GUWAHATI: A survey carried out by Assam Police and central police forces in October to gauge the level of cybersecurity awareness among people in Assam has revealed that most internet users in the state have faced some form of cyber attack in the last one year.
The findings point out that “about 63% of the respondents had been at the receiving end of spam messages on their email, 25% of the respondents had received hate messages on social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram and 26% of the respondents have received pictures or videos that contained nudity.”
The survey reports that though there was a high level of awareness among people of Assam for cyber crimes, only 16% of the respondents stated that they have reported to the police when exposed to cybercrime. Most of them (32%) preferred reporting to the website, while 22 % said they did nothing at all. A statement from Cyber Peace Foundation, which in collaboration with Assam Police, observed the Cyber Safety Month last month, in a statement said, “The respondents expressed a deep understanding on cybercrime which was inclusive of both the crimes committed with the intent of stealing the data from computer hardware (70%) as well as crimes such as online harassment (71%), hacking (78%), online impersonation (68%) and spreading fake news (64%).”
The survey also found that “62% of the respondents knew that cybercrime is reported at the police station and 58% of respondents were also aware that Assam Police had dedicated cyber police stations and police personnel to deal with cybercrimes.”
The survey revealed that most of the respondents (58%) were aware that by not saving username and password and enabling two-step verification option (73%) in the internet browsers, they are securing themselves from their accounts being hacked while 71% respondents knew that they are not supposed to click on a pop-up window that appears on the internet.
“About 73% of the respondents were also aware that it was not safe to use public WiFi connections which are not password protected and 74% of the respondents were aware not to download mobile applications from sources other than apple store or google store,” the survey found.
Majority of internet users in Assam, 91%, access the web for social networking platforms such as Facebook and Whatsapp, professional use such as emails and seeking information (73%), online purchases (81%) such as Amazon and Flipkart, accessing news and articles (74%), attending online classes (76%) and using banking services (70%).
The CyberSafety Month campaign was launched by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on the occasion of Assam Police Day and ended on October 31.
Talking about the campaign, ADGP Singh said, “The Cyber Safety Campaign was a timely and important initiative. With special focus on cyber safety for children, our collaboration with UNICEF & UTSAH NGO for ‘Sishu Mitra Program’ is already ensuring the wellbeing of kids in the cyberspace.’’
Founder and president of CyberPeace Foundation Vineet Kumar said, “The campaign empowered citizens in not only identifying cyber threats but also in the prevention of various cybersecurity incidents before they happen and seek the right redressal in order to mitigate cyber threats. While there exists a high level of awareness among people in Assam regarding cyberthreats, they lack the knowledge to deal with them. We hope to undertake more such campaigns in future.”