Talking Point

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Praveen Kumar Tripathi, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) remarked:

“Kolkata Police has got dedicated cyber police stations and social mediateam. Round-the-clock, both the cyber police team and the social media team keep on monitoring different websites, Facebook pages, WhatsApp groups. For detection and monitoring, we use keywords and subsequently track IP addresses. For example, regarding the fake news with regard to Eid, when we came across the update, immediately our team tracked the source and monitored the whole situation with immediate action. Generally, political issues, social and religious issues are being used to propagate as fake news. Our clear objective is to detect the source or who initiated it. In case of any Facebook update with regard to any fake news, we write to them to provide the details as well as IP address of the person who posted it. Once we detect the person concerned,we create separate profiles of the person and start our legal policing action. With the help of phone numbers, we gather more information and subsequently, we get hold of the whole situation. If you consider traditional media, the reach of suchmedia organs is few lakhs whereas the number of subscribers to Kolkata Police is more than 50 lakhs. This indicates that there is a paradigm shift in the local reach and people resort to social media for updates. This whole perspective has truly changed the police monitoring. Be it online fraud or hoax calls or fake news or trolling,the whole perspective has changed at present. Kolkata Police has been updated with regard to providing suggestions against, for example,the blue whale challenge or the kiki challenge which are detrimental to society. The problem is, often the servers do not belong to India and they are located abroad. Side by side, Facebook authorities take around 2-3 weeks to respond to complaints or queries. Not only that, various messaging platforms like WhatsApp has encryptions. So at present, we are working on a day-to-day basis. We are sending a proposal to the government for enforcing a stricter law to stop the nuisance of fake news.”

According to P Chaudhary, Additional OC, Cyber Crime: “The Cyber Crime Department of Kolkata Police is working day in and day out to tackle the present scenario. Very soon,there will be dedicated cyber police stations and already police forces are being trained with all the available details. Everyday, we receive various complaints right from bank frauds to fake news. The netizens need to be aware of what data they are sharing with the masses. Unless people are aware of the reality, it becomes very complicated to tackle the scenario. In case of forwarding fake messages, we advise one and all to check the credibility of the newsitem. Day by day, there is a distinct rise in the number of cybercrime incidents. Fake news is indeed a menace and we are trying to create digital awareness among people to tackle such situations.”

The following directives from the Cyber Crime Department of Kolkata Police are indeed integral to cybersecurity and social networking awareness:

  • Pick a strong password: use a combination of at least 6 numbers, letters and special characters (like ‘!’ and ‘#’).
  • Log-out of Facebook when you use a computer shared with other people.
  • Enable “Two-step Verification” to secure your account.
  • Do not post/share anything without verifying the truth of the content.
  • Having a security question is a useful way to verify your own account if you ever lose access to it.
  • Tips for picking a good security question:
  • Pick a question and answer you know and you’ll remember.
  • Keep your security question secret.
  • Make sure your answer is specific enough that it can’t be guessed easily.
  • Make sure that you change the security question regularly.
  • When using a shared or cyber café computer, press “Ctrl+Shift+N” or“Ctrl+Shift+P” after opening the browser for safe browsing. This will erase your browsing data.
  • Use original anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall and update them all regularly.
  • Beware of Ransomware. If found a system is Ransomware attacked immediately isolate it from network and internet.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited emails/texts. They are often fraudulent/phishing attack to get your personal information or Ransomware based.
  • Never enter your personal information in a pop-up screen.
  • Don’t download files sent to you by strangers or open hyperlink from people you do not know.
  • Beware of fake lottery winning emails/SMSes.
  • Do not respond to any call/SMS seems to be from your bank seeking information regarding your bank account or card details or mobile OTP. Please keep in mind that banks do not ask for any security information viacall.
  • No reputed organization will ever ask for confidential information via email. Specifically, for doing any online transaction, make sure that the website used for online transaction starts with “https” instead of “http”.