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COVID-19 lockdown impact: Cyber crimes surge; beware of opening that link, app

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COVID-19 lockdown impact: Cyber crimes surge; beware of opening that link, app

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Work from home and social distancing amid the nationwide-lockdown have caused a surge in internet usage. The flip side is that this has also led to a steep rise in cyber crimes.

COVID-19 lockdown impact: Cyber crimes surge; beware of opening that link, app
Work from home and social distancing amid the nationwide-lockdown have caused a surge in internet usage. Investors are seeking online investment avenues, television anchors have turned living rooms into mini studios and there is a record number of video conferencing apps across the globe being downloaded. Data shows 62 million downloads of video conferencing apps in one week in March as meetings shift online.
Personal apps like House Party are becoming popular. Online music concerts, jam sessions, and kirtans are ensuring that all age groups are part of the online community!
On the flip side, this has also led to a steep rise in cyber crimes.
Cybersecurity expert Amit Dube estimates that the number of cyber frauds and attacks may have nearly doubled.
“There are 8-10 ways that the fraudsters are preying on the gullible,” says Dubey. These can be in the form of apps, links, websites trying to give you fake information, accessing your details, duping you of money in your account or sending a virus to your system.  Amit recommends checking all links on a website called "Virustotal.com", for authenticity before you open them.
Even the PM Cares Fund was targeted with people being tricked into transferring money to a fake account claiming to be that of the PM Cares Fund.
Dubey said in many instances, fraudsters have been able to disguise phishing e-mails as official notifications.
There have been instances where notifications from supposed public health centers come with attachments that promise to provide more details on preventative measures against corona-virus infections.
The number of newly registered domains related to coronavirus has increased since the outbreak has become more widespread. The authorities have reported near 5,000 such websites registered which have themes related to COVID-19. The Delhi police’s cybercrime unit last week released a list of at least 70 such COVID-19 related websites that it had deemed ‘potentially dangerous.’
Dubey also said many fake websites offered to sell medical masks without any shipping charges.
Checkpoint, a multinational provider of software and combined hardware for IT security, including network security recently observed a huge number of domains registered with the names that include “Zoom”. Zoom is one of the biggest video communication platforms globally.
Supreme court lawyer Khushboo Jain says that when you detect a breach, one should immediately register it at the app store itself of google and apple.  One can also register complaints with CERT-IN, which is The Indian Computer Emergency Response team . It has an office within the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. They deal with cyber threats like hacking and phishing.
In the meanwhile here are some Do’s and Donts’
to you stay home safe!
  • Do check the purpose of the app you are downloading
  • Does it require access to location, network, storage
  • Do you need to give access to your contact list, pictures, camera, mike
  • Allow access for Camera, Audio, Phone book for most important apps only
  • Download apps from Google Play Store and Apple app store only. Avoid downloads from a direct link.
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