Wednesday, 27 October, 2021
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OPINION

COVID-19 And The Threat Of Cybercrime



Kumar Abhinav

 

The world is now in the grip of COVID-19. Most of the developed countries of the world have been badly affected by the virus. Compared to other countries, the number of infected people in Nepal is low. Due to this virus, countries of the world including Nepal are in lockdown situation.
When the world is in a lockdown state, hackers feel like they are not in lockdown. This allows hackers to steal important data from Internet users or even control a user's device and use it for future attacks.
Cybercrime is a form of crime in which the computer is considered as an object of crime hacking, phishing and is used as a tool to commit any crime such as theft, espionage, child pornography. Cyber criminals use the Internet to gain access to personal information, phishing, etc., and also use the internet to make the personal information of an organisation or person viral. The following are some of the major cyber crimes that have increased recently:
Phishing attack: Cybercriminals caught up in the global COVID-19 epidemic are taking advantage of the current situation. But now hackers and cyber scammers send information to Fakemail, whatsapp, viber and send it to the internet users, forcing them to click on this link.Clicking on the bad link brings out the much needed information like personal information, password and money. Currently, COVID-19 funds are found in various countries and institutions around the world. Hackers generate fakemail with the same name and send it to everyone and let the Internet users click there.

How to avoid phishing attack?
• Before logging in to any social networking site, you should check the URL address. For example, if you login to your Facebook account, the URL of that website or webpage should be www.facebook.com.
• Hackers are found to have sent various mails related to COVID-19. Do not open such mail and click on any link attached to it. Do not download the document.
Cyber ​​Bullying: As the lockdown period increases in the world, the pressure of using technology can be high. At present, most of the youths seem to have gone into technology. Looking at the latest statistics, it is found that cyber bullying has increased in Nepal. Cyber ​​bullying is a cybercrime that can happen to anyone in today's digital age, but many children fall victim to it due to lack of information about cybercrime. Sometimes at first we don't even realise that someone is threatening us online? Someone may be a known person, friend, relative or anonymous person we mix online on social media platforms or gaming portals and make friends with them. In cyber ​​bullying, they bully may spread dirty messages, direct threats or any unsolicited rumors against you.

How to Avoid Cyber ​​Bullying?
• Never share your personal information, such as a birth date or phone number with someone on a social media platform. You can go to the privacy settings of social media and choose there who can see your information in social posts.
Digital Payment Scams: The virus is now wreaking havoc in the virtual world due to the global outcry caused by COVID-19. And scammers use it as a temptation for cybercrime. For example you are tempted by a free netflix subscription for the entire locked down period and you click on it and fill out the survey and if you send it to ten viber, whatsapp etc. users want their personal information.

How to avoid digital payment fraud?
When working from home during the current locked down period, make sure you have a secure VPN connection to the corporate network and restrict the access rights of the people associated with it. If the file download is .exe then do not download the file. In addition, all devices, including your mobile phones, desktop and laptop computers, must be protected by antivirus protection software.

Where to report online frauds in Nepal?
Just a few months ago, The ATM hacking case in Nepal a few months ago can show how much Nepal’s cyber ​​security is at risk. The statistics of the last few years show that cybercrime is increasing in Nepal. But those people who are victims of cybercrime don't do much about it. So here is how you can file a complaint or report against cybercrime:
You can mail the cybercrime complaint to the cyber cell of Nepal Police (cyberbureau@nepalpolice.gov.np), or you can also lodge a complaint in person. The Cyber ​​Department deals with complaints filed online and offline.

How to be safe from cyber threats?
You should remember that cybercriminals use every opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities in cyber security. It is true that you are not completely safe online. You can avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime by following the prevention tips mentioned below:
• By educating yourself with the types of cybercrime that exist on the internet.
• When you're checking emails or chatting on Messenger, be careful when clicking on the link attached to a message sent by an unknown person.

(The author is a cyber security analyst)