NEW DELHI: India's 71 million internet and close to 10 million broadband users are increasingly becoming the victims of vicious phishing attacks that can result in identity theft, danger to life and even crippling financial fraud. On Wednesday, users of Google's email services received a legal notice from the gmail team asking them to update their account details for security reasons.
"Gmail Team is working on total security on all accounts in order to make Gmail better as ever and as a result of this security upgrade we require all Gmail members to verify their account with Google. To prevent your account from disability you will have to update your account by clicking the reply button and filling the space below," the mail read.
The legal notice from Gmail wanted users to refurbish their account name, password, occupation, birth date and country of residence. It also carried a threat that users who did not update their details within 7 days of receiving the warning would lose their account permanently.
However, when contacted, a Google spokesperson said: "Some spammers send fraudulent mass-messages designed to collect personal information, called 'spoofing' or 'password phishing'. We always advise our users to be wary of any message that asks for your personal information, or messages that refer you to a webpage asking for personal information. Google or Gmail does not send unsolicited mass messages asking for passwords or personal information; even if the message asking for it claims to be from us, please don't believe it."
This information is publicly available in the Gmail support center at httmail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=8253
According to Rakshit Tandon, consultant safe surfing with the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), "Phishing activity has been on the rise across India since December. The biggest targets for cyber criminals are banking sites followed by free email sites like Gmail and Yahoo and social networking sites like Facebook and Orkut," he said.
The IAMAI runs cyber safety programmes and has already worked with 3,50,000 students in 185 schools across 43 cities and 13 states.
"A schoolteacher in Mumbai lost close to Rs 10 lakh after phishers got into her netbanking account. Internet penetration is going up which is inviting more criminal attacks as awareness levels are very low," adds Tandon.
His advise is to be investigative and use logic (BIUL) when using the Net in order to improve your personal Internet security levels.