Growing Cybersecurity Concerns Related To Video-conferencing Apps

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As online crimes are growing and netizens are becoming victims of various psychological cyber challenges like the blue whale and Momo, the number of cybercrimes being reported is also increasing.

According to sources, it is reported that Maharashtra has recorded 7,11,978 fraud cases so far.

To tackle this, MHA has launched a cyber crime helpline number: 155260 for preventing online attacks. The helpline has also been integrated into various states’ cyber cells for helping citizens report cyber crime on call and for law enforcement agencies to take direct action.

Along with this, today, governments and cyber cells are facing another serious security concern related to the misuse of online video-conferencing apps. Misusing video-conferencing apps can have a devastating impact on netizens who are being exploited by their friends, colleagues or strangers for malicious intents using insider threats wherein their photos and critical information is misused.

Recently, the Mumbai police have been busting various cyber rackets. One such racket was when Mumbai police arrested a nefarious cyber extortionist in the case of sextortion and blackmail. The man, whose name hasn’t been disclosed, pulled a vicious stunt on a 22-year-old student from Mumbai in a bid to extort Rs 25,000. According to sources, the arrested man created a fake pornographic video of the 22-year-old student and threatened to post it on social media and to his classmates during online lectures. The threat came amidst mass usage of video-conferencing apps by schools, colleges and universities to resume classes that had been halted due to the pandemic.

Even though the said man is arrested, the incident has made schools, colleges, universities as well as the government ponder about the safety of students from cyber threats.

For this, we reached out to Mr Smith Gonsalves, a Cyber Evangelist who advises various corporate and government agencies on tackling cyber-related crime. Mr Gonsalves is also the Director and Principal Consultant of CyberSmithSECURE, a company specialized in delivering and executing cybersecurity services for eminent multinational companies, government agencies, public sector undertaking companies and law enforcement agencies. We got in touch with him to see what insights he had to offer so that kids and teens can be safe while chalking out their way through these apps.

In Mr Gonsalves’s opinion, cybersecurity should hold the utmost importance while planning out the curriculum for modern-day students. Topics like Netiquettes or ethics on digital platforms should be integrated into an academic program like CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) along with CBSE and other state boards inculcating an academic cybersecurity framework to guide and educate students on these crucial awareness issues.

Every educational institution must conduct regular and elucidative classes that teach students how to respond to a cyber-crime if one were to ever come their way. And for this, upskilling the teachers on Cyber Discipline is the need of the hour which colleges and institutions should look after,” said Mr Gonsalves.

Smith Gonsalves at an event

Apart from that, he also emphasised that academic institutions need to purchase enterprise-grade video-conferencing e-learning solutions by a respective academic institution for protecting every student’s privacy and at the same time for also protecting the reputation of the educational institute. Apps that give access controls only to those pupils who have an email address registered by their respective colleges to avoid duplicacy and ensure accountability should be taken up. Mr Gonsalves also particularly emphasised that it is the responsibility of the teachers to raise cyber awareness and cyber discipline among students as to how to be safe on social media platforms which can be the main crime scenes. He focused on imbibing within students a sense of discipline when it comes to using anything over the internet to ensure safety from all perspectives.

Mr Gonsalves’s conclusive remarks are to have an academic panel with industry professionals combined with Law Enforcement officials for mentoring and controlling the misuse of loopholes by teens.

Link of the aforementioned case for further readings:


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