According to cyber-security experts, a large number of mobile and laptop users in Pakistan are at risk of security breaches, as they are not aware of the way data security works.
A survey of the National Response Unit reveals that 80 percent of users install pirated operating systems (OS) from suspicious or shady sources. This way, around 80 percent of the laptops/PC’s are prone to a security breach.
As for mobile phones, they’re also at risk of getting hacked. Data like private messages and mobile contacts of the user can be compromised along with their cameras and microphones all thanks to malicious offers of deals/prizes.
According to a Cyber Security Expert, Suleman Younus, mobile users click on forwarded links that promise prizes or free food deals. In most cases, these links are a trap by the hackers to get them to open the links.
“As soon as the user clicks on the link, mobile phones or any other devices become accessible to hackers. In this way, hackers not only steal mobile data but also blackmail users after gaining access to personal information,” said the expert.
He added that hackers mostly use trojans to get access to your devices. He says that 70 percent of cyber-attacks on mobile phones can be prevented by taking precautions. If a person is using an internet-connected device, he/she should download only certified applications from sources like the Google Play Store or the iOS App Store.
Moreover, users should avoid clicking on unidentified links no matter what they offer, and they should always buy Windows for their computers.
An ethical hacking group, ‘Plan Nine’, has launched a security-focused app called Cyber Tor. With this app, users can secure their microphones and cameras on phones.
Suleman recommends users to avoid visiting shady websites and reply to unknown senders on email.
There is also certain malware called ransomware that can lock access to your data. The hackers then demand money to let you access your own data, through a message with details of a foreign account. The message encourages payment through electronic currency, which is untraceable.
Younus explained that users should keep a backup of their data and use an anti-virus app. The government has set up a cell, NR3C National Response Center, for filing complaints against hackers, he said.
“Hackers can be fined from Rs. 0.2 million to Rs. 1 million for cybercrime and they can be imprisoned for three months to 14 years – if the offense is proved,” said Suleman.