Internet has made us free to surf around unlimited world of information which is valuable for leading life conveniently. Development of Information and Communication Technology has made access to internet easy and affordable to a vast number of people in the country.More than 7 million people of the country now use internet. They share their personal and other information to get access to various services through the internet. And their personal and financial data are of prime importance to cyber criminals at home and abroad.
Cyber criminals steal data from victims’ accounts at social networking sites, including facebook, twitter, Google+, YouTube and the like. Criminals can harass victims through spreading objectionable audio and video clips and photos in the social networking sites. The problem is that they can take part in such criminal offences easily without leaving any trace of their identities. So, committing social crimes has become easier now.
Hackers are proficient in knowledge on Information and Communication Technology and they can easily get access to ones’ PC and steal personal details. Thus they can easily roam about in social networking sites, other websites and blogs. Their horizon is borderless and they can move beyond the reach of law enforcing agencies. They can commit crimes and remain almost undetected. There are manpower engaged in preventing cyber crimes against important individuals and the government agencies and the people at large are exposed to cyber criminals.
Often obnoxious photos and videos of girls and women are taken by vested quarters during emotional moments which are uploaded to spread in the vast sphere of internet to blackmail the victims. They threaten to defame and humiliate them socially to exploit the victims. Also, in many cases, criminals demand money in exchange for removing the videos and photos from the internet. Sometimes, they physically torture the victims to satisfy their inhumanly lust.
Also, terrorist organisations, at times, use social networking sites and various apps to spread their anti-social ideologies through the internet. They use the internet to even train up new recruits, maintain communication among themselves to organise anti-social activities and instruct for carrying out deadly attacks on innocents. Also, criminals use internet to affect social harmony.
The number of cyber crimes has been increasing and, as a result, a significant number of women victims suffer a kind of social stigma for long.
With the increase in the number of internet users, more people have become more vulnerable to cyber crimes and the law enforcement agencies have become burdened with additional duties to combat a new type of crime.
Cyber crime can cost a huge amount of money when it is caused to steal money using victims’ information regarding financial matters. Online banking and online monetary transactions have become very popular nowadays and these have virtually erased hundreds of miles of distance for financial transactions to take place among persons living at different locations in the globe. Hackers have proved their expertise in stealing money from virtual bank accounts by breaking passwords of clients of banks and other financial institutions. Online frauds in the financial sector are undeniable. Loss of millions of dollars takes place annually due to online frauds in the financial sector, including e-commerce.
It is a matter of worry that cyber crimes in the financial sector of Bangladesh have been increasing day by day. In February 2016 fraudsters withdrew some Tk 10 million from ATM booths of several banks. This worried bank account and ATM card holders and exposed the vulnerability of electronic banking system in the country.
Also, a syndicate of hackers accessed transfer codes to send money transfer order of $1 billion to the Federal Reserve Bank of US from the Bangladesh Bank in February 2016. And criminals successfully siphoned off $81 million from the central bank’s foreign reserve account. This clearly shows the vulnerability of banks and other financial institutions in the country to syndicates of cyber criminals. Also, it has challenged the conventional safety mechanism in preventing online banking frauds.
The biggest ever cyber attack in history known as ransom cyber attack in this month affected some 100 countries in the globe and thereby proved severity of the offence in the virtual sphere. Operations of vital institutions were disrupted and computers in the healthcare service in the UK wrongly commanded ambulances to divert and the hospital authorities to postpone service delivery.
The cyber crime in the virtual internet world has become a real-life threat. And with the use of internet in every sphere of our life has made it compulsory to remain well prepared for combating cyber crimes. The people at large should be made aware about sharing personal and financial data through the internet. Using the original software and regular updating of the same should be encouraged. And steps should be taken to train IT professionals and build new IT experts through imparting quality IT education at educational institutions in the country so that they can safeguard the country against cyber crimes.
M. Faruque Iqbal, Dhaka