How Not To Get Scammed Online During Trips : A Primer'

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Your dream holiday can suddenly turn into a living nightmare if you are not on your guard. Ever since the World Wide Web or the internet has become the predominant force of the contemporary society, we have become more vulnerable to intrusion. If you are not careful, then you are basically setting yourself as sitting ducks to a lot of virtual Peeping Tom’s, unethical hackers, who can easily hack into our account to obtain private information ( which can be used for public defamation), sensitive or confidential information ( usually about your company) which are extracted by financial hackers and sold to competitors,. These are just a few instances of cyber crimes. Today in this article, we will highlight some examples of cyber crime and also provide some measures through which you can protect yourself from a breach of privacy.

Attack of Botnets : Online retail businesses often suffer the brunt of Botnets. This is a specific kind of malware which can bring down your retail website in no time in a DDos attack.

App Store Fraud : One of the most common cyber crimes on the rise. Here a cyber criminal will visit an online app store, camouflaging as a trader or customer and manipulate the open platform , cash on rebates and earn points from credit card incentive programs.

Mobile Hackers : Unethical hackers can very easily locate and infiltrate your mobile, steal account access credentials which will be used to gain sensitive information or drain money, or sold in the black market.

Stolen Credit Card Testing : Finance hackers can also steal our credit card, and use merchants debit/credit payment function to validate your card (without you being any wiser)

E Coupon Fraud : The fraudster takes advantage of online discounts. selects a heavily discounted item, but does not check out immediately. He obtains an e coupon, applies the discount to final purchase thus obtaining the product below the retailer’s cost.

Account Hijacking : The Mother of all Cybercrime. This type of hacking is most damaging as it not just carries the risk of financial loss, but also can lead to dispersion/leak of private information. In this case the hacker can obtain your username and password, and hack into your personal account.

Mass Registration Scam : Hackers and fraudsters create a bogus website resembling a legitimate website. Then they set up a fake discount offer/reward etc to lure unsuspecting customers into subscribing (using personal information) and gaining access to credit card numbers.

Now we will discuss how to avoid becoming a victim of these unethical hackers during your holiday.

  • Keep your anti malware anti virus programmes active : Remember you might be on a holiday, but it’s not advisable to send your antivirus software on a holiday as well. Keep protective software updated and ensure that the firewall of your PC laptop, or iphone is well maintained and active. Do not ( unless its an emergency) use a cyber cafe, or hotel computer, many tech savvy fraudsters will see this as a golden opportunity to hack your bank account. You might even become a victim of electronic eavesdropping ( ‘sniffing’’). Hackers can also install a keylogger in hotel or cyber cafe computers to record everything typed.

  • Be Wary of Indiscriminate Clicking : Quite a few number of malware will disguise themselves as legitimate software to trick you into clicking. Just stay away from click button when you see an unfamiliar email or new window.

  • Avoid making money transfers : Printing out a harmless document like exam admit card, plane ticket is fine, but stay away from money transfers if using any computer/laptop other than your own.

  • Change Your Passwords before & after the trip : Takes only a bit of time and saves you a world of regrets and losses. Also don’t create passwords based on your child/spouse/pet/favourite celeb name.

  • Disable geotagging : This feature on your iphone and Facebook enables people to track your whereabouts when you post a picture on social media.

  • Encrypt hard drive before you are ready to set out : Encrypted hard ware assures that even if your laptop gets stolen, the thief won’t be able to access your files and information. Also wipe sensitive data from your laptop before going on trip.

  • Inactivate Wireless Connections like Bluetooth if they are not being used.

  • Never share details of your vacation/trip etc before you commence the trip, or while you are on the trip.

Going on a well deserved, relaxing trip with your family and friends is perfect but do take steps to ensure that cybercrime does not end up sullying a pleasant holiday!

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