Undoubtedly, every one of us is excited about the internet and therefore, we have immediately resorted to becoming virtual citizens. The Goa government’s initiative to provide schools with internet and make Wi-Fi networks and hotspots available for the people harps for another important requirement of a digital literacy programme. It becomes even more necessary when the state is facing several cybercrime cases.
As per Goa police, 90 cybercrimes against women were reported in 2022 and until August this year, they had received 52 complaints. This is more than twice as many incidents as were reported in 2021 which totalled 38. Cybercriminals are stealing money and fiddling with bank accounts with a variety of strategies. These include proposals for marriage, swindles that steal money and hearts, and blackmail via explicit images. It is the responsibility of each of us to ensure cyber security.
Vulnerabilities abound because, as soon as you turn on your gadget, you are subject to traps designed by thieves that prey on a variety of human weaknesses and desires. The lures range from jobs abroad for young people struggling to make ends meet to cryptocurrency for those looking to make a big money move. They also include marriage proposals for the lonely and offers of international franchises for those hoping to break into a bigger business league.
Sex is a temptation that leaves victims reeling from severe embarrassment and financial losses, which may deter some from approaching the police. Unknowingly, victims frequently work with predators in cooperation. Offers that seem too good to be true can deceive even highly intelligent people. It is anticipated that cybercrime-focused gangs in India and beyond will utilize the upcoming 5G technology.
Fraudsters also utilize sextortion and fake social media profiles in addition to these schemes to defraud the gullible of their money. Goa’s law enforcement authorities have prepared for the challenge of cybercrimes by investing in awareness campaigns, training and skill enhancements. In 2022, Goa police conducted lectures and seminars on combating cybercrimes, training 30,000 students and other stakeholders in the process.
Cybercrime trends in Goa include phishing, which involves sending emails resembling genuine parties; vishing, which involves tricking people into providing data through phone calls; smishing, which uses cellphone text messages to lure consumers; cyber libel, which involves defamation written on a website; slander, which is spoken defamation; cyberstalking, where victims are virtually followed online anonymously; social media imposters who create profiles using another person’s name or photograph; and fraudvertising, which involves redirecting victims to fake websites with various offers or business opportunities. These trends highlight the need for increased awareness of cybercrime in Goa to protect vulnerable individuals and businesses.
There are two categories of cyber defamation: malvertising and pharming. Pharming is the practice of a scammer inserting harmful code onto a user’s computer or server so that, without the user’s knowledge or agreement, clicks are forwarded to fake websites. Malvertising is the practice of flooding websites with dangerous code-containing adverts that lead visitors to fake websites or files that are infected with malware.
Social media fraud entails the con artist looking through the victim’s profile to create a profile of a wealthy person or someone the victim could find appealing. Subsequently, they employ social engineering techniques to entice the sufferer to transfer funds into multiple bank accounts. Up until they are unable to make any more payments, the victim may deposit money.
It’s critical to understand the hazards and refrain from disclosing personal information online in order to prevent cyber defamation. Refrain from making friends with random people, taking ads at face value, disclosing too much personal information and using weak passwords. Don’t give strangers your credit or debit card information when withdrawing cash from an ATM.
Avert keeping passwords or bank account information in plain text on your phone, only connect when necessary, and only use authentic software that you update on a regular basis. Enter website addresses into search fields rather than clicking on search results, and double-check customer support numbers, particularly if you get them from search engines.
There is also a dire need to create a digital literacy program for children and youth who are more vulnerable to these cybercrimes. And it is sure going to be a worthwhile endeavour, particularly in light of the growing significance of digital competencies in today’s society. The goal of a thorough digital literacy program should be to provide people with the information and abilities needed to use digital technology sensibly and successfully.
Online safety, phishing attempt detection and secure browsing are all aspects of internet literacy as are online discussions, social media best practices and email etiquette. Information literacy is the ability to assess online data and steer clear of false information. Digital citizenship includes responsible social media use, privacy protection and ethical online conduct. As virtual citizens let us be aware of these trends and carefully navigate through them, safeguarding our mental health and creating a safe virtual space.