AUTHOR: N. Anushea Thomas, 
Student ( pursuing 5th year, B.B.A L.L.B.,(Hons), 
The Tamilnadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, Chennai.
rising vulnerability to cyber crimes RISING VULNERABILITY TO CYBER CRIME

    India being a developing country has been facing a drastic increase in development right from 1991 by way of wide spread use of technology rather than man power. This development have paved its way for India to be ranked as the second largest user of mobile phones in the world. The advent of computers has led individuals increasingly dependent on internet and the technological advancements which has dragged us into a situation where we become more prone to be a victim of cyber crime. Thus it has both positive and negative outcomes in it. The most prominent and notable negative outcome is the cyber crime which has been evolving at a increasing rate in this digital world.


    Cyber crime has in now a days become a fashion among the new digital world. The government of India has also recognized many of the activities to be done by way of electronic devices which has rushed the vulnerability at its peak. Whereas the parliament with its utmost diligence had also made effort to reduce the crime done through internet by enacting stringent laws. The Information Technology Act,2000 is brimmed with provision which to its greater extent evaded the persons from being the victims of cyber crime. Even though the laws are stringent in a manner it could not provide a way to cope up with the new forms and techniques that are still being identified in stealing or fabricating the information that are made available. The IT Act provides for punishments for person in any way interferes with the personal details or privacy of other person or making theft of ones identity or extracting or fabricating data from other network etc. Thus act does not only confers with individual confidentiality of matters but also in cross border issues with regard to cyber terrorism. There are also many threats as to the theft of ones identity by the State itself, where the State ipso facto encompasses with all the details of the citizens. Every citizen of India has the right to privacy which is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution in any way if this right has been violated by State or by any government officials the person can claim for it to be secured under Article 32 of the Constitution, also the IT Act comes into force. Thus the State has provided for its legal protection for all the records and data that are made available by way of digital devices.


    In this growing economy, the people expect every action to be achieved without making any greater effort thus the dependency on technologies have been growing rapidly. The major way by which cyber crime occurs is on the one-hand by using computer as a tool and on the other hand computer as a target. Whereas the use and impact of computer ranges right from individual emotion to national security.
    The Government by way of Information Technology Act ensures the protection of electronic records and electronic signatures which are authenticated by the subscriber and where it can be effected by way of asymmetric crypto system (which is a form used in decryption).Thus the Government has been authorized to make use of those available record, this has lead a hypocritical result where most of the confidential details were made available in e-records which gave a way to cyber criminals to indulge in activities of cyber crime. Thus the scope of the cyber space goes on increasing at an increasing rate resulting in making more people more prone to cyber crime. In its emerging crime the legislators have made an maximum effort to reduce the occurrence of crime by issuance of digital signature certificate to authorize and to safeguard their identity. Asymmetric crypto system which has been widely used in order to give high range of protection to the persons relying more on digital devices. To give utmost protection and maint
    ain accuracy of the information available the key pay which includes both the public key and the private key is used. The subscriber may holds the private key which ensures the confidentiality of the information available.
    In accordance with the law which has lend its way in giving security to the transactions done through online mode or for storage of all personal details in digitalized form or for transferring of data by way of technological devices has encroached to uplift every sectors to make use of the developments. Thus the crimes with regard to hacking, email phishing, cryptocurrency, email scams, intellectual property related crimes are also emerging in all new techniques. Despite of the fact that there are still new techniques evolving in executing the crime, the laws is also encouraging the public in a way to grab the maximum benefit of the available sources.


    The Government has taken steps to promote efficient use of e-commerce by means of reliable electronic records. It has made it much more effective and acceptable for its prominent use by enacting the Information Technology Act,2000. This act has shown its wide range of acceptance of e-commerce activities for the delivery of government services as well. High range of protection has been granted to the electronic records and the electronic signatures which are legally recognized. Thus the legally recognized details are being used by government and also by its agencies for making any payments or for filing any application with the government and they can also retain those documents if necessary. The central government encompasses the available details and lays down the procedure as to how the electronic records and electronic signatures has to be protected. It has also  provided for rendering any sort of services which can be done through online mode. Thus the central government under this act has conferred powers to the certifying authority and controller to ensure the protection of the e-records that are being transferred.
    The individuality and the privacy of all individuals is a prominent asset that has to be treated as the most valuable one in their aspect. It is in no way be violated or breached by any person may it be the government or a fellow being. In any case if the data of any person which has been stored in the computer has been used or altered by any other person without the permission of the owner of the computer with or without any fraudulent intention to cause harm then it shall be considered as an offence and it shall be punishable under this act. Also if any person by any way tries to get access to other computer devices and downloads or gets any details from the device without the authorization of the original owner (which is commonly known as hacking) and obtains any benefit or tries to make harm to the person or transfers the data collected to any other person concerned then it shall be considered as an punishable offence under this Act. In Pune Citibank Mphasis call Center fraud case it was observed that IT act is capable enough to include any crime which is being done in the cyber space even if those act does not constitute an offence under this act. This act impliedly covers all those acts which are punishable as an offence under IPC also. Under IT Act hacking is recognized as an offence both under Section 66 and Section 43. Accordingly, the persons involved are liable for imprisonment and fine as well as a liability to pay damages to the victims to the maximum extent of Rs.1 crore per victim for which the “Adjudication Process” can be invoked.It also provides for punishments for sending  any offensive messages by way of mails or through any social media dishonestly with an intention to affect the person mentally. If by any way any offensive words or pictures depicting anyone is published in any form in order to defame the person then it shall also be considered as an punishable offence under this act. The Bombay High Court in  [i]Manoj Oswal V. 2 Sakal Papers Pvt. Lts. has stated that “any information which is inconvenient, does not mean it is offensive or menacing in character. That may be informing public or anybody about a person or making any remark or recording any opinion about his conduct and character. It is bound to cause him inconvenience and by that act alone the offence is not committed. Some information which may be inconvenient, but that does not invite the penalty. [ii]It is pertinent to mention that although accused was having secured assess to electrical record of the bank and he forged the entries and cheated to cause wrongful gain to himself but there is no such breach of confidentiality by disclosing the information to any other person and as such he is acquitted of offence under Section 72 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. It also deals about cross border issues whereas any disturbance has been caused to the nation integrity and unity of the nation then it shall be punishable. Thus the law facilitates provision for all the offences which could be occurred in the cyber space. It also impliedly covers actions which is not covered under this act but governed under other acts.
    Some important provisions under the IT Act includes:
    Sec 65: Tampering with computer source documents.
    Sec 66: Hacking.
    Sec 66C: Identity Theft.
    Sec 66E: Violation of Privacy.
    Sec 66F: Cyber Terrorism.
    Sec 67: Publishing obscene material.
    Sec 66B: Child Pornography.
    Sec 73: False electronic signature.
    In spite of all the stringent laws there are still rising vulnerabilities in the cyber space. The rising competition in involving these crimes begins from smaller activities to national issues which has still been an unsolvable issue in the international forums also. Due to the no awareness regarding the laws the victims are still left helpless and many remain reluctant due to the embarrassment.


    The criminals when they try to intrude into anyone’s personal space they act in illegal way to get access to those necessary details or to create any harm to the person. Those acts may result in various crimes whereas some notable crimes are discussed as follows:
    ·       VIRUSES:
    Every person using computer have at least once seen an antivirus pop up notification in case by any way you failed to clear those virus your system may get affected by the virus which disrupts with the data available and it gives a easy path to the criminals to obtain the data. The system then move out of the owners controls and then the attacker can make use of those details. Thus all the personal details which are kept in the computer could also be corrupted. In certain cases this could also be done by simply entering into any unwanted websites.
    ·       HACKING:
    Thus crime could be done by any skilled person who has complete knowledge about the usage of computer devices. This is made by using computer as a tool to commit the offence. Whereas the expert person who is in need of any details which is available in other device obt
    ains it by exploiting its weakness without the permission of the original owner. It is clear that ethical hacking is not punishable unless it violates the terms and conditions laid down by the owner of the device.
    ·       PHISHING:
    It is committed by sending an email which seems to be real and which also attaches a link with it and it offers some job opportunities, as soon as you click on the link your details will be extracted from the other side without your knowledge. Thus your personal details shall be obtained and used for fraudulent purposes. In [iii]Nasscom V. Ajay Sood & Others it was stated that “a misrepresentation made in the course of trade leading to confusion as to the source and origin of the e-mail causing immense harm not only to the consumer but even to the person whose name, identity or password is misused”. The court held the act of phishing as passing off and tarnishing the plaintiff’s image.
    The patent, copyrights, trademarks, etc are an outcome of ones own intellectuals whereas when it has been applied in online mode for its recognition of ownership it has been fabricated or stolen and being granted license under other names. In [iv]Microsoft Corporation v Yogesh Papat, the Delhi High Court observed that “It stands established that the defendant has infringed the plaintiff’s copyright by making illicit copies of the operating systems software by openly copying whatever operating system is currently saleable.”
    These are some of the major trending cyber crimes which are being committed still with no interference in their way. Even though there are plethora of provisions under the law is being made available there are still rise in the count of victims in cyber crime.


    Cyber crime has been growing in its high range of vicinity even in the presence of the laws being strictly enacted by the parliament. In its way of rapid growth in the crimes committed by the cyber criminal, the victim to these crimes are also more becoming more vulnerable of being affected. Since now a days the serious impact of these areas of crime are not being realized by the persons committing those crimes so it has become a trend among them at its beginning stage. After getting more involved in these actions they get more expertized in these areas and then they start doing this for getting personal benefit this leads to the rise of serious offences which is punishable under IT Act and under IPC.
    With the people becoming more dependent upon the digital devices there is a outcome of both positive and negative features. These negative outcomes are still rising by engaging in new techniques irrespective of the newly emerging rules and regulations. So the only way to reduce these vulnerabilities is by procuring all safety measures and use the technologies with utmost care and becoming more aware of the available laws.


    [i] https://indiankanoon.org/doc/65830851/ last visited on 14.10.2019 at 01.35 AM.
    [ii] Sanjay kumar V. State of Haryana
    [iii] 119 (2005) DLT 596, 2005 (30) PTC 437 Del. 
    [iv] 118 (2005) DLT 580, 2005 (30) PTC 245 Del. 

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