When the student approached the police, it was discovered that the assailant was her former boyfriend. An official with the Pune Cybercrime Investigation Cell said the man was from Ahmednagar and would harass the girl when she had a relationship with him.
“He went so far as to circulate her personal information and her phone number on WhatsApp, inciting people against her. We set a trap and caught it in Hadapsar, ”the official said.
As World Cyberbullying Day was observed on Friday, data available from the city’s police cyber cell revealed an alarming increase in the number of such threats on the web. The cell has recorded the maximum number of cyberbullying cases in the form of fake Facebook profiles, account hacking and posting of defamatory messages.
Citing an example of how WhatsApp is used for web bullying, a cybercrime investigator and CyberFirst Pvt. Ltd Director Sandip Gadiya said he recently received the case of a businessman whose WhatsApp account was hacked. “The hacker gained access to personal photos of the man on his WhatsApp and started harassing him for bitcoin as a ransom,” he said.
Gadiya said that one way to hack someone’s WhatsApp account is to send a phishing link to the target’s phone. “One of those recent phishing links is about an airline offering a free ticket. When the person clicks on the link, it generates an OTP that the user is prompted to use. Once the OTP is entered, the hacker has access to the person’s WhatsApp account and can use all personal information, ”he said.
Shweta Chawla, chief and chief investigator of SC Cyber Solutions here, said children and the elderly were not spared either. “Until five years ago, most of the targets were students. The authors also use some popular mobile phone games, which require communications with other players in the group, to hit, ”she said.
Ritesh Chopra, country manager (consumer business unit) Symantec, told TOI that apps like Blue Whale are a big concern for parents. “Children often end up sharing personal information while playing. By securing administrator access to a user’s phone as soon as the app is installed, authors have access to all photographs and personal information stored on the device. This information is often used to intimidate and blackmail children into completing various phases of the game, ”he said.
A cybercrime expert said older people fall prey to cyberbullying as well. “I remember one case where an elderly person was targeted in a housing company’s WhatsApp community because their suggestions did not match the views of some other members of the group,” he said. .