Law

Cyber Crime and its Remedies

A crime epidemic is silently sweeping the globe as criminals turn our ever-increasing dependence on computers against us, and even the head of Interpol is not immune. [1]  Dr. Debarati Halder[2] and Dr. K. Jaishankar[3] (2011) define Cyber Crimes as: “Offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (Chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones (SMS/MMS)”. Such crimes may threaten a nation’s security and financial health. Issues surrounding these types of crimes have become high-profile, particularly those surrounding cracking, copyright infringement, child pornography, and child grooming. There are also problems of privacy when confidential information is lost or intercepted, lawfully or otherwise. [4] Cyber crimes have touched almost every person around the world. Artificial intelligence brought with it a huge threat to the human race.

There are various ways in which cyber crime can take place. The most familiar ones are hacking, child pornography, theft related to telecommunication services, communications in relation to criminal conspiracies, telecommunication piracies, dissemination of offensive materials which may include racist propaganda, objectionable pictures, or anything falling in that category, electronic money laundering and tax evasion, electronic vandalism, terrorism and extortion, sales and investment fraud, electronic fund transfer frauds and illegal interception of telecommunications.

Many countries have been wrapped under the blanket of cyber crime. The graph of cyber crime shows a step upwards with each passing year. The United States of America contributes most to the augmentation of cyber crime, followed by China, Germany, Britain, Brazil, etc. India stands 11th according to this record.

In India, the National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs has released Cyber Crime Statistics for the year 2013, which shows rapid increase in cyber crime by 50% on year to year basis from 2012 to 2013. The statistics mainly show cases registered under Cyber Crimes by motives and suspects. Maximum number of offenders came from the age group of 18-30 years. Among states, the highest incidents of cyber crime took place in Maharashtra (907) followed by Uttar Pradesh (682) and Andhra Pradesh (651).[5]

Cyber crimes may involve criminal activities that are traditional in nature, such as theft, fraud, forgery, defamation and mischief, all of which are subject to the Indian Penal Code. The abuse of computers has also given birth to a gamut of new age crimes that are addressed by the Information Technology Act, 2000.[6] The crime can be channeled into two distinct varieties, one, by taking the aid of the digital technology to commit the offenses and another, by infecting other digital technologies.

Cyber crime has become a source of profit making by indulging in fraudulent activities. According to experts at RSA Security, cyber crime continues to improve its techniques and the way it organizes and targets victims. The RSA Anti-Fraud Command Centre (AFCC) has developed the following list of the top cybercrime trends it expects to see evolve in the subsequent years:

  • As the world goes mobile, cybercrime will follow
  • The privatization of banking, Trojans and other malware
  • Hacktivism and the ever-targeted enterprise
  • Account takeover and increased use of manually-assisted cyber attacks
  • Cybercriminals will leverage Big Data principles to increase the effectiveness of attacks [7]

In majority of cases, motives reported under cyber crimes were registered under fraud or illegal gain followed by eve-teasing or sexual harassment and greed or money. Similarly, in most of the cases of cyber crime, suspects were neighbours or friends and relatives followed by cracker or student or professional learners.[8]

To cut down the percentage of increasing cyber crime, some measures should be taken to prevent oneself from being a prey to such a transgression. We can use strong passwords for our accounts in social media; we can secure our computers by activating firewall, removing malware and blocking spyware attacks, thus avoiding being spammed and if needed, we can call for help.

Power of investigation has been given to the police officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police or any officer of the Central Government or a State Government authorised by Central Government. He may enter any public place, conduct a search and arrest without warrant, a person who is reasonably expected to have committed an offence or about to commit a computer related crime. Accused has to be produced before Magistrate within 24 hours of arrest. Provisions of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 regulate the procedure of entry, search and arrest of the accused. [9]

Organisations like Police Academies, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), Controller of Certifying Authority (CCA), NCRB, Regional Police Computer Training Centres (RPCTCs) and many more are to prevent this ongoing crime. If anybody finds anything suspicious or are victims of such infraction, they should stand up and take the help of these organisations, for punishing the accused, as regards to the law of the land. Unrelenting laws should be enforced to combat such infringement.

References:

[1] http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2010-09-17/news/27609762_1_cybercrime-banking-system-web-users

[2] Cyber Victim Counselor, Advocate and Legal Scholar

[3] Indian Criminologist, Senior Assistant Professor at Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Manonmaniam   Sundaranar University, Tamil Nadu

[4]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_crimes

[5]  http://www.cyberlawtimes.com/cyber-crime-statistics-india-2013-2014/

[6]  http://www.cyberlawsindia.net/

[7]  http://resources.infosecinstitute.com/2013-impact-cybercrime/

[8]  http://ncrb.gov.in/CD-C1II2013/Chapters/18-Cyber%20Crimes.pdf

[9]  http://hirinz.blogspot.in/2010/10/cyber-crimes-and-steps-to-prevent-and.html

About the Author

10505_474124979293852_401133493_nAmrita Dasgupta is pursuing her B.A. LL.B., from South Calcutta Law College. She loves doing research and holds a predilection for new things. Criminology has always been her field of interest but uncommon fields attract her more. Currently, she is interning at the Model Governance Foundation.

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