Now the next extortion call will not be from kidnappers but it will be from Hackers.
Today when the globe is moving forward to digitization there are many aspects still which are either not bothered about or it is over looked. Apart from the physical safety the second important thing is having yourself safe on the virtual world.
The virtual safety is becoming a serious concern. We dont give a single thought before saving the personal or professional information which can be very important and crucial, that it can lead to a potential loss to an individual or business. In 2015, two Indian business tycoons paid more than $5 million each to keep such information as a secret and from going to public.
A group of hackers stole their data from company's server which included the data that could put them in serious trouble if exposed. Eventually to save them a huge 'Ransom' was paid. Only post that the business men’s realized that their company servers were compromised from a long time and there was not surety that it would not happen again.
This was the first said case which of Ransom Hacking which also involved the corporate leaders of India. However, there are thousands of such cases each year that are not even reported.
India stands in top 5 countries across the world when it comes to ransom ware - malware attacks that force its victim to pay ransom.
How these ransom attacks are occurring? How the Hacker does manage to get such crucial information? This is a major question any individual will have it in mind. Manan Shah - Co founder and CEO Avalance Global solutions answers this with some real life examples and few techniques an hacker might use to blackmail you.
These hackers from a remote location encrypts your phone or system data and then would demand for 'ransom' or 'money' to unlock the system which is been encrypted. In such case if you refuse they will threaten you to destroy all the information forever and decrypting the information is a very intricate process and may not work every time. So eventually you are force to pay for your own information.
Dark web is a market of hackers and cyber criminals. There are many websites which sells the credit/debit card details, passwords and other online information at a very low cost of $2-$5dollors. However hackers can get much more out of such information and extract huge amount of money adds -Manan Shah
A ransom hacking victim from a city is Gujarat say - Ransom Hacking is like kidnapping one's family member or loved one virtually. He adds "We own a business of export and import and sales enquiries from other countries are a day to day part of our business. Couple of weeks ago we received such enquiry with an excel sheet attached. We only realized after opening the file that our complete data is been suddenly encrypted. Every single piece of data related to our business was lost in a friction of few seconds. Then a message popped up on our screen which said that we would have to make a payment in Bit coins through the given ID. Spontaneously we disconnected our computers from the network and seek an expert help to recover the loss.
Currently there is a new trend the hackers are adapting, now they are moving their focus from computers and servers to a commonly used daily devices like , Phones, cars, and also medical equipments.
Let’s take one of the hypothetical situation which is a fear to become a reality soon by the cyber experts. That is hacking medical equipment. Just to picture it let say, A machine is used to perform a remote surgery and everything is all set. The patient is on anesthesia and a doctors from a remote location are set to perform the surgery. As the surgery is about to start the machine which is been used is encrypted, doctors lose control over the operating device and nothing works. On the other side the hackers who were well aware about the exact schedule and the procedure which was been performed, have hacked into the medical device. The patient is on bed, the surgery is crucial and until you pay the ransom the hackers will not unlock the machine. This is one of the scenario we need to be well protected and safe on the virtual world.
How? What do we need to do? Manan Shah has some recommendations to conclude this --
• Do not ignore the security pop-ups that warn you about the unsafe websites.
• Pornographic website have pop ups and an accidental click can install a malware on your system.
• Always make sure that there are Multiple backups of your data
• Torrent sites are a usually a easy and a biggest traps. Videos can be infected with the malware, so beware before you download.
• In case of a ransom hack, disconnect the computer from the network so that the cyber criminals cannot have further access.
• Consult a cyber security expert or an ethical hacker.
• Check the email addresses and URLs before opening. Fake emailer’s and spear phishing (an email that appears to be from an individual or business that you know) can be detected through illegitimate or incorrect company names or URLs. For example, http:// instead of https://; www.icic1banks.com instead of www.icicibank.com)
It is important to be an internet literate in the digital world. Awareness is the best safety measure one can adopt. The cyber criminals are waiting for that one wrong move.
There are 5 myths which should not be believed.
1) Going incognito or using a private mode can protect you
2) The emails you send and receive are secure and private.
3) You have privacy rights against social media companies
4) Password protected public Wi-Fi are safe
5) Turning off the phone/putting it on flight mode keeps you from being tracked.