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Date of Publishing:7/02/2011
Your personal information isn’t a secret anymore. And criminals are using them for all the wrong reasons. COPS ARRESTED A PERSON WHO TRIED EXTORTING `4 CRORES FROM MALL OWNER G.S. GUPTA BY MAILING HIM A LETTER IN THE NAME OF HIJB-UL-MUJAHIDEEN
Nothing is either secret or sacred in an era when personal data is available online with just a few clicks into a search engine. While being internet savvy increasingly means knowing how to safeguard your information and reputation online, some are destined to learn about internet integrity the hard way when unscrupulous criminals use your details inappropriately. A week ago, sleuths of Commissioner's Task Force apprehended two people sending threatening and indecent messages to numbers they had taken off the classified columns of a newspaper. An enquiry revealed that the accused Shaik Mohd. Iqbal was trying to malign the image of several neighbouring shop owners, with whom he had had a fight. Shaik bought a SIM card using a fictitious name and address and sent threatening messages mentioning his enemies' names at the end.
In another case, police arrested a person trying to extort money from a shopping mall owner, G.S. Gupta in Banjara Hills. The accused Mohd.
Khaleel posed as a terrorist and sent a parcel containing a cell phone kept in a book along with a threatening letter in the name of Hijb-ulMujahideen. He demanded '4 crore. Again, the accused had got the contact details and address of the victim from the Yellow Pages and the net. G.S. Gupta says, "I received this parcel at my residence. It was definitely scary and I actually thought that the sender is a terrorist. One should think of the consequences before indulging in such acts. If a bus is bombed, that will not stop us from traveling in buses again. In the same way, I wouldn't stop uploading my pictures or information just because anti-social elements might use them to their advantage." What's frightening is that the anti-social elements taking advantage of your baggy security settings could be closer home than you suspect.
Poonam Singh Bakshi, another victim, says, "I have two Facebook accounts, one for my friends and the other for my work. Once when I logged in, I saw a third profile by my name. The account had my picture with my personal details. There were weird status updates in the profile. Like one said, ‘I am going to Novotel for a massage, anyone joining me?' I had suspicions about a friend. I went over to him and asked him but he denied it at the time. After a few days the profile was missing."
Renowned ethical hacker and cyber security expert, Ankit Fadia, says, "When one registers on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter one gives out all personal details unawares. There have been many instances when people hack your account, grasp all your personal information and using that, make a fake account and malign the person's reputation. It is a challenge for police officials in the country to get to the bottom of such cases, as most of these sites are based in the west. It is a struggle to contact them and convince them to reveal details of the hacker. My suggestion would be that no genuine information should be given." Cyber crime in-charge Inspector T.S. Umamaheshwar Rao says that there is no escape from the internet, "While all the information is available in the net, there is trouble only when anyone makes use of it wrongly. We take necessary action once such things happen," he says.
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