A friend of mine lost 45,000 Rs. in few seconds, seemingly the legal way. Late in the evening, he received a phone call from the bank. He had faced problems earlier too. The bankers wanted to know a few details, which was always advised by the bank not to be shared ever to anyone even bank officials. However, the Banker was very courteous and the banker knew the UserID, Password, and just wanted the verification number sent through the SMS to help him protect his precious savings. In few minutes thereafter, his money vanished in to various online wallets and recharge services, to the thin air.
This could happen to you too, online threat landscape is increasing its footprint at a much faster pace than envisioned before. Today the callers are replaced with dozens of smart malwares, who could take control of your private life-to-life savings. You could fall prey to the traps hidden behind lucrative proposals to offers. One click and you lose control of your data – be it private personal information or your username, passwords saved safely in your seemingly safe computer or mobile.
In the recent past, the ransomware attacks have been more stealth in its nature and are more dangerous than was thought before. It has metamorphosed into multilayered attacks to steal, eavesdrop and take control of the device without you even knowing it. The recent versions of Ransomware have overshadowed all other methods of intrusions and destruction or you can stay stooped to cyber blackmail. It has left its destruction proof across large enterprises to individuals, costing billions of dollars.
With the sudden thrust to adopt digital life, India, has become a fertile ground for these ransomware to make their billions from unaware victims.
With the recent demonetization and the ‘go-cashless trend’ has seen a surge in the usage of digital payments, digital wallets and there is an increase in the user-base. The digital adoption in India now is more thrust driven to acceptance for living day-to-day life, than learning and adopting at a pace where you can learn or be aware of the pitfalls. But alas, it is here and now, and you ought to be alert like looking behind your back everytime you touch your wallet or receive a call from a banker.
With adoption comes change in habits, which is crucial for survival in the digital space. Since the root cause of such nefarious activities is dependent on our habits of trusting every passing information be it on whatsapp or heard from a friend, without verifying facts. With strong behavioral techniques deployed by these ransomware, you ought to be suspicious of everything you do with a double check to stay safe.
Few important things to know to protect your precious money in your wallet or banks are:
- Never Share these information
- Banking Account User-ID and Password
- One Time Password
- Card Number, Expiry Date, C.V.V. and P.I.N.
- Banks will never ask for this information
- Stay alert when someone asks for this information
Scammers are known to call up their victims or send phishing links via email, however, knowing very well that targeting a less tech-savy person would yield better results, hence, telephone call based scam method is most preferred method out here in India.
Ransomware targets mostly Pictures and Documents; on the contrary, Trojans / Viruses target our Browsers, File-systems, and keystrokes in order to steal our credentials and other sensitive documents. There are some, which may convert the compromised systems into bit-coin mining system, while others may create a networked system, popularly known as botnets.
Some of the tips to protect our online experience are:
- Use stronger passwords
- Enable Single Sign On with Multi-Factor Authentications.
- All of the devices and systems are backed up regularly.
- Systems are updated regularly
- Deploy Anti-Virus and Security Solution and update it regularly
- Attachments and Links in an email can be malicious, be wary before clicking/ opening them
We simply cannot take things for granted especially the digital aspect of our lives; we have to stay alert always.