Tips towards a safer and more secure cyberspace

By: Pradipto Chakrabarty, Regional Director, CompTIA India 

The way India has moved towards the Digital world, it is facing not only the personal but also National Security challenges at every door. The increasing penetration of cyber-attacks and digital transactions has revolutionized the world; it has also spawned a series of cryptic threats -- the menaces of digital piracy, cyber-crime & stalking and online infidelity.

In today’s time, hackers have been penetrating the computer networks of companies that operate banks, Government, personal and other professional data. When now it has reached in the personal space as well, I would like to highlight the below points to have the safe internet experience:

1) Avoid secured work such as accessing banking applications or online shopping on unsecured network connections such as public Wi-Fi or third party wired network.For example, one should not use these applications on an airport or a hotel Wi-Fi.

2) Set strong password for your home Wi-Fi router. In most cases, people use the default password that comes along with the devices.

3) Recycle your password regularly and follow basic password hygiene such as use of special characters. Practically it is difficult to remember many passwords for different applications leading to something called “password fatigue”. It is recommended the use of secured and trustworthy password vault applications.

4) Avoid phishing emails – never share your personal details on emails. This is in fact the largest volume of security breaches across the world.

5) It is not only about installing an anti – virus, but it all depends on whether we are updating the anti-virus regularly whenever there is an update available. This goes same with operating system – it is necessary to keep a tab on updating the OS as well as install patches. In many cases, people postpone the patch management and software update schedules.

6) Two Factor Authentication : This is extremely important. We need to always use devices, social media sites or applications, which enable two factor authentications. This enables immediate information to the user if there is any unnatural log INS from other devices or browsers that the user normally does not use.

7) When using online shopping or visiting sites, which require personal information always, make sure that they are secured sites. The browser bar shows a padlock and the site name starts with https:// rather than http://

8) Make it a practice to never save your credit card or banking details for faster check out even though the site may state that they do not save your CVV. It takes just a couple of seconds to fill the card data rather than exposing your financial details.

9) Make it a practice to always log out from banking sites or social media accounts after usage.

10) It is of utmost importance to review the security and privacy setting on social media platforms. Most of the times, we really do not bother about these setting. For example, Facebook has features that ask the user can be searched through email ID or phone number that he or she has provided.
Another such feature is if the user allows search engines outside Facebook to link his or her profile. Users should be aware of the security and privacy and switch them on or off depending on the usage and amount of personal information that they feel could be non-risky.

Presently wrongful loss to yourself and gain to the other party must be established for action to be taken in cases of cyber hacking under the Information Technology Act, 2000. Section 43A of the IT Act provides for compensation in the event that a company fails to use reasonable security practices and procedures in order to protect sensitive personal data and such negligence results in a wrongful gain or loss.  The Information Technology Ministry has appointed a panel of experts to study India’s data protection framework and suggest a draft data protection law that will be taken up for consideration by Parliament.