Saturday, March 22, 2014

Stay ahead of cybercriminals: use caution and common sense online

(BPT) - Cybercrime is everywhere these days. It happens in the dead of night, in broad daylight, in homes, hotels, restaurants and airports.

In fact, due to the explosion of online transactions, social media and mobile technology, it can happen almost anywhere at any time. The good news, however, is that it doesn't take a computer genius to protect yourself and your family from the proliferation of cyber criminals who are running scams or seeking to steal your identity.

Cybercriminals victimized 71 million people in the United States in 2012, according to a recent report by the electronic security company Symantec. The problem has become so bad that FBI Director Robert Muller expects cybercrime to eventually overtake both terrorism and counter intelligence as his agency's No. 1 crime-fighting priority.

"Cybercrime has become a national plague that can damage us all ," says Don Culpepper, who specializes in family safety and security at Fireman's Fund. "But much of the time it's our own online behavior that opens us up to crime. By changing the way we interact online, by becoming more aware of our behavior, we can take a huge step toward becoming cyber secure."

By refraining from giving out personal information, you can keep your accounts and identity safe from fraud and theft. Never give out any personal information via email, the telephone or through the mail unless you are 100 percent certain that the person or organization you're dealing with is legitimate and you have initiated the contact.

"Your greatest tool to protect yourself and your family from fraud of all kinds, including cybercrime and Internet fraud, is common sense," Culpepper says. "Trust your instincts and if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Tips for staying cyber secure:
* Provision your home Wi-Fi router with a high-level encrypted firewall and make it undiscoverable.
* Monitor you children's social network and mobile computing activity, and stay up-to-date on privacy settings.
* Make certain that you're adequately insured to withstand a loss.
* Use sophisticated passwords and update them regularly.

Still, there are times when even savvy Internet users can be vulnerable to crime. Fake pop-up alerts that claim your computer has been hacked or is infected with a virus direct you to third-party websites that ask for personal information or direct you to download an actual piece of malware. These programs can run through your computer looking for personal information to send back to the criminals. Many of these programs look legitimate. If you're not familiar with the program that has popped up on your computer, simply close it without clicking on any links.

Companies you interact with, such as banks and retail stores, transfer your information digitally. If those companies' networks are compromised, then your personal information is at risk. Private information you use to identify yourself like usernames, birthdays and even the answers to personal questions can be collected from a compromised system to commit fraud.

"Wi-Fi networks can be especially vulnerable to hacking, particularly public networks that many of us rely on daily," Culpepper says.

Once criminals have this information, they are able to do all sorts of damage. They can get driver's licenses or other identification in your name, access your bank accounts, open utility accounts, apply for jobs and apartments in your name and even take out loans.

Once your identity has been stolen, it is very difficult to stop the damage, but here are a few steps you should take immediately upon discovering the fraud:
* Monitor your credit report and place a fraud alert on your file with one of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion or Experian.
* Close the accounts you suspect have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
* File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
* Create a police report.
In addition, many insurance companies offer policies that can help you recover from the ravages of identity theft. Typical coverage can include attorney fees, new loan application fees, lost income as a result of missing work to deal with the identity theft, among other things.

"While it seems like cybercriminals are always one step ahead of our security counter measures, there are things we can do to stay safe," Culpepper says. "Use common sense, stay alert and regularly install and update the security software on your computers and mobile devices."

Thursday, March 6, 2014

‘God will not come to reform India’- Krisshna Arjun

NEW DELHI:  “Anything multiplied by zero is zero again… This simple mathematical equation applies to politics as well.  The only way we can make India – a dynamic, progressive and vibrant democracy is to reform the system and lay the foundations of political, economic and social justice. A system where everyone has an equal right to prosper and flourish within the framework of the Indian constitution and under the Indian flag”- said the Krisshna Arjun, the firebrand 53 year old President of the newly formed National Democratic Reforms Party in New Delhi.

Equality: Social Justice: Prosperity
Announcing her resignation from the post of President of the Bhartiya Rajiv Congress before presiding over the new party - Krisshna Arjun-- a onetime staunch admirer and political protégé of Rajiv Gandhi said the tag – Rajiv Gandhi has lost its relevance today. “I have been an admirer of both Indira and Rajiv Gandhi but today no one is ready to walk on the path shown by them. Not even their own family members”, she said. It may be recalled that as the leader of the Rajiv Congress, in 1997 Krisshna Arjun organized a burning-torch march from Sriperumbadur – the place where Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated. She specifically requested Sonia Gandhi to receive the flame but the later refused her request. Incidents like this eventually added to her belief that it was futile to talk about Rajiv Gandhi’s ideals in a world where everyone seems to have forgotten him.

Krisshna Arjun started her political career at the young age of 14 in Kerala – when the present Defense Minister A K Anthony was a youth Congress leader. Among others she was involved with Mohsina Qidwai’s Quami Ekta Manch – a secular democratic front and Sewa Dal a Congress frontal organization under the leadership of Tariq Anwar.


Speaking from her overall experience she said Politics in India today is the biggest stage managed road-show of the crooks, by the crooks. Politicians sitting in air-conditioned offices in Delhi sit in a huddle to decide the names of four candidates. Thereafter all that is left for the people of India is to blindly endorse their decision – knowing fully-well that all four of them are crooks. They simply don’t have a choice. They have to perforce cast their vote in favor of names already printed on the ballot paper or refrain from doing so, altogether. Nobody consults them before selecting the best available person in the political market as their leader.

“All that is left for the people to do is to sort the least corrupt from the most corrupt. In this mathematical equation 90 percent corrupt politicians and parties with less than 50 seats – manage to form alliances to form the government and nullify the collective will of the people or clear-cut majority. This makes India a unique model of mis-governance where you start and end with a big farce. This is no way a country should not be governed. As compared to this the calm and dignified manner in which the French cast their vote – is a perfect example for many democracies around the world,” she said.  

“Who is going to change all this? The system needs deep, pore cleansing. But then even God helps those who help themselves. Social, political, economic or judicial inequalities and injustices do not vanish simply by applying a vanishing cream – you need to roll up the sleeves and get down to do the dirty and thankless job”, she added.

“This is not something that I want to do but people of India don’t need or want. If it is really what they want – they have to step out of their home and support a good cause like ours. Like Subhash Chander Bose – said you give me your blood – I will get you freedom—if the people of India want a change – they should be prepared to contribute their time, money and effort for this change. No outsider will come and do that for them.”

“Democratic reforms, secularism and equality for all – not just in the eyes of law – but a totally foolproof system in which each individual is able to live and breathe comfortably – is the core ethos of my party, she said.              

“We want a system where businessmen should prosper and be able to progress without any unnecessary hurdles in their path. Not everyone is a cheat. If the business men and industrialists get an opportunity to earn their livelihood and progress – they will be inclined to pay their taxes on time. This will open new avenues for growth, prosperity and employment for all.

Only if there is equality for all – men and women will get equal opportunities. Women will feel safer on the roads as well as within their homes. There will be no predatory shadows lurking to haunt them – when they are least prepared. There will be no domestic violence. Students will get equal opportunities to excel and get admitted to the courses of their choice. The youth will get employment and those wanting to become entrepreneurs will not need anyone’s recommendation for simple things like opening a bank account.

We want to create a system where Governments – are not seen as big bully or an institution only for cutting the people’s pocket. Where the police do not always use brute force but is polite, well behaved and still firm. Where the nation comes first – always and every time? Where Armed Forces are not meant to be sacrificed in war but respected in peace and suitably placed and looked after. Where the retired people are financially sound and secure in their homes and society. There is no body without a job, nobody without food, shelter or clothing.

Our dream of an India is a country where Indian feels proud to live, a country every Indian can earn enough – to say no to a foreign job. The mother in whose lap the people of Indian origin – at home far from the home, feel safe and secure and yearn to come back. A land of technology and opportunity -where the study of science, economic and history - leads to knowledge that is applied, where everything illogical, irrational and impractical is – neither encouraged nor tolerated.

We would like to create a country where the doctors and engineers – even otherwise earn decent amount that they don’t have to cut anyone’s throat or compromise professionally to rob the poor. Where the poor and downtrodden are not discriminated, rather encouraged to work hard and earn a better living. A country where even the most downtrodden or economically backward classes do not need any artificial stimulant – but are coached, mentored and encouraged to run and catch up with the rest. Such a country can only be a place where – governments don’t promote populist gimmicks subsidies and reservations – a country where religion, caste, community, sex or creed is not used to divide but unite. That is the vision of a new and powerful India that beckons us…

“All this may seem like a dream today but could be a reality tomorrow. If the people of this India – really want that India – they should be willing to give their money, time and effort to build the world’s best nation they deserve or expect to get.” Krisshna Arjun said.

Krisshna Arjun was recently thrown out of the Maharashtra Sadan, Delhi in the middle of night because she was a ‘madrasi’ and not a VIP – despite paying Rs 6,000 per day to stay there. Earlier a 3000 strong crowd ransacked her Quami Ekta Manch office.

Still she is hopeful that someday the people of India will sit back and realize that – intolerance and hatred is not the solution for anything.  “Love – for God and his beings, the country and its people – alone can act like the nectar to change everything. This will have to come, it is only a matter of time,” she said.