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Neha Dewan
17 Apr 2016 . 3 min read

How Are You Liking The Gift, Darling?


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“Just for you, my beloved darling,” read the message. As Tania clicked the link, she went numb. She was there inviting the world. She never felt so threatened looking at her phone number and address before. Her phone rang. A middle-aged male voice pierced through her ears, “How much do you charge baby?” She was all torn apart. She hung up. Another call. This time it was her boyfriend. She didn’t pick up. A message flashed on her screen, “How are you liking the gift, darling?” Yesterday she was so thrilled that she managed a record 250 likes for the same sizzling picture on her Facebook profile.

How could she forget the scuffle that followed? She thought he was being possessive. They were a happy couple. She met Sanjay a month ago on her social media account. It all started with his friend request. She fell for his looks. He pampered her like a princess, how could he do this to her?

Why did the relation change overnight from an amorous bonding to that of revenge? What if you were Tania? Don’t you like sharing your best pictures with your friends to get those likes and heart-warming comments? But Tania’s story didn’t end here.

She had no choice. She disclosed the whole incident to her best friend Meena. They could not hold back the secret for long. It was all over there on the virtual world. They went to the cyber-crime cell. To their utter shock, Sanjay was Sunder Lal, the octogenarian uncle running the grocery shop next to her housing society. His nephew flirted with her over the phone. He disliked Tania since she once caught him red-handed with another lady in the park behind the bushes. 

The culprit is behind the bars now. So, do you think she is a free bird again? No. The damage was not limited to a single website. It reached the archives and mirror websites.

So, what should you do so that you don’t end up being another Tania? Here are a few precautions that you should take while socialising online.

The Password Matters

Strong passwords with double authentication and customised settings accessible by ‘Friends only’ are your first line of defence. The general profile information exposes you to banking password hacks and the close-up photographs are vulnerable to tempering.    

Add only who you know / people you have mutual contacts with

Accepting anonymous friend requests or sharing your whereabouts is a strict ‘NO.’ Recently criminals hacked the security system of a hotel where the daughter of a CEO checked in, and, recorded her intimate moments for ransom.  

Keep a check on the kids

If you have children, then you have a strong reason to use parental controls, offered by most antivirus packages. The studies by Microsoft (2012) and Intel Security (2015) disclosed that more children are turning to social media with little care to their location disclosure. Connect to Cybermum India, for more safety hacks.

Know whom to approach if you’re a victim

When suspicious or trapped, contact the cyber-security cell of your city. The IT Act 2000 is strong enough for legal recourse in cyber-crimes. For example, voyeurism section of the Criminal Law (Amended) Act 2013 and section 66 (E) of the IT Act criminalizes revenge porn.

Be alert, be safe!

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Neha Dewan
An environmentalist by training, I worked in the corporate sector during the initial years to find a confluence between the industries and nature. At present, I teach Biology online to higher secondary students. I love exploring the sabbatical blues faced by women like me and how the magnanimous internet could help us.

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