Gone are the days when fun and fame was the only reason why cyber hijackers used to hack. Now the focus has shifted towards another “f” word – fortune. Cyber hijacking is easy money, with potentially huge returns. This has resulted in the increase in value of cyber hijackers and mafia, with the value of the secret data they steal ranging from a few dollars to thousands. $2 for your official name, $10 for cell number, $500 to $1500 for credit card number and $500 to $2000 for bank customer ID and PIN.The value is especially raised manifold when they deal in corporate information. The fact that these cyber nerds can outsmart most of the people out there and the sophistication attached to the business makes it proliferate in all aspects and dimensions.
So how does a person fall prey to the cyber mafia?
There are three popular methods of performing online frauds and thefts – phishing, pharming or skimming. In phishing, the attacker can impersonate a bank or a financial institution and ask for crucial information like credit card number, bank account number, etc. Pharming can be performed by installing virus on the victim’s computer through a phishing mail which changes the host files in the DNS settings or tamper with the DNS server software that redirects it to another fraudulent website. Skimming means physically scanning or recording credit and debit card information while performing transactions.
Using either phishing or pharming, the victim’s computer turns into a bot, which is a name given to a hijacked computer. The spyware/malware is installed on it and that sends all the critical information about the victim’s bank accounts and credit or debit cards to the attacker or revealing his passwords. Thousands of computers are turned into bots on a daily basis in India alone and the number is even more staggering when talking on world level. Recent surveys and reports in India suggest that Mumbai is leading the list of the cities where such cyber attacks are most prominent, with approximately a third of all cyber crimes being committed there. That is followed by other major metropolitan cities like Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore.
Cyber mafia deals in crucial information like credit and debit card numbers, expiry date and PIN, bank account numbers, NetBanking and Phone Banking passwords, etc. Such critical information is then encashed in the form of e-gold or money transfer. This is done in order to avoid the risk of getting exposed.
Users nowadays must become increasingly aware of their activities online in order to prevent getting tracked or to protect their private data like credit or debit card information, bank account details and passwords from being stolen. Granted that the security measures in computers, DNS servers, firewalls, and antivirus software is becoming increasingly strong by the day but they are not foolproof and that, coupled with the increasing smartness and the tech savvy nature of cyber mafia, calls for some constant vigil from the users’ side. It is strictly advisable not to download content or fill out forms from even seemingly legit sources because they are the main source of phishing or pharming attacks. A little awareness can go a long way to avoid falling prey to these cyber attacks and keep your private information safe and secure.