Constant vigilance needed against cybercrime

The report last Thursday, revealing the vulnerability of children to online scams and other types of cyber-bullying crimes, is indeed disturbing ("Children a 'weak link in household cyber security'").

The Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report particularly singled out insidious phishing scams and other abuses that children fall prey to, as revealed by the increase in online crime cases over the years.

What is alarming is that without adequate supervision from parents, unsuspecting children, and adults too, using weak or common passwords, become easy targets for hackers and other online predators.

Moreover, scams are becoming more sophisticated as the cyber- security landscape is changing by the day and getting more complex.

Such scams are increasingly being carried out by individuals and it would be naive to believe that phishing is a crime perpetrated only by economic predators.

It is, therefore, wise for individuals as well as organisations and institutions to take a step back and review the security-threat landscape with a view to tightening cyber-defence mechanisms.

The need for technical proficiency by individuals and organisations becomes more relevant now as innovative technology in the digital world develops faster than in the physical world.

For example, instead of the existence of one dominant operating system, we see the presence of multiple platforms, reflecting the different ways threats make their way into computers and cause massive damage.

So it is all the more crucial for organisations, parents and children to tighten password database security to prevent their online privacy from being compromised.

Our best defence is psychological warfare against hackers. Parents, in particular, must be more proactive in protecting children's cyber safety.

As the naivete of people has led to the proliferation of phishing crimes, constant vigilance to ensure that we do not fall prey to the dangers of technology is more important now than ever before.

V. Subramaniam (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2016, with the headline 'Constant vigilance needed against cybercrime'. Print Edition | Subscribe