You must be using cyber space (internet) to stay connected with the world, friends and family but do you know how to stay secure? Do you know you can be a victim of a cyber-crime if you don’t use internet prudently? The current era has allowed us to connect online via social media, mobile apps, emails (Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, WhatsApp, Yahoo mail, Gmail etc.) unprecedentedly through lightning internet speed and with evolved mobile technology. We all are tempted or due to the need of current time become part of such online community. Without giving a second thought, we start sharing lots of information online. This rush of choice in connecting to the world and sharing of enormous personal information results in slip in vigil about information and cyber security, thus falling prey to online fraud and abuse.
We all need to know the basics of cyber security which can help us to stay safe while connected online. Here I am going to tell you a true story about a kid who fell prey of cyber-crime and about to lose his control on his life. In this article you will know how the cyber predator got that kid trapped, how he could have saved himself and the protection mantra.
Online Games and the cyber-criminal:
Akash was a 13 years old kid and avid online gamer. It was his daily routine to play online games as soon as he returns from his school. After completing all the stages of a game, he usually started finding a new game. In doing so he came across a game where he can chat and talk with his opponents while playing it. It seemed as a very exciting game. Without wasting a moment, he had registered himself on that game. While registering, he was asked to fill his name, address, mobile number, age, number of family members, school name etc.
Akash was so tempted to play this game he filled all the information without giving a second thought and not knowing the risk of sharing such personal information online. After registering himself he was into the game, got an option to select his profile. He has selected as “DragonFire 65” as his profile. Now he had to pick his opponent with whom he could play the game. He scrolled through the profiles and sent a request to an online user. The game was a fight between two warriors. The battle had begun. Akash had defeated his opponent and was very happy with his prowess in the game. He was still looking at the screen thinking about the moves he had used while defeating his opponent. Suddenly a chat window popped up on the screen. It was saying “Well done Akash, well played, see you later”. Akash replied “thanks” and closed the game as his mom was calling him. This was the start of his conversation with his opponent. It become an everyday routine for Akash to play that game as it was becoming more and more interesting every day.
He became a good friend with his online opponent. They started sharing their interest, hobbies and future plans. As they became good friends, a moment came when they shared their photographs with each other. After couple of days his friend told that he has sent few photographs on his email. Akash was shell shocked as he appeared to be in-appropriate in those photographs. This was the day since Akash’s trouble had started. The online friend asked Akash if he would like to get such photographs posted on Facebook or circulated in his school. Akash was terrified and started begging to the online friend, don’t do such things. The online friend has asked Akash to send 10000/- to the given account. Akash managed to collect that amount and deposited in that account. The next day his online friend told him to collect a parcel kept outside his door and deliver it to an address which was far from his home.
Every day his online predator kept asking for money or forced him to do such jobs and threatened him of dire consequences if he does not follow his orders. Akash was in such a mess. One day the online predator asked him to share a picture of his mom’s debit card and the PIN number, then only he would stop. By sneaking, Akash was able to take the card’s picture and PIN and sent it to his online predator. The predator promised him not to upload his pictures if he will able to get money from his mom’s card. At the very same day Akash’s mom noticed that 500000/- were debited from her account. After inquiring and making sure that someone else has used the card she called the bank and police. After investigation with all the family members and checking the home laptop it was found that Akash has shared the debit card details to his online predator. Police did his job and caught the culprit and recovered the money. Akash and his family were lucky that this ordeal was over without any big damage. Akash has learnt his lesson and now he is spreading the cyber security awareness among children.
Here are some mantras for parents and children to protect themselves from cyber criminals and predators:
• If your kids are on social media, lock down their profile from public view.
• Talk to your child about not sharing their accounts or passwords to anyone.
• Talk to your children about appropriate behavior online, what kind of sharing is okay and what kind is not, and why.
• Spend time with your child to his/her online activities and know with whom they are interacting with.
• Check if your child is suddenly secretive about what they’re doing online, to the point of trying to hide what they’re doing, like suddenly putting the phone away or closing a laptop screen.
• If your child withdraws from being around family or friends in order to be online, suspect what he/she is about to do
• Never accept friend request from any unknown user/profile.
• Always keep strong password and keep it secret.
• If you feel uncomfortable interacting with anyone online, inform your parents and teachers.
• Never share your personal information online.
• Don’t keep your location service enabled in your app and mobile, enable it when you really needed it.
• Only enter personal information on a website if it has https:// and a secure lock icon in the browser's address bar
Rule # 1
Rule # 2