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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Cracking cyber crime smartly

A peculiarity of these crimes is that the victim’s willingness contributes to perpetration of the crime and then he would hesitate to approach the police to report the crime for the fear of being ridiculed.

And even if the law enforcement agencies are informed, bringing the culprit to book is next to impossible, as he could be anywhere in the world.

Realising the need to rope in the stakeholders in fighting the cyber crime, the Hyderabad police have launched an ambitious programme - ‘Delete’ in which netizens are to be educated about the various modus operandi which are used by cyber fraudsters to dupe gullible people.

Under this programme, the city police have roped in the ‘cyber evangelists’ – active netizens who play the role of creating awareness about cyber frauds and make them ‘cyber smart’.

The programme was launched by the Commissioner of Police, B. Prasada Rao at a cyber café in SR Nagar. The message is rather simple.

With most of the cyber frauds originating from the emails, the cyber cops want people to very cautious in opening any type of emails they get from strangers. It could be a simple mail informing the recipient about ‘winning a lottery’ or an email seeking help to ‘unlock’ the funds stashed away in a bank in ‘Burkina Faso’ by a Minister who got killed in a road accident, or simply a mail asking you to furnish details of your bank accounts or telephone numbers. Just ‘Delete’ them – is the message.

Spam mail

Noticeably there has been a multi-fold increase in spam mail one gets everyday and despite all the cyber brouhaha created over what have now come to be called as the Nigerian Frauds, people continue to fall for the scamsters. In some cases reported in Hyderabad, a woman from Amberpet lost Rs. 12 lakh and a family in Chaderghat lost Rs. 33 lakh and a businessman lost Rs. 90 lakh by clicking the mouse twice.

It’s not just the Nigerian Frauds -- Phishing, illegal posting of pictures and mobile numbers on porn websites, credit card frauds, email hacking -- the list goes on and on.

“It is easy to lose money on the internet and impossible to recover,” says R.S. Praveen Kumar, DCP of Detective Department, the brain behind the ‘Delete’ programme.

Cyber mantras

There are some cyber mantras that can be followed to avoid being cheated by cyber vandals.

The ‘cyber evangelists’ assisting the police are a group of ethical hackers and the police propose to initially sensitise the managers of cyber cafes which are used by youngsters mostly.

The cafes would be provided with posters listing out the do’s and don’ts. For more information people could log onto ‘www.hyderabadpolice. gov.in’.

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