Sunday, 1 August, 2021

Beware Of Hackers

In this digitised age, people have benefitted from various computer applications and internet-driven online services that are available at their fingertips. Internet, computers and smart phones have made everything accessible online. From banking services, buying or selling of merchandises, medical services, airline tickets, hotels, restaurants, foods and many more are available just with a click on one's smart phones. A person who would earlier run errands can now sit back at home and avail all these services easily.

The rise of online and internet services has its flip side though. Those who have benefitted from the digitised services have found themselves at the receiving end as the cyber fraudsters, impostures and hackers have troubled them a lot in recent times. People these days are receiving a plethora of fake calls about phony schemes from fraudsters and impostures while cyber hackers are found breaching other's privacy and stealing vital information from individuals, government and private institutions. Lately, several Nepalis have complained about fake schemes regarding sham lotteries and other phony schemes. They have been cheated through messaging apps, Viber, Imo and WhatsApp forcing the police to issue notice requesting the public not to believe in messages that are sent informing that they have won some lotteries or have been entitled of receiving some schemes. The fake messages and calls often ask an individual about bank account and personal details. Some credulous and gullible persons even fall in the trap laid down by these fraudsters and provide them with money or give them personal details.

Not only this, there are several computer applications that apply different ways to impress upon a user to provide them with their personal details, which are, it is said, used for stealing naïve users’ personal information. These apps owners later use the personal details to hack into the bank accounts or to breach the users' privacy. Some hackers with malicious intent try to defile the character of the users by posting undesired posts on the users’ social media accounts. Hackers also pose threats to governmental and non- governmental organisations as they often hack into the computer system to steal vital information and details of the organisations which they utilise for their own gains. Here, it would be pertinent to mention the hacking incident of an online conference held by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation using ZOOM app a few days ago. Professional hackers hacked the programme and then showed the gumption of running a porn movie at the conference, forcing the organiser to postpone the conference immediately.

All the above incidents suggest us to remain aware of online fraudsters, hackers and dubious computer apps that try to cheat us through various means and ways. In modern time, phone and computer apps, official websites and online services do form a vital part of a person's everyday life and are an important entity for the government and private organisations. Without them, life comes to a standstill. People and government departments, therefore, need to remain alert against the fake messages and cyber-attacks for protecting their privacy and vital information. A strong implementation of the cyber law aimed at these fraudulent online activities and cyber-attacks can well be an effective deterrent against such malicious intents.