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Beware, web is out to snare you

india Updated: Nov 04, 2006 13:37 IST

Think twice before you put your pictures and personal details like cell phone numbers on websites where these can be freely accessed.

Profiles of unsuspecting members of social networking sites and home pages are being increasingly replicated, pictures morphed and abused at an alarming rate. The targets are mostly women. In some cases, young women have found their pictures morphed and used for pornography.

A 22-year-old university student from Bathinda, Punjab, had to put in a frantic appeal to the web master and others users of the networking site she was on. Someone had stolen her pictures and contact details on her user profile and created a fake mirror profile.

She got to know of it only after she was flooded with obscene calls on her cell phone. "It was impossible to tell everyone who had read the fake profile that it was not me," she says.

For a student of MES College, Bangalore, the experience was even more harrowing. Her pictures were morphed and posted on the Internet. "She was disturbed for many days. She had put up pictures for her friends to see," her teacher told the Hindustan Times on Saturday.

Experts say with social networking sites becoming popular, such instances are rising alarmingly. “The bad news is that there is no way to stop this. You should avoid putting your pictures on the website," says cyber-security analyst Subimal Bhattacharjee. He adds that victims should approach the local police and the web master of the website where the manipulation has taken place. 

The police, too, think that the only way out is to avoid uploading pictures on the Net. The Thane police booked a 19-year-old management student, Abhishek, for faking a profile of his former schoolmate on September 28 this year. It was the first recorded case of its kind in the country.

Thane Dy Commissioner of Police Sanjay Shintre said in case of Abhishek, the police were able to achieve a breakthrough because the complainant was forthcoming.

At least 270 members of a popular networking site have complained of fake profiles being created in the last few weeks.