Written by: Vishwa Juvvala
Globalization and the advancement of technology connect people all around the world and keep them connected and updated every second across the world, making them interdependent and stay connected.
"Cybercrime is defined as a crime that takes place using a computer and networks. It may be based on a group or an individual."
The advancement of society and unemployment in India has also led to the committing of such cybercrimes. Earlier, it was done by a small group or an individual, but in recent times, organized crimes have increased drastically, with highly advanced equipment and by uniting the criminals in one place and encouraging them to commit crimes. There is also another side to this crime it is not done because of poverty or unemployment; sometimes it may be done to show off the skills one has and earn money most easily in a short span. According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, when compared to last year, there is a rise in cybercrimes due to pandemics. There is almost an 11.8% increase in cybercrimes in India. The most affected areas are mostly metropolitan cities. The increase comes from the states of Telangana, Maharashtra, Odisha, Assam, and Jharkhand. Every one in two people has been scammed by a fraudster, and most of those people are educated and intelligent people. Most of these crimes are constituted by online assets or financial fraud. According to the Police Department of the States, Noida in Uttar Pradesh, Palgar in Maharashtra, Gwalior-Chambal Region in Madhya Pradesh, Bharatpur in Rajasthan, and Deogarh in Jharkhand are major hubs for cybercrimes in India. The Criminals will not commit crimes in the local area or within the state; mostly they will target Southern Indian victims as the police will not be focusing much on these issues. The crimes are not getting reported much as people don’t know the legal remedies, and hence the crimes are also increasing rapidly. It is also the government's fault for not creating awareness about the safety of people in this Internet world and for maintaining a good law and order situation. With the stricter actions and legislation implemented, no one can prevent these crimes, and most of the victims are women and children. According to the research done by Norton, cybercrimes in India are increasing, and almost 13 crore Indians are victims of cybercrimes. The majority of crimes are committed as a result of illiteracy and a lack of knowledge about Internet safety. Nearly 70% of Indian people are worried about their Identities being misused and an estimated 1.2 lakh crores of Indian rupees have been scammed in cybercrimes against the people of India. (India: Promoting safety amongst Netizens, 2022).
Types of Cybercrimes
There are mainly three types of cybercrime; they are generally based on an individual, property, or organization, but there are many ways to commit these crimes. As cyber threats and crimes evolve, we also need to evolve and create awareness regarding cyber security.
Phishing: is a type of method used by hackers to access your sensitive information and financial status by bombarding your mail with offers on a car, mobile, loans, etc. It is a hyperlink. By clicking on it, you will be redirected to the scammer’s website, which exactly looks like a renowned website. They will collect all the sensitive information.
Vishing: Criminals try to steal your sensitive information, like your one-time password, ATM pin, or Internet banking passwords. They will try to call you and mention that the employees or representatives and have access to all the information needed to commit the crime.
Sexting is the act of sending explicit content in the form of video calls, emails, chats, etc., usually on mobile.
Smishing: Criminals use SMS bombing that looks authentic but contains a scam that usually contains a link that redirects to a site or to download anything, or maybe a fraudulent phone number to call back.
Cyberbullying: Criminals use social media, emails, etc. to harass or stalk a person and extort money and this also includes slander, liability, threats, false accusations, etc.
Prostitution: Criminals commit the crime by using social media or creating websites to advertise the escorts and make them available, which is illegal and a crime.
Sextortion: occurs when criminals threaten to publish or send explicit content to their friends or family if they do not fulfil sexual favours or give money to them.
Cyber Grooming: Criminals use social media to target victims and establish good relations with them to meet physically, commit sexual abuse, or maybe scam money.
Job Fraud: Criminals advertise or publish posts relating to earning a good income without doing much. People who are unemployed or underemployed get attracted and get cheated.
Crypto-Virus: It is also called “Ransomware”. Criminals will lock your important data or sensitive information by targeting your devices and keeping them hostage until their goals are fulfilled.
Data Breach: It means stealing all your confidential and personal information because of a lack of proper security. Criminals do this by spamming, and sometimes it may be done by some people within the organization.
Cyber Terrorism: Terrorism is a threat to the world. Terrorists commit crimes with the purpose of causing grievous injury to the government or people of a country. They always stalked the people of a country via social media, etc., collecting all the confidential information and committing crimes.
Drug Trafficking: Criminals use the Internet to procure drugs within the country or around the world, with the rise of cryptocurrency in the world. Drug trafficking has become much easier, and offences are rising significantly.
Intellectual property theft criminals steal all the movies, music, and books and make them available for free on third-party websites. Though piracy is not considered a severe crime, all the pirated content that you download contains malware and viruses that can destroy your machines.
How can you prevent Cyber Crimes or Cyberattacks ?
One FBI Director once said, “There are only two companies that have been hacked, and those that will be.”
The only way to keep yourself protected is to keep updated on the crimes and keep the security systems strong by maintaining strong passwords and not keeping the same password for everything and updating them every two to three months. Installing a good antivirus and maintaining a strong firewall. When shopping, only shop from secured and trusted websites. When giving devices to children, use parental controls and security systems. When using social media, not everything is meant to be shared. Always use private profiles and be socially limited to people you know and trust. Avoid using public internet networks. To strictly avoid making financial transactions using public networks, as they are not secure. Don’t open unnecessary emails and text messages from unknown people or spammers, and think twice before clicking any link that you receive from anyone. Encrypt your data, use locks for mobile phones, and limit the interaction of your machines with private persons. Also, stay up to date on your financial transactions and keep an eye on your bank accounts and gadgets for any errors.
What are the laws relating to Cyber Crimes in India?
The Information Technology Act 2000 was amended in 2008 with provisions relating to existing crimes. This act enables victims to get compensated for the things done by Cyber criminals and it also provides sentences for the criminals. The victim has the right to take legal action against them.
Under Section 43 A of the Information Technology Act 2000, the victim has the right to take legal action against the perpetrator and get compensated for offences relating to using computers to steal sensitive data and or create issues for the victim. If anything has been done relating to it, the perpetrator will be held liable under this section and he will be compensated at the discretion of the court. (Compensation for Failure to Protect Data, 2009).
Section 65 of the Information Technology Act 2000 deals with the breaching of data from the computer by whoever willingly or knowingly alters or creates a disturbance by changing Source code in machines is a crime punishable by three years in prison or a fine of two lakh rupees, or both.
Section 66 of the Information Technology Act 2000 : “Any person who sends offensive messages via SMS or electronic mail with any objective insult, inconvenience, hatred, ill will, enmity, or annoyance may be sentenced to three years in prison or a fine, or both.” Cyber Defamation is the same as mentioned under the Indian Penal Code 1860. The term “defamation” has a clear-cut definition under this statute and it amounts to the same even if it is offline or online. Here are some provisions for cybercrimes in India that need to be amended and implemented for the new offences in the 21st century. In India, there are so many unknown offences that are not mentioned under the law. For this technological globalization, the laws and regulations need to be updated as cybercrimes are increasing rapidly. Solved cases are so much fewer than reported ones as there is a lack of technological awareness among the police and a shortage of techie experts in the country. Crime can be controlled only when there are experts in this field and given trained officers. From the beginning, only developing students and creating awareness about cyber security awareness among them.
Relevant Case Laws
The CEO of bazee.com was arrested for selling an objectionable CD through his website, and it was also being sold on the streets of Delhi. He was arrested and, after a month, he was released on bail. The issue raised was the distinction between the service provider and content provider, and since he was only the content provider, the police realized they needed a lot of education and knowledge in dealing with cybercrimes. (Avinash Bajaj v. State of Delhi, 2008)
Sony allows NRIs to purchase products from them online after making a payment. It will be delivered to people residing in India. A user named Barbara Campa ordered a Sony television and a headset and made payment for the same. It was also clear from the bank transaction that it was delivered to the person, Arif Azim, a young working professional in a call centre. Later, it came to light that the transaction was fraudulent, and the bank said it was an unauthorized transaction after a month of delivery. Sony Private Limited complained to the Central Bureau of Investigation as to online cheating and a case has been booked under 418,419,420 of the Indian Penal Code. The court held that he gained all the bank information of an American national when he admitted his guilt. The court felt that the convict was a first-time criminal and sentenced him to one year. (CBI v. Arif Azim, 2002)
National Association of Software and Service Companies v. Ajay Sood and others
The Delhi high court held that though there is no specific legislation on phishing, it is considered illegal for a person who is spoofing to be a bank employee or insurance company to collect personal information to cheat him financially. The defendant used phishing emails to everyone representing NASSCOM to extract personal data. The defendants agreed to admit their guilt and pay an amount of 1.6 million Indian rupees in damages for the violation of NASSCOM’s trademark rights. The court further held that they should not use the plaintiff’s name anymore and seize all the hard discs found in their possession. (NASSCOM v. AJAY SOOD Other) .
In the case of an NSP bank
A management trainee of the bank was engaged to be married to a girl, and both were employees of the bank. The couple exchanged many messages in electronic mail through bank computers. The couple separated soon after. The girl created many fraudulent email ids and sent them to the boy’s foreign clients. As a result, many foreign clients left the bank and took the bank to court. It was held that the bank would be made liable for the emails that were sent by the bank’s systems.
How to report cybercrime in India?
A cybercrime complaint can be made using the National Crime Reporting Portal of India. Here is the link to the website: https://cybercrime.gov.in/
India is a developing country and most of the people are illiterate and don’t have proper awareness. Hence, these crimes are increasing rapidly as the country is moving with a mission toward Digital India. There is a need for proper legislation to regulate criminals for not committing the crime, and the crimes also evolve with time. Cyberwar is the battlefield of the now. The world has seen two world wars, but the next one is going to be a cyberwar. Any institution or any antivirus cannot protect us or help us without following the proper measures mentioned above. By taking responsibility for ourselves, we can protect ourselves, our gadgets, and our information. Worldwide, intelligence units and police cells have started reacting seriously to cybercrimes. Many efforts are being made, but it is our responsibility to protect ourselves and be alert. The Indian government is also focusing on implementing cyber cells around every corner of the country. They are also creating awareness among people, but it all starts with you not getting scammed.