Online Security Tips

How can I use the browser safely online?

A: Your browser is an important part of your computer’s security. Keep your browser and security systems (anti-virus software, firewalls, etc.) up-to-date.

Suggested good browsing habits:
• Read the links you want to click on and don’t assume a link is safe just because you found it in a “safe” way.
• Don’t install something just because a web page suddenly tells you that you need it.

What are Viruses, Worms and Trojans?

A: Viruses, worms and Trojans are malicious programs that can infect your computer and change the way it works.

To protect your system from virus/malwares:
• Be wary of email and instant messaging attachments or files, even if they are from people you know.
• Scan downloads with anti-virus software before installing them.
• Ensure your anti-virus software is up-to-date and reliable.

Get rid of spyware on your computer with anti-spyware software.

What is Spyware?

A: Spyware is software that collects and sends information from your computer without your permission.

To protect your system from spywares:
• Watch out for unexpected offers, warnings and dialog boxes that suddenly pop up while you’re online. Avoid clicking on them, even to cancel or close them.
• Be wary of peer-to-peer sharing.
• Always read the End User License Agreement (EULA) when downloading from trusted sources.

Get rid of spyware on your computer with anti-spyware software.

Should I exercise any precautions while attending my emails?

A: Emails have been known, to be a major channel for scam and frauds. These emails not only swindle the receiver by creating a circumstance for the victim to pay but at times deploy technical malfunction on users’ computer / devices. Evaluate all emails you receive:

1. Do you know the sender of the email? If yes, still be cautious before clicking a link. If no, do not click any links.
2. Are there any attachments in the email? If so, is the attachment an executable (a file with the extension .exe, .bat, .com, .vbs, .reg, .msi, .pif, .pl, .php)? If so, do not click on the attachment. Even if the file does not contain one of the above mentioned extensions, be cautious about opening it. Contact the sender to verify its contents.
3. Does the email request personal information? If so, do not reply.
4. Does the email contain grammatical errors? If so, be suspicious.
5. If you have a relationship with the company, are they addressing you by name? Be cautioned as your company will usually address you by registered name on their system.
6. Have you checked the link? Mouse over the link and check the URL. Does it look legitimate or does it look like it will take you to a different Web site? Do not open any link which shows a different website other than the company/ official website.

Applying cautions suggested above would assist in avoiding phising, vishing or smishing attack.

What is phishing, vishing, smishing, and pharming?

A: Phishing
Phishing refers to an activity that attempts to fraudulently obtain sensitive information about you. There are several ways scammers will try to obtain sensitive information from you. Sometimes you will first receive an email to lure you into a conversation and then follow that up with a phishing email. At other times, you will just receive a phishing email in the first instance. Once you click on the links provided, it will lead you to a duplicate website (fake) which would ask you to feed in your personal information.

It is highly recommended that all such messages be immediately deleted and do not respond.

Similar to phishing only that the mode applied is telephone, instead of email which is used in phishing. Criminals use the phone to solicit your personal information in an effort to steal your identity or commit fraud. Vishing relies on “social engineering” techniques to trick you into providing information that others can use to access and use your important accounts. People can also use this information to pretend to be you and open new lines of credit.

Avoid being a victim of vishing by adopting safe practices given below:
• If you receive an email or phone call asking you to call or share your details, search for the organization’s customer service number and call that number rather than the number provided in the solicitation email or phone call.
• Forward email received to customer service or security email address of the organization as available on their official website, to confirm whether the mail is legitimate.

It is highly recommended that all such messages be immediately deleted and do not respond.

Just like phishing, smishing uses mobile phone text messages to lure consumers in. Often SMS text contain an URL or phone number. The phone number often has an automated voice response system. And again just like phishing, the smishing message usually asks for your immediate attention.

In many cases, the smishing message will come from a masked name or short number instead of displaying an actual phone number. This usually indicates the SMS message was sent via email to the cell phone, and not sent from another cell phone.

It is highly recommended that all such messages be immediately deleted and do not respond.

Pharming is another scam where a hacker installs malicious code / malware on a personal computer or server through a website you visited or link you ignorantly clicked. This code then redirects clicks you make on a website to another fraudulent Web site without your consent or knowledge. To avoid pharming, be careful when entering financial information on a website. Look for the key or lock symbol at the bottom of the browser and the web address bar. If the Web site looks different than when you last visited, be suspicious and don’t click unless you are absolutely certain the site is safe.

How phishing takes place without you realizing?

A: You will receive an email which looks as if it has been sent out by an organization you are associated with. Such entity can be your bank, your webmail, or any other institution. The email content & presentation looks similar to any other email received by you from such organization (see figure 1), only that this time they use a link on the body of email which redirects to a hoax website (see figure 2). This page would ask you to enter your details (see figure 3). Once you enter details which are required by the hacker and submit, you are redirected to the actual website (see figure 4).

By the time this act is completed you have already lost your personal details to the hacker who can misuse them to his benefit at obviously your cost!!!

Do notice that original website displays as in figure 4, the following:
1. Favicon (an icon associated with a URL that is variously displayed, as in a browser's address bar or next to the site name in a bookmark list) visible at the tab
2. Displays a LOCK sign (place your cursor on top of it to display the identifying agency)

(Figure 1)

(Figure 2)

(Figure 3)

(Figure 4)

What safety essentials are suggested for me to practice?

A: Some tips for you to follow:
• Do not use the same user name and password for your financial institution and other sites where you may conduct transactions as you use for social or recreational sites. Follow the tips for creating a good password.
• Use an anti-virus software package and make sure you have it set up to scan your system automatically.
• Ensure your computer and Internet browser are up to date by running updates as requested. Visit the manufacturer’s Web site and download any updates as needed.
• Change your user name and password frequently.
• If you are a victim of identity theft, contact your financial institutions (banks, debit/credit card companies) and get such instruments blocked immediately.

What are the most common computer security threats and what I can do to protect myself from them?

A: Contrary to popular belief, you are not safe with antivirus software alone. Cyber-criminals and unscrupulous businesses are constantly devising new ways to hijack your computer, capture your personal information or steal your money. Given below are most common security threats, and what you can do to protect yourself from them.

1: VIRUS A virus is a piece of software that can replicate itself and infect a computer without the permission or knowledge of the user. A virus can spread when it is transmitted by a user over a network or the Internet, or through removable media such as CDs or memory sticks. Some viruses delete files, reformat the hard disk or cause other damage, while others replicate themselves and may present text, video, or audio messages. Viruses take up memory and may cause erratic behaviour, system crashes and loss of data.

2: SPAM / SPIM / SPIT SPAM is electronic junk email. Email addresses are collected from chat rooms, websites, newsgroups and by Trojans which harvest users’ address books. SPIM is spam sent via instant messaging systems. SPIT is Spam over Internet Telephony. These are unwanted, automatically-dialed, pre-recorded phone calls using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Spam can clog a personal mailbox, overload mail servers and impact network performance. On the other hand, efforts to control spam such as by using spam filters run the risk of filtering out legitimate email messages. Spammers frequently take control of computers and use them to distribute spam, perhaps the use of a botnet. Once a user’s computer is compromised, their personal information may also be illegally acquired.

3: SPOOFING, PHISHING AND PHARMING Spoofing is an attack in which a person or program masquerades as another. A common tactic is to spoof a URL or website (see phishing). Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is a common form of spoofing in which a phony web page is produced that looks just like a legitimate web page. The phony page is on a server under the control of the attacker. Criminals try to trick users into thinking that they are connected to a trusted site, and then harvest user names, passwords, credit card details and other sensitive information. eBay, PayPal and online banks are common targets. Phishing is typically carried out by email or instant messaging. The email message claims to be from a legitimate source but when the user clicks on the link provided, he or she lands on the fake web page. Also read more about phishing under Tips - Information Protection section.

Pharming (pronounced “farming”) is an attack in which a hacker attempts to redirect a website's traffic to another, bogus website. Pharming can be conducted either by changing the hosts file on a victim’s computer or by exploitation of a vulnerability in DNS server software. DNS servers are computers responsible for resolving Internet names into their real IP addresses — the servers are the “signposts” of the Internet.

Once personal information is acquired, spoofers, phishers or pharmers may use a person’s details to make transactions or create fake accounts in a victim’s name. They can ruin the victims’ credit rating or even deny the victims access to their own accounts. As spoofing, phishing, and to a lesser extent, pharming, rely on tricking users rather than advanced technology, the best way to handle these threats is through vigilance. Don’t open emails from unknown sources or click on links embedded in suspect messages.

4: SPYWARE Spyware is software that is secretly installed on a computer without the user’s consent. It monitors user activity or interferes with user control over a personal computer. Spyware programs can collect various types of personal information, such as websites visited, credit card details, usernames or passwords, as well as install other malware, redirect web browsers to malicious websites, divert advertising revenue to a third party or change computer settings (often leading to degraded or unstable system performance, slow connection speeds or different home pages).

5: KEYLOGGER A keylogger is a software program that is installed on a computer, often by a Trojan horse or virus. Keyloggers capture and record user keystrokes. The data captured is then transmitted to a remote computer. While keyloggers will not damage your computer system per se, because they can capture passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive data, they should be regarded as a serious threat.

6: ADWARE Adware is software which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertisements to a computer. The adware runs either after a software program has been installed on a computer or while the application is being used. In some cases, adware is accepted by users in exchange for using software free-of-charge. Not all adware is innocuous, however. Some types of adware are also spyware and therefore a threat to privacy.

7: BOTNET A Botnet (also called a “zombie army”) is a collection of software robots, or bots, that run automated tasks over the Internet. The term “botnet” is generally used to refer to a distributed network of compromised computers (called “zombie computers”). These “zombies” typically run programs such as worms, Trojan horses, or backdoors. Botnets are frequently used to launch Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks against websites. Newer bots can automatically scan their environment and propagate themselves using vulnerabilities and weak passwords.

In the first place, botnets steal computing resources and the individual user’s system performance may degrade as a result. More serious consequences may be caused, however, by the programs that run on botnets (see respective entries for worm and Trojan horse).

8: WORM A computer worm is a self-replicating, malicious software program. Unlike a virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program or require user intervention to spread. It uses a network to send copies of itself to other computers on the network.

Worms can cause two types of damage:
1. Damage to the network: by their replicating behavior, worms consume bandwidth and can cause degraded network performance.
2. Payload: worms also deliver payloads such as backdoors that allow hackers to gain control of the infected computer and turn it into a “zombie”. That computer may then become part of a botnet used to send spam or launch Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks (often coupled with blackmail attempts).

Since worms spread by exploiting vulnerabilities in operating systems, computers should be kept current with the latest security updates or “patches” from operating system providers.

To prevent infection, users need to be wary of opening unexpected emails and should not run attached files or programs, or visit websites that are linked to such emails. Users should be constantly on guard against phishing.

Antivirus and antispyware software, if kept up-to-date, are also helpful, as is the use of a firewall.


A Trojan is another type of malware named after the wooden horse the Greeks used to infiltrate Troy. It is a harmful piece of software that looks legitimate. Users are typically tricked into loading and executing it on their systems. After it is activated, it can achieve any number of attacks on the host, from irritating the user (popping up windows or changing desktops) to damaging the host (deleting files, stealing data, or activating and spreading other malware, such as viruses). Trojans are also known to create back doors to give malicious users access to the system.

Unlike viruses and worms, Trojans do not reproduce by infecting other files nor do they self-replicate. Trojans must spread through user interaction such as opening an e-mail attachment or downloading and running a file from the Internet.

Trojans horses have the potential to cause significant damage, which include:
• Erasing or overwriting data on a computer
• Corrupting files
• Allowing remote access to the victim's computer
• Installing other malicious programs such as viruses
• Adding the victim’s computer to a network of zombie computers in order to launch Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks or send spam.
• Logging keystrokes to steal information such as passwords and credit card numbers
• Harvesting email addresses and using them for spam
• Deactivating or interfering with antivirus and firewall programs

How can I protect my computer or smart devices to use internet safely?

A:Simple safety measures & practices to protect your home computer/ smart devices will help you to protect your privacy and data.

Install a firewall

A firewall is a software program or piece of hardware that blocks hackers from entering and using your computer. Hackers search the Internet in much the same way that some telemarketers automatically dial random phone numbers. Hackers send electronic probes, or pings, to thousands of computers and wait for responses. Firewalls prevent your computer from responding to these random pings. A firewall blocks communications to and from sources you don't permit. This is especially important if you have a high-speed Internet connection, such as 4GLTE or DSL or cable.

Some operating systems have built-in firewalls which are kept in "off" mode by default:
• Be sure to turn your firewall on.
• Ensure your firewall is set up properly and updated regularly.
• Check online "Help" feature for specific instructions on your operating system.

Use anti-virus software
Anti-virus software protects your computer from viruses that can destroy your data, slow down or crash your computer, or allow spammers to send e-mail through your account. Anti-virus protection scans your computer and your incoming e-mail for viruses, and deletes them.
• Keep your anti-virus software updated to cope with the latest bugs circulating the Internet. Most anti-virus software includes a feature to download updates automatically when you are online.
• Make sure your anti-virus software is continually running and checking your system for viruses, especially if you are downloading files from the Web or checking your e-mail.
• Set your anti-virus software to check for viruses when you first turn on your computer.
• Always run FULL scan on your computer, at least twice in a month.

You can review free antivirus software available for download at https://www.av-test.org/en/

Use anti-spyware software
Spyware is software installed without your knowledge or consent. It can monitor your online activities and collect personal information while you surf the Web. Some kinds of spyware, called keyloggers, record everything you type in – including your passwords and financial information. Your computer may be infected with spyware if you receive a sudden flurry of pop-up ads, or you are taken to web sites you don't want to go to, or if your computer begins to run slowly.

Spyware protection is included in some anti-virus software programs while for others you may need to download separate software.
• Check for instructions on how to activate the spyware protection features. You can also buy separate anti-spyware software programs.
• Keep your anti-spyware software updated and run it regularly.
• Download software only from sites you know and trust. Piggybacking spyware can be an unseen cost of many "free" programs.
• Don't click on links in pop-up windows or in spam e-mail.

Manage your system and browser security to protect your privacy Hackers are constantly trying to find flaws or holes in operating systems and browsers.
• To protect your computer and the information on it, ensure your security settings in your system and browser are set at medium or higher. Check the Tools or Options menus for how to do this.
• Update your system and browser regularly. Windows Update is a service offered by Microsoft which download and install security & software updates to the Microsoft Windows operating system, Internet Explorer, and Outlook Express. Patching can also be run automatically for other systems, such as the Macintosh operating system.

Though in Windows 10 OS, you are suggested to disable upload of updates from your computer as this will increase your data consumption.

Put in place a comprehensive infrastructure
The diversity of threats is expanding daily, blended threats are becoming more commonplace and your system may be vulnerable on several levels. You need to put in place protection that addresses all possible vulnerabilities, for example:
• Anti-virus
• Anti-spyware
• Anti-phishing
• Anti-spam
• Email scanning
• Rootkit detection
• Identity protection
• Website authentication
• Network monitoring
• Firewall protection
• Automatic backup and restore
• Parental controls

Secure your wireless network
If you use a wireless network in your home, take precautions to secure it against hackers. Encrypting wireless communications is the first step.
• Choose a wireless router with an encryption feature and turn it on. WPA encryption is considered stronger than WEP. Your computer, router, and other equipment must use the same encryption.
• Note the name assigned to your Wi-Fi network. This name is called Service Set IDentifier (SSID) which lets you connect your computers to the network manually.
• Change the SSID on your router and the pre-set administrative password. Hackers know the pre-set passwords on many wireless routers.
• Consider disabling SSID broadcasting if your router enables it. Though by doing this, any new device will not be able to connect on your network.
• Consider turning off your wireless network when you're not using it.

Maintain Backup of your data at fixed frequency
Apart from directly detecting and removing viruses, you can minimize damage by making regular backups of data and the operating system on different storage device, preferably external storage devices. You can also activate System Restore feature on your Windows OS which saves & restores the registry and critical system files to a previous restore point.

How can I manage data consumption on my account?

A: High data speed in 4GLTE supports faster job completion compared to other networks where internet moves at slower speeds. While browsing experience is wonderful, there are some precautions which if not taken up results in faster exhaustion of data volume.

An ‘idle’ computer, tablet or smartphone may still use up data for background activities like software update downloads and presence status checks of your contacts on social networks like Skype, Facebook and WhatsApp. Social networking applications periodically access the internet to verify and indicate to you which of your contacts are ‘online’.

Most importantly, please note that all Smart Devices have a built in capability to make high data consuming transactions only on WIFI in order to save Carrier Network Data Charges.

Please review suggestions given below which would assist you to regulate/ control your data consumption better:

1) Secure Device Wi-Fi Settings
a) Ensure to change password every fortnight.
b) Passwords once shared (and not changed) allows access to people around you
c) Several apps are available on android to hack WiFi passwords

2) Refresh Self Care Session History
a) Visit and login using your user name and password
b) Default password is same as your UserID and changing password is suggested
c) Data session history at Selfcare is updated after switching off your device
d) To keep track of time & data you spend on streaming video sites
e) Manage amount of data downloaded / uploaded in a session

3) Do not break download session in between
a) Data downloaded before you refresh / restart gets deducted from your account.
b) Before starting to download, check data balance in account to avoid disconnections in middle of download session. This helps to save data in your account.

4) Manage Resolution quality of Online Video transmissions
a) Reduce Video resolution to 240P when watching online video sessions or movies.
i) 1080P HD quality always consume higher amount of data as compared to 144P.
ii) Youtube / Netflix etc… configures video streaming session at AUTO wherein based on bandwidth / speeds received your quality & data usage also increases.
b) Configure video resolution to “Standard” quality on Video Chat applications like Skype, Oovoo etc…

5) Manage Data Sync with Internet Cloud / Online Storages
a) Most smart devices are pre-configured to use WIFI connectivity for data transmissions
b) Turn off DATA SYNC / Update on your smart devices (Phones/Computers)
c) These services (Photo / Video Uploads) replicate/sync in background and consume data
d) Windows 8 computers have pre-installed applications which replicate and consume data
e) Disable / Uninstall applications which you do not use.

6) Avoid using Torrent Downloading Applications since these
a) Upload data from your system in background
b) Are major source of virus and malwares on your systems and devices
c) If used, ensure “Settings” are configured to upload @ 1kB and download @ 90kB to avoid fast data deduction.

7) Install updated antivirus and anti-spam software on your computer
a) Virus infected computers / devices may send out mass emails without your knowledge.
b) Such devices also start consuming high data volumes by transferring data in background.

How much data is consumed in a Skpye video sessions?

Based on recommended bandwidth amounts set by SKYPE-FAQ (https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA1417/how-much-bandwidth-does-skype-need) table below gives an indicative data consumption for ready reference.

I recently upgraded to Windows 10, any precautions to control data consumption on my account?

Microsoft has introduced its new peer-to-peer (P2P) delivery update mechanism. Using the P2P option, you could download a Windows update once and then use that machine to spread the update to all the PCs on your local network. While it may be good for users having more than one computer on LAN, unfortunately, this has a potential side effect: Windows 10’s P2P sharing increases your upload data consumption and slows down your network connection.

Here is how you can disable P2P updates in Windows 10 operating system:

1. Open the Start Menu and click Settings followed by clicking Updates & Security.

2. Ensure Windows Update is selected in the left-hand navigation pane, and then click Advanced Options in the main pane.

3. Click on Choose how updates are delivered.

4. Slide Updates From More Than One Place to OFF position. This Button is switched ON by default.

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