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Phishy business

lifestyle Updated: Jun 02, 2013 01:02 IST
Sneha Mahale
Sneha Mahale
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

When your mom told you to not talk to strangers, she probably forgot to warn you about online threats. Because if anti-virus giant Symantec’s Intelligence Report 2013 is to be believed, phishing is on the rise in India and around the world.

The numbers suggest that one in 466.3 emails is some kind of phishing attack and the practice has gone up by 19% just this month. And, with social networking taking off in India, users on sites such as Facebook and Twitter are fast becoming easy targets for those looking to acquire personal credentials fraudulently.

“Phishing is essentially an online con game through which phishers try to acquire a netizen’s personal credentials. With the rise of social media in India, people have started exploiting this platform,” says Ritesh Chopra, country sales manager, Norton by Symantec, a company that specialises in computer security software.

Chopra adds that such attackers are experimenting with different fake social media applications to lure users using spam, malicious websites, emails and instant messages and trick them into divulging sensitive information, such as bank and credit card details.

Recent attempts include one in which the Facebook login page was duplicated. Users were drawn to a new page that claimed to have several new features for Indian users. Several netizens could not identify the difference and became victims unknowingly.

Vital stats
51% social network users have fallen victim to cyber crime on various social networking platforms.
83% believe that cyber criminals are setting their sights on social networks.
22% social network users report that someone has hacked into their profile and pretended to be them.
15% social network users have fallen victim to a scam or fake link on social network platforms.
37% of respondents have accepted friend requests from people they don’t know.
31% have received posts or messages that they suspect are not actually from friends.

Source: Norton Cyber crime
Report 2012 (India)

Combat Cyber Crime

Be wary of emails asking for confidential information — especially of a financial nature.
Don’t get pressurised into providing sensitive information. Phishers like to use scare tactics, and may threaten to disable an account or delay services until you update certain information.
Familiarise yourself with a website’s privacy policy.
Watch out for generic-looking requests. Fraudulent emails are not personalised, while authentic emails from your bank often reference an account.
Never submit confidential information via forms embedded within email messages.
Never use links in an email to connect to a website. Instead, open a new browser window.
Maintain effective software to combat phishing.