Impact Of Cybercrimes & How Women Can Stay Safe From Cyber Threats

Nov 23, 2021, 15:56 IST


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Because of the pandemic, 2020 was the year of digital acceleration, with work happening remotely, remote education, remote shopping, online banking etc. We have also had new user groups like children, the elderly, people in the rural areas, and small shop owners join in the internet traffic. While digital is proliferating at a rapid pace, there is very little cyber and privacy awareness, which makes people vulnerable to cyber-crimes and online frauds. Deepa Seshadri, Partner, Deloitte India and Manishree Bhattacharya, Manager, Deloitte India, take us through how to stay away from the threats and be safe in the volatile world of the internet.

Overall, cyber-crime cases have increased by 11.8% in 2020. Cyber-crime cases against women have increased by 24%, and cases against children have increased by 261%, according to Crime in India – Statistics Volume II by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

These are a wide range of crimes from bank frauds, identity theft, blackmailing, fake news, harassment, exploitation, violation of privacy, morphing etc. It really makes it important that cyber and privacy awareness become accessible to everyone, and such education on basic hygiene should start from home, and who better than our mothers to educate and reinforce such good practices.

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This is how women especially mothers can ensure they and her family are safe from cyber threats and why mothers should take an interest in the same:

• We believe that cyber literacy should start from home and who best to inculcate good cyber hygiene and behaviour than our mothers. After all, mothers have traditionally been the first teachers.
• Mothers have this inherent ability to be extra vigilant when it comes to their children, and proper awareness and education of mothers can truly help is creating cyber safe homes
• Also, drawing a correlation from cyber businesses, its image as a male-dominated profession needs to change. Gender diversity leads to the diversity of thoughts, and perspectives, which are important in order to understand the evolving cyber threat landscape to manage threats effectively. Women are well poised to do so given the innate ability to be cautious, problem solvers, and crisis managers. All we need is to equip them with the right cyber and privacy knowledge.

Impact Of Cyber-Crimes On Mental Health

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According to Crime in India – Statistics Volume II by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a total of 10,405 cyber-crimes against women were reported in 2020. From cyber blackmailing, cyberstalking, defamation, morphing, women are subjected to several online crimes and frauds. Similarly, when it comes to children, about 1,102 cases were recorded in 2020.

There is an element of social and psychological impact on the individual facing cyberbullying, stalking, harassment etc. As a mother, it becomes all the more important to take note of changing behaviours in children, if they suddenly become poor in academics, become recluses, avoid going out, meeting friends, or even being online, and showing sudden violent behaviours. It is important to keep the communication channel open with children, and if such a case is identified, mental rehabilitation of affected kids is as important as registering a complaint.

Appropriate Online Behaviour - Sensitivity Towards Gender, Mental Health, And Diversity
Another important aspect is diversity sensitisation at home that can truly help children and others offer their best behaviour online while dealing with people who have alternate thinking. Important to inculcate the behaviour of mutual respect and a healthy way to ‘agree to disagree.

How To Protect The Family?

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• Securing the devices (passwords, anti-virus, anti-spyware)
• Keeping software updated
• Using authentic sites to download software
• Not using public wifi
• Encouraging using strong passwords, and multi-factor authentication
• Managing browser settings to provide optimal security
• Disabling Bluetooth, location etc. when not in use
• Giving minimal permissions to apps
• Reviewing privacy settings on social media
• Keeping phones locked when not in use

• Not falling for phishing click baits (message/email from unknown sender, prizes, bonus etc.)
• Not responding to friend requests from unknown senders on social media
• Being careful about the personal details being shared online (limit as much as possible)
• Not sharing any bank details, mobile numbers, etc. – banks and other authentic institutions never ask for such details.
• Staying vigilant about any suspicious bank activities – knowing how to block ATM cards/credit cards in case of any suspected frauds
• Being careful about using any and every eCommerce site – choose COD and avoid paying online if not sure.
• Being careful and managing appearances on video calls

• If bank fraud is suspected, contact the bank’s local branch or relationship manager
immediately. Block ATM card/credit cards
• Filing an FIR
• Filing a cyber complaint - National Cyber-crime reporting portal
• National Commission for Women (NCW) – registering complaints through emails [email protected]
[email protected]
• Talk to family and friends and don’t hesitate to ask for support
• Supporting

For Cyber Bullying or Harassment:
1. Assuring the kid about their safety
2. Listening to them carefully, without judging
3. Enhancing privacy settings on social media apps
4. If the bully is from the school, raising the issue with the school authority
5. If there are threats to life, raising a police complaint
6. Also, capturing all the necessary evidence that can support the complaint
7. Creating a supportive environment at home
8. Helping the child to mentally heal through counselling and other means

Also Read: Online habits that leave you open to cyber stalking