Threats for Adults

Threats for Adults.

1. Fake Identities
In India, fake identities are a huge problem. In 2019, Facebook reportedly removed 5.4 billion fake accounts of Indian users. With social media expanding and the number of apps that Indian users have signed up on, users have been reportedly using fake pictures, creating a false representation to connect with you and building a fake life online. Especially when these fake identities are used for criminal activities like harassment, stalking and phishing.

Quick Responses

How do you check for fake profiles?
Check the profile thoroughly for the following:
  • The profile has very few pictures or no new pictures
  • It was created recently
  • The information linked with their profile and how selective it is.
  • Little or no contacts in common, when the profile who is trying to add you has no common friends or interests, the reason can be malicious.
  • When a profile adds you but doesn’t bother to actually engage is one of the major signs of a fake profile.
What is safe?
  • We have to understand that whatever we share on the internet stays on the internet. The best way to tackle is to understand that everything you share is susceptible to access and so we have to share information in a smart and responsible way only.
How do I protect myself?
It may sound silly but strong passwords, using characters, characters and numbers are definitely harder to hack than birth-dates. Changing your password at least once every six-months and using different passwords for different handles is a good way to start.

2. Cyber bullying
While people all over the world have been following the trend of face-to-face bullying, the internet and digital devices provided an outlet for bullies to do it anonymously. The first time India tackled with Cyber bullying was with the Vishaka vs. the State of Rajasthan, the State became aware of online sexual harassment and cyber stalking.

Quick Responses

What do I do if I’m being bullied online?
  • Prevention is always better than cure. Keep unknown people at bay!
  • Report! If you identify cyber bullying personally or with someone you know, please ask for help or report on [email protected]
  • Make sure you save evidence.

3. Fake News
Fake news refers to false information or propaganda published under the guise of being authentic and spread through the medium of news and/or social media, leading to even Chinese whispers through word-of-mouth.
Fake news can be categorized as –

  1. Disinformation: False information deliberately and covertly spread to mislead and influence public opinion or obscure the truth. The information is intentionally presented by the manipulation of facts to tweak the narrative, i.e., used as a tool of propaganda.
    Example, if someone intentionally and strategically sends out information in the form of articles, photos, memes, videos, etc., that they know is untrue its disinformation.
  2. Misinformation: False information that is inadvertently spread and published regardless of the intent to fabricate facts and/or mislead.
    Example, when an individual sees this disinformation, in the form of articles, photos, videos, etc., and believes it, and then shares it, that’s misinformation.
  3. Mal-information: When genuine information is shared to cause harm, often by moving information designed to stay private into the public sphere.
    Example, if someone sends out a personal picture and/or video to another person and the latter makes it public without consent for the purpose of harassment and/or revenge, that’s mal-information.

Quick Responses

  • We can try to improve our media literacy. How? By looking at and carefully checking the sources of the information that we receive.
  • Fact-Checking is important! It is to double check and check the URL source before believing and sharing anything and everything we encounter on social media.
  • Stay away from the Click bait syndrome. We can’t just be intrigued and ignited by flashy and controversial headlines. Go through the entire piece yourself before sharing anything.
  • Help other by correcting them and making them learn about fact checking when we see false information being spread.
  • The key is to be armed, with awareness so as to be able to recognize and slay all faulty information that comes your way and stop it from spreading any further.

4. Doxing
Anonymity has become a powerful tool online, but predominantly for the wrong reasons. Doxing refers to researching and broadcasting private or identifying information about someone online, usually having malicious intent. The databases used to acquire such information are usually social media websites with the tool of hacking. Doxing is carried out with the intent to inflict harm, shame, and harassment on a virtual public platform.

Quick Responses

  • Use separate usernames and separate and strong passwords for different websites.
  • Make sure you know who all your social media friends are.
  • Edit your profile so that you are sharing only with your friends.
  • Increase your social network privacy settings.

5. Social Engineering
It is designed to convince the victim to divulge in their financial information like that of – bank accounts, credit cards, ATM Pin, etc. The fraudsters guise as customer care service providers requesting OTP or other such details. It results in huge amount of loses. Such social engineering fraud activities can also be done through emails in the form of Click bait luring someone in the form of huge amount of lottery and in the garb of it acquiring their bank details.
There are branches of social engineering like –

  1. Phishing: It involves sending an email that falsely claims to be a particular enterprise (bank or digital wallet platform) and asking for sensitive financial information.With the recent rise in phishing cases, especially the Paytm KYC scam, Paytm has reportedly filed a FIR with Noida police’s cyber wing against 3,500 numbers. Even Netflix is aware of the widespread scam and released a series “Jamtara”; about how phishing has turned into a lucrative business and the tricks that people use to take advantage of users.
  2. Whaling Attack: An advanced form of phishing used to guise as a part of an organization and target the senior or important members, with the intent to seize sensitive information and/or rob money.
  3. Pretexting: The act of masquerading a good pretext to strive to steal victim’s personal information. The scammer builds up the pretext of asking for “bits of information” to verify their identity. The data acquired is used to commit identity theft.

Quick Responses

  • Never share your personal/financial details with anyone on the phone or via email. Can’t stress enough – Banks don’t ask for your account details on the phone!
  • Don’t ever recite your OTP out loud.
  • Don’t click on random links – the ones that come up as pop ups, or the ones that you get from banks or digital financial platforms unless verified.

6. Spam
As we all know, our emails accounts come with a ‘Spam’ or ‘Junk’ folder which highlights that spam emails are a huge issue, with more than 50% of emails being sorted into these folders.

Quick Responses

  • Learn how to train your filter. Seek help from a professional or the Google search engine is always at your service.
  • Make sure you don’t respond to spam messages and delete them.
  • Subscribe to offers, pages, etc. carefully.


  1. Robinson, L., Segal J., (November 2019), “Bullying and Cyberbullying”
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  2. Bisson, David (November, 2019), “5 Social Engineering Attacks to Watch Out For”
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  3. Fruhlinger, Josh, (November 2019), “What is phishing? How this cyber attack works and how to prevent it” Retrieved from
  4. Coble, Sarah, (January 2020), “Over Half of the Organizations Were Successfully phished in 2019” Retrieved from
  5. HTML Resource, (October 2019), “Doxxing: What Is It and How to Avoid Being a Victim [Infographic]” Retrieved from
  6. Yonder Resource, (March 2019), “Misinformation vs. Disinformation: What’s the Difference?”
    Retrieved from
  7. Wardle, C., Derakhshan, H, (2017, September 27), “Information Disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policy making.”
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  8. Lilleker, Darren, (January 2020), You’re probably more susceptible to misinformation than you think” Retrieved from
  9. Morris, K., Yeoman, F, (January 2020), Why media education in schools needs to be about much more than ‘fake newsRetrieved from