Forget Phising, Ransomware is the new threat in the virtual world of computing devices. It can rob you of your precious money. Ransomware is a malicious software designed to block access to a computing system until a sum of money is paid through a web gateway.
The danger has become more pronounced as the world goes from desktop to the convenience of palmtop with increasing use of smart phones.
The process usually starts when an unsuspecting user taps on the phone to download a feature-packed free app. It could even be an android defender app meant to defend your android device.
Actually a malware, it can take a computer hostage, by denying the user access to files and attempts to convince the user to purchase a full version of the software in order to remediate non-existing infections, thus qualifying as a ransomware. The application continues to pop up messages on the screen until the user pays up money through internet banking.
A case in point is an app called Android.defender, which is actually a fake one that locks up the device just like Ransomware. Most users do not have the capability to uninstall the malicious app as the malware attempts to prevent other apps from being launched. The threat also changes the settings of the operating system.
A sample study of 1000 users by Symantec found India to be the ransomware capital of Asia Pacific with 11% victims of virtual extortion. In addition to Ransomware, 56% of cybercrime victims in India have experienced online bullying, online stalking, online hate crime or other forms of online harassment in the last 12 months.
“At first glance of the India findings, we were happy to see a significant drop from last year in the total number of victims, but a closer scrutiny revealed an alarming trend,” said Ritesh Chopra of Norton, Symantec. Today’s cybercriminals are using more sophisticated attacks, such as ransomware and spear-phishing, which yield them more money per attack than ever before. With 66% of Indian consumers using their personal mobile device for both work and play, this creates entirely new security risks for enterprises as cyber criminals have the potential to access even more valuable information, says Ritesh.
The study also revealed that 61% Indians access social networks, 54% access personal emails, 44% shop online and 42% access their bank accounts through a public or unsecure Wi-Fi.
Cyber attacks in India at a glance
56% cybercrime victims experienced online bullying, stalking hate crime
50% victims of attacks of malware, virus, hacking, scams and thefts
US$4 Billion cost of cybercrime
US$207 average cost per victim
How to safeguard?
Use secure connections for sensitive transaction
Use strong alpha-numeric and symbol passwords
Use virtual keyboard for internet banking
Avoid giving smartphones to children
Be guarded while downloading free apps
Be discreet on social networks