From the “romance scam” involving cyber criminals who develop emotional bonding with the victims to “charity scam” where fraudsters can pose as charitable organisations to extort money, the students in 280 government schools of Punjab will now be learning about many such new terms and various frauds under the detailed “e-Suraksha” subject.
The special subject “e-Suraksha” on cybercrime and security has been launched under the Centre’s Student Police Cadet Programme (SCP) which has been started in 280 government schools (23 revenue and five police districts) across Punjab. According to the latest directive received from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the students undergoing training under SCP will now also be taught “e-suraksha” curriculum to make them aware of online crimes.
Punjab’s Special DGP (Community Affairs), Gurpreet Kaur Deo, mentioned that the SCP tudent has been initiated in the 280 schools in the first phase. Its purpose is to provide youngsters with insights into police functioning, raise awareness about their legal rights, and foster regular interactions between senior police officers and students, potentially inspiring them to pursue a career in law enforcement. “The program, initially launched by the Kerala Police, gained success and was subsequently adopted by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) for implementation across all states,” said Deo.
Deo added that as per the latest directive received from the Centre, now SCP trainee students will also be taught about “e-suraksha” and the syllabus received from the MHA has been sent to the Punjab education department. The SCP training has been started for students of classes 8 and 9.
So, what are the topics and terms included by MHA in the syllabus?
As per the syllabus released to the 280 schools, students have to be taught about certain terms currently active in the cybercrime landscape such as phishing, identity theft, romance scam, charity scam, online shopping scam, loan scam, tech support scam, investment scam, lottery scam, job and employment scam, and data breach, among others.
Under the “identity theft”, students will be taught how cybercriminals can steal personal information to impersonate victims, open fraudulent accounts and make unauthorised transactions. “Romance scam” is where the cons create fake online personas to develop emotional relationships with victims and then ask for money citing various reasons. In “charity scam”, fraudsters pose as charitable organisations during disaster or crises solicit donations that never reach the intended cause.
The “loan scam” is where bogus lenders offer loans with low interest but disappear after receiving upfront fee and similarly under lottery/prize scam, victims are informed that they have won a huge lottery but must pay fee to claim it. The topic “phishing” would include awareness on deceptive mails and messages which appear to be from trusted source and tricks victims into revealing their passwords, ATM PIN etc.
The syllabus also includes “strong password practices” where students would be encouraged to use strong passwords and different passwords for each account.
On the motive of cybercriminals, students will be told that apart from money and having fun, the criminals also steal personal information to sell it ahead, promote their political and ideological beliefs through cyberattacks, do cyber bullying and also indulge in espionage to spy on governments and gather sensitive information.
Morphed photographs and their misuse
The syllabus would also include the crucial topic for youngsters- morphed photographs and their misuse. The MHA guide book says that “this can have a devastating impact on child’s life.” It can also be used to create child abuse sexual content or to humiliate or embarrass the child.
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