One must primarily ensure that operating systems such as windows in computers or laptops are updated frequently and they are free from any virus. It is a basic precaution to be taken for preventing cyber crime, said Pratap Reddy, Inspector-General of Police, Western Range.

Mr. Reddy, who had earlier served as Senior Director, Cyber Security, NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies) for over two-and-half years, said: “Operating systems should be basically clean and not corrupt.”

He said one must ensure that latest anti-virus software was installed in the system to prevent from becoming victims of online threat.

Mr. Reddy said that one should not use cyber cafes or any unknown computer and public computers for online banking transactions or sharing personal and secret information.

“When working online don't share your personally identifiable information with others. When using wireless network proper wireless security measures should be taken,” he said.

The IGP said that computer users should avoid using easily predictable passwords such as names of their wives or children. Instead, alphanumeric characters should be used as password.

“Don't write personal identification number (PIN) in ATM cards. Such cards can be easily misused,” he said.

Mr. Reddy said that a computer user should change the password periodically. A person while allowing others to use his or her personal computer should provide access through guest access for preventing misuse of the computer. One must be cautious about replying to fishy mails. “No bank through an e-mail will ask its customers to furnish their user name and password,” he said.

Mr. Reddy said that most cyber crimes go underreported.

Meanwhile, V. Shiva Kumar, Assistant Director, Andhra Pradesh Police Academy, in an article “cyber crime – prevention and detection” hosted in the website www.cidap.gov.in writes that organisations and the Government could adopt certain security steps.

He writes: “There is a security administration's tool called UNIX, which is freely available on Internet. This utility scans and gathers information about any host on a network, regardless of which operating system or services the hosts were running. It checks the known vulnerabilities including bugs, security weakness, and inadequate password protection and so on.”

Mr. Kumar says: “There is another product available called COPS (Computer Oracle and Password System). It scans for poor passwords, dangerous file permissions, and dates of key files compared to dates of CERT security advisories.”

Some of the cyber crimes such as network intrusion are difficult to detect, he writes.

Karnataka police department on its website www.ksp.gov.in asks computer users to use a firewall as a gatekeeper between the computer and the Internet. Firewalls are software products. They are essential for those who keep their computers online through the popular DSL and cable modem connections but they are valuable for those who still dial in.

It asks computer users not to keep computers online when not in use. Either shut them off or physically disconnect them from Internet connection, the website says.

Keywords: cyber crimephishing

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