is still fiddling through her tiny purse for coins to pay the sabji-wallah. Ah! The luddites!
  2. Next she gets all dolled up at her favourite parlour and saves two nick-of-the-time minutes for a quick manicure as she hands over her card to the friendly girl who does her facial so perfectly every time. Thank god she does not have to dig for cash in her over-sized handbag.
  3. She joins her friends for a private pool-party birthday bash at the town’s newest resort (that serves organic-snacks, mind you). The heels are clacking, the mojitos are floating, the water is gurgling, Tareefein from Veere Di Wedding is blaring, and life is oh-so-amazing.
  4. They post their pics on Instagram and she makes sure they post none of the swim-wear selfies online. They achieve the double challenge of making their other friends jealous but without any risks.

So, which one of the four moves was regret-proof? Did she slip anywhere? Where?

Think, chew that cud or gum, and scratch that brow…

Anything?

What if we tell you that she, the super-smart woman that swipes and slides with technology so effortlessly, is leaving breadcrumbs for the bad guys everywhere. Yes. Come along and see how that happens.

First things first, the boon and curse of modern e-tail – quick and smooth shopping. Mukesh Choudhary, a noted Cybercrime Security consultant bursts a huge myth here.

While doing online transactions, specially if the website is not a well-known one and you have gone there because of the temptation of discounts or lucrative offers, always always opt for C.O.D or Cash On Delivery option, he stresses.  “Card details can be easily compromised by fraudsters and the good old HTTPS sign is not a full-proof sign either. It is a mis-belief that this sign is a good enough assurance that nothing will go awry from a safety angle.” Such certifications can be fetched for as cheap as Rs. 500, he lets on.  Similarly, even financial gateways can be compromised, so having a separate card or IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) option for shopping is a better idea any day.

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The problem of modern lifestyle, as turns up after speaking with him and other experts who deal with fraud cases every single day, is that we keep tossing away security in the charm of convenience with everything we do – from shopping to dating to living.  “Women tend to get careless about posting their pictures. Is putting a DP mandatory? Fake profiles with fake pictures do not grow out of nowhere. Our carelessness breeds fraud. So please, whatever platform or app we use, it is our responsibility to put privacy over features.” Mukesh C reminds.

Vulnerability to Cybercrime | Tech Tips for the Pepper Spray Woman

Even picking your phone or gadget should have privacy and safety as a priority over how well and how fast its camera or data is. “Security preferences are seldom in their consideration domain when women pick a new phone.  They need to update themselves with technology. Do not compromise security with bells and whistles.” Mukesh C, who has recently seen a surge of financial crime in cybercrime space, strongly advises.  His advice, backed by some fresh cases witnessed in Rajasthan alone, holds a lot of water in the current phase of cybercrime evolution where it is not hackers but fraudsters that we need to be wary about. Yes, think of the person sitting in a company’s customer care unit, and not of a coder, as someone who can easily pull off a financial fraud.


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Vulnerability to Cybercrime | Tech Tips for the Pepper Spray Woman

Another thing that Mukesh C warns specially of is the tendency to be careless about one’s mobile phone or locks. “Lock apps, browsers, email, messages etc. everything – not just the phone. Handing over your phone to someone who wants to make a quick call can seem harmless but remember; it takes only 60 seconds for someone to download a malicious app on your phone. Use passwords instead of patterns as just seeing someone’s fingers trace by putting the phone against light is enough to guess a pattern lock. You do not want someone to be spooking on everything you do and everywhere you are via your phone, do you?

But this question itself begs thought. And honesty. The recklessness with which we post what-we-are-eating-and-where or what-we-are-watching or what-we-are-thinking is such an easy trail for any creep or fraudster to make use of.

Whether it is Facebook or Instagram or online dating sites, do not give too much away.  Intimate conversations and too much personal information should only be indulged in when you are sure of a person’s credibility.

India’s top-notch female detective Rajani Pandit cites the case of a woman who trusted an online friend from abroad too much too soon so much that she spilled information about her family’s weak spots and relationship-cracks with her children. It only took some cajoling and easy con-man ship for the man to steal away a lot of her money and emotions after that.

Vulnerability to Cybercrime | Tech Tips for the Pepper Spray Woman

Too much personal information on mobile phones, befriending strangers on social media and being careless about where you are going (use spy-camera checks if needed) or with location details through apps – it is not so tough for someone to use technology against you,” she shares by squeezing the truth out of her own case-histories and observations.

Asim Sarode, a human rights specialist and lawyer seconds that suggestion emphatically. “Sharing personal feelings, uploading personal pictures and giving time-to-time updates about oneself – we are inviting trouble ourselves. A sharp-minded person can easily capture your mindset and personality by adding together what you post and show online. Fake profiles can be disturbingly believable too.”

Some general tips never go out of fashion. Like using a card machine to pay in front of you instead of handing it over to a staff person. In fact, with some hot cases seen by cybercrime fighters in the state, card-cloning is a real threat. Watching for plastic material or anything that seems funny or out of place in an ATM machine – is a sign to run for the hills or for the bank authorities. Magnetic Stripe Readers are used a lot but also easy to spot because they are made of cheap plastic and anyone who is slightly alert can see them, Mukesh C tells.

Privacy, care and caution – these mantras, ironically, are as applicable in the world of strong and independent women today as they were yesterday.

Asim S sums it up perfectly – do not be too visible, available and predictable online.

So girls enjoy the joys of being as free as a bee but stay away from the honey traps. Now go back to the first Para and think (tell us in the Comments below…and we will let you know if you cracked it Right!!) of what would you do differently if you were that woman . Ahan! A smart woman?

Images are representative Data Source: Nielsen Informate Mobile Insights

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