Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Are you next on cybercriminals radar?

Cybercrime is rising at an alarming rate. Despite the increasing awareness about cybercrime and ways to protect ourselves from the spying eyes of hackers and scammers, cyber attacks continue to plague our digital world. According to a new research conducted by iYogi Insights, nearly 30% of the Americans have become victims of cyber theft, including online scams, credit card frauds, and identity thefts.

iYogi conducted an online survey on its 2,000 customers to gain an understanding about online security, cybercrime, information sharing, and related issues, and recorded some astonishing figures. iYogi Insights also referred to a study released by Javelin Strategy & Research that found out that in the year 2011, more than 11.6 million US adults became victims of identity frauds.

The world is adopting the digital route
Every day, more and more people are adopting the digital road for settling their bills, shopping online, getting in touch with their loved ones, and doing various kinds of bank transactions. Internet is rapidly becoming the shopper’s paradise and there has been a steep rise in revenues garnered through online shopping.

As per the Forrester study, it is projected that by the year 2016, the total amount of money spend by an average American in online shopping will be around $1,738. So, with a rise in the use of Internet, it is natural that Internet has also attracted cyber thieves, who develop new sophisticated ways to swindle people off their hard-earned money.

iYogi Insights team reported that even though 78% of the Americans use Internet for various online activities, only 19.32% followed secured means of transactions. Thus, USA ranks in the list of bottom five protected countries in the world from cyber crime.

Hackers invent new ways to scam people
Hackers are designing new and improved techniques to fool online users to seize their personal information and financial data. They go to great extent to cheat customers and steal their money. To make their operations look genuine, they create fake e-mail ids to send infected e-mail attachments; build phony websites and shopping portals that resemble the original ones; and design various types of phishing attacks like credit card frauds, identity thefts, and malicious codes.

The survey conducted by the team of iYogi Insights recorded figures that are a cause of serious concern. They show that instead of being cautious about their online activities, many of the Americans are ignorant. The figures show that out of the group of people surveyed, as many as 10% have been the victims of at least three different types of crimes and nearly 20% of the Americans do not follow any protection while surfing online.

iYogi also recorded a survey by McAfee, according to which, one out every five PCs in America have zero antivirus protection. This puts people using these PCs at a greater risk of identity theft and data loss.

Many people are unaware of safe online practices
The iYogi Insights team also discovered that many of the people are still ignorant about the basic constituents of online safety and are completely clueless about precautions that they must adopt while sharing their sensitive information, which can, otherwise, put their online identity at stake.

Here is a metaphoric analysis of what iYogi Insights team recorded:

  • 30% of the Americans don’t consider their date of birth as sensitive information
  • 10% of the people studied think that it is safe to share their credit card numbers and details
  • 11% don’t think that bank account numbers should not be disclosed
  • 40% think that it is safe to share their full name, address, and personal e-mail ID
  • 73% don’t consider their employer’s name to be confidential information
  • 67% of the consumers believe that by browsing safe sites, they are protected from virus threats and cyber theft
  • 66% of all think they are protected if they don’t use public computers for online transactions
  • At least 15% of the respondents know someone who has been victims of cybercrime
The numbers are too scary. Even though there is a wealth of information floating on the Internet about online scams and ways to safeguard ourselves from hackers, some of us are still unaware of the facts and are ready to compromise our personal identity without realizing its ill effects.

iYogi found out that every sixth respondent in the group of population studied had a friend who had been a victim of these scams.

Some basic online safety tips & tricks

While online, we must adopt some basic safety measures that include:
  1. While browsing social networking sites, connect only with those people whom you know and trust
  2. Create separate profiles for personal and professional purpose
  3. Log off your account after finishing your browsing session
  4. Always use virtual keypad to enter your passwords and other bank details
  5. Be careful while shopping online. Shop only with reputable companies and do not fill your personal details if the site is being redirected. It could be a scam
  6. Change your passwords every 15 days and be sure that they include a series of numbers, letters, and symbols
  7. Do not reveal your full name, address, or any other professional details to strangers
  8. Regularly check your credit card transaction details to look for false or fraudulent activity
iYogi Insights team firmly believe that everyone must follow adequate online security measures whether you are interacting with your friends on social media, managing business, doing online shopping, or carrying out bank transactions. You should also protect your sensitive personal information from the prying eyes of the cybercriminals.