Cybercrime, or computer-oriented crime, is a crime involving a computer and a network. The computer might have been involved in the execution of a crime, or it could have been the target. Cyber crimes can be described as: “Offences perpetrated against person or groups of people with criminal intentions deliberately damaging the credibility of the victim or causing physical or emotional injury, or damage, to the victim directly or indirectly, utilizing electronic telecommunication networks such as Internet (networks like chat rooms, blogs, notice boards and communities) and cell phones (Bluetooth/SMS/MMS)”. Cybercrime can endanger the safety and financial health of an individual or a country. Issues related to these forms of crimes have become high-profile, especially one related to hacking, copyright infringements, unjustified government surveillance, child abuse, and child grooming.
There are also privacy issues regarding cybercrime as sensitive material is collected or leaked, legitimately or otherwise. Debarati Halder and K. Jaishankar further describes cybercrime from a gender viewpoints and identifies ‘cybercrime against women’ as “Crimes against women for a deliberated damage to victims mentally and physically, using electronic telecommunication networks such as internet and cell phones”. Globally, both governmental and non-state actors participate in cyber crimes, including hacking, financial theft, and other cross-border crimes. Cyber crimes that cross foreign boundaries and require acts by at least one nation-state are often referred to as cyber-warfare.
Causes of Cybercrime:
Cyber offenders often prefer an simple path to earn bunch of money. They threaten wealthy people or organizations such as banks, casinos and financial institutions where a large amount of money moves every day and hack classified details. It’s hard to apprehend the offenders. That is why the amount of cyber-crimes is rising across the globe. Computers are insecure, and regulations are required to safeguard and defend them from cyber criminals. We can mention the following explanations for the insecurity of computers:
- Easy to access – The issue with shielding a data network from unwanted access is that thier possible infringements owing to advance technologies. Hackers can interpret access codes, eye photos, digital voice recorders etc. and will quickly circumvent biometric systems and disable firewalls can be used to get past many security systems.
- Capacity to store data in comparatively small space – The device has a special function of processing data in a very restricted area. It makes it far safer for individuals to take data from some other resources and exploit it for their own benefits.
- Complex – The computers operate on operating systems and millions of codes are coded for such operating systems. The human mind is flawed, and at every point they will make errors. Cyber attackers are taking advantage of these holes.
- Negligence – Negligence is one of the features of human conduct. There may be probability that the security of the computer system can give rise to any negligence which gives cyber-criminals access to power over the computer system.
- Loss of evidence – The data related to the crime can be easily lost. So, the lack of facts has been very normal & apparent issue that paralyzes the mechanism behind the detection of cyber-crime.
CYBER CRIME IN INDIA
In India, cybercrime may be described as a crime or an illegal act whether the device is used either as a tool, a purpose or both. In other terms, cyber crimes in India can be described as an unauthorized access to any computer network without the consent of rightful owner or place of criminal operation and involve anything from digital cracking to denial of service attacks.
Types of computer criminals include phishing, spoofing, DoS (Denial of Service) assaults, credit card theft, online transaction fraud, cyber defamation, child abuse, etc.
The twentieth century has brought to reality the concept of a global community, where modern technology has intertwined and enmeshed the markets, societies and communities of the globe. India is no different, with more than 400 million internet users as of 2018, rendering it the second-highest internet user in the world. Although greater accessibility through the world’s network offers large-scale progress, it stills leaves our digital systems open to new vulnerabilities. Cyber criminals know no boundaries and are developing at a same rate as new technology.
In fact, according to the 2017 report, Indian consumers have lost more than 18 billion U.S. more than 27 thousand cases of cyber crimes were registered in the country in 2018, an rise of more than 121 percent relative to the number of cases two years earlier. Although the scope of crimes varies from trivial internet theft to lottery scams and sexual assault, the most prevalent criminals tends to be in the banking and finance industries.
Now question that arises as to how this epidemic has evolved so strongly that it is now even capable of attacking the power guards, impacting the financial institutions and also as it is said, corrupting the highly controversial Electronic Voting Machines in India, as claimed by self-proclaimed tech expert, Syed Shuja who said that EVMs can be hacked, which, if real, could undermine the very basis of democracy. During the early ages, computers related crime was just malicious assault on machines and destroying it physically. There were no internet-crimes as such. First Incidents of cyber-crime emerged in the 1870s, where the teenagers were known for phone records and increasing reliance on technology. In 1992, the first cyber-crime happened when the first polymorphic virus was released. One of the very first incidents of cybercrime in India was phrasing. Throughout the 1990s, the internet was used as a single fastest speed platform of human Yahoo.
This was the case in 1999. In this case, the defendant Akash Arora was suspected of using the copyright or domain name ‘yahooindia.com’ and a compulsory restrain order was obtained. The other case concerns Vinod Kaushik and ors. v. Madhvika Joshi and ors. Under which it was held that access to e-mail accounts of husband and father in law without their consent was not allowed the section 43 of the IT Act, 2000. This case was resolved in 2011. All of these cases relate to the fact that the cybercrime has developed, especially in relation to evolution in India.
CYBER LAWS IN INDIA
In India, cyber laws are found in the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”) which came into force on October 17, 2000. The primary objective of the Act is to provide legal identification in electronic transactions and to encourage the filing of electronic documents by the Government.
The existing laws of India, although with the most compassionate and liberal interpretation could not be read in the light of the emergency cyberspace, to cover all facets of various cyberspace operation. In reality, the practical knowledge and wisdom of decision have proven that it is not without significant challenges and risks that current laws can be implemented in the evolving cyberspace scenario without enacting new cyber laws. There is also need for the implementation of applicable cyber rules.
None of the current laws provides some legal authority or sanction to the Cyberspace activities. For instance, the internet is used by a large number of people for email. Yet till today, email id has not been safe in our country. There is no rule in the country that provides legal credibility, and authorization via email. The Courts and judiciary in our country have been hesitant to give legal approval to the legality of email in the absence of any strong rules having been enacted by the Parliament. As such the need for cyber legislation has emerged.
CYBER CASES IN INDIA
India reported 21,796 cyber crimes in 2017, an increase of 77% from 2016. In 2017 1.7 cyber crimes per one lakh population were committed throughout the nation. Around half of the offences have been committed to make money by dishonest means. New crime heads such as cyber blackmailing, cyber bullying, and circulation of fake news were introduced in the 2017 NCRB report.
The rate of growth in cyber crimes decreased in 2015 and 2016 before increase was reported in 2017. In 2014, cyber crimes increased by 69% compared to 2013. In 2015, 11,592 cyber crimes were reported in India, which was an increase of 20.5% compared to 2014. In 2016, growth rate of cyber crimes further decreased by 6.3% as 12,317 crimes were recored.
THE WORK OF GOVERNMENT TO CURB CYBER CRIMES
The following are some of the steps taken by the government to combat the cyber crimes:
- The Ministry of Home Affairs shall consult the State Government and Union Territory on Cyber Crime. The State Government is also advised to develop techniques like cyber police stations, technical infrastructure and trained personnel for detection, registration, investigation and prosecution of cyber crimes.
• Specialized and basic guidance to Law Enforcement Agencies, Forensic Laboratories and courts on techniques and strategies for gathering, evaluating and presenting digital evidence by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In)and the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC).
• Training of Forensic Lab has been set up at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI),to train Cyber Crime Police Officers. In the states of Kerala, Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur and Jammu & Kashmir training forensic labs has been set up.
• NASSCOM, DSCI (Data Security Council of India) has been set up at Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Kolkata to increase awareness of Cybercrime.
• CERT-In has published guidelines for the security of websites available at www.cert-in.org.in as well as regular training programs to make system administrators aware of cyber-attacks.
• Through the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Government has agreed to include a centralized citizen forum to file cyber grievances online.
• The Ministry of Home Affairs has also set up an Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center (I4C) to combat against cyber crime in the country and generated an open platform to raise complaints by the victims.
It is also our duty with the Government to take certain measures and precautions wherever necessary, such as reducing the use of alcohol and drugs. As, 51% crimes occur because of the impact of alcohol and drugs. Aware people, who are uneducated and if possible give them training on using the internet, phone, credit card, and debit card etc. Also, make them aware about Government policies, cyber laws etc. We all know that catching hackers or internet criminals is difficult as they use computers in one country and hack computers in another country. So, the only approach is to be careful and cautious. Users of the internet can use unique passwords, install anti-virus software, watch fraudulent emails and do not access programs from unknown sources.
Author: Kunal Gupta,
Jagran lakecity University