Written by: Tushita Poddar
Introduction to Cybercrime
As the name suggests, cybercrime is a criminal activity involving a computer and a network. It refers to any sort of unlawful activity that has been carried out with the help of technology. Fraud, malware virus, cyberstalking, trafficking in child pornography, stealing identities, and other forms of cybercrime are only a few of the examples.
As the computer has become vital to commerce, entertainment, and government sectors, cybercrime has grown in importance, particularly through the internet. The majority of cybercrime targets personal, corporate, or government information. Cyberwarfare is a word used to denote cybercrime that surpasses international borders and encompasses the actions of at least one nation-state. The Internet, being a global network, provides cybercriminals with a variety of hiding places both in the physical world and on the network itself. Despite their best efforts to hide their traces, cybercriminals leave evidence as to their identity and whereabouts, much like people walking on the ground leave markings that a competent tracker can follow. As shown in a report published in 2018 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in conjunction with McAfee, cybercrime damages about one percent of global GDP, or $600 billion, each year.
Types of Cybercrimes
As our globe is becoming more technological, cybercrime on computing devices can be extremely catastrophic. Cybercrime has become more and more widespread than ever because of advances in technology and more people rely on internet-enabled services for day-to-day activities such as preserving account information and processing money on the internet. The repercussions of these cyber-attacks are devastating and can lead to significant damages.
The three main categories of cybercrimes are as explained below:
Individual Cybercrimes- Disseminating dangerous or illegal material via the internet and digital applications by a single individual falls under this category of cybercrime. This category of cybercrime includes things like cyber speaking, pornography distribution, and human trafficking, grooming, cyberstalking, to name a few.
Property Cybercrimes- This cybercrime mimics an actual scenario wherein the criminal fraudulently obtains debit or credit card credentials. The hacker exploits an individual's bank account data in order to obtain cash or performs phishing attacks on the web in order to gather information from others. The intruder hacks the properties employing malicious programs to undermine the firm's network.
Government Cybercrimes- Even though it is the least frequent form of attack, it is also the most dangerous. Cyber Terrorism pertains to a cybercrime executed against the government. Attacking webpages, defense webpages, and broadcasting state propaganda, all seem to be types of governmental cybercrime. These attacks are usually performed over by an enemy country or terrorists.
There are many different types of cybercrimes. A few of them are briefly mentioned as follows:
● Insider Attacks- These types of cybercrime attacks are the most common attacks. External attackers are not responsible for all network attacks. These kinds of attacks are done by the insiders who already have authorized access to the network.
● Hacking- An attacker who gets access to any computer network sans anyone’s authorization is said to have performed hacking. There could also be multiple causes, but by far the most prominent is somewhat fundamental and might even be justified by human behaviors such as wealth, popularity, status, so on and so forth.
● Phishing- This is a means of obtaining delicate information such as account credentials as well as username/password credentials by misrepresenting a respectable organization. Email spoofing is the most standard practice of phishing.
● Email spamming- Whenever an attacker writes enormous numbers of emails to a target address, the victim's email address or email accounts are cut short. In an attempt to drain system resources, the email is nonsensical and unreasonably lengthy.
● Cyber Stalking- A cybercriminal doesn't quite literally stalk his victim; rather, he does so digitally by observing his online activities to gain information about him as well as to harass and blackmail him. That is an infringement on an individual's internet freedom.
Certain laws regarding Cybercrime in India
To combat this menace, India has passed many cybercrime legislation. These laws aid in reducing or eradicating cyber misdeeds. The Information Technology Act of 2000, which went into effect on October 17, 2000, comprises cyber legislation in India. The Act's principal purpose is to give electronic commerce legal legitimacy and render registering digital data with the government smoother. Most of the IPC and IT Act's cyber-crimes possess the same constituents and perhaps even terminology. A few examples include the following:
● Hacking and data theft- Hacking into a network system, information robbery, launching and propagating malware through the networked computers, destructing computers, computer systems, or software programs, obstructing any computer, computer system, or computer network, rejecting an authorized person's access to a computer or computer network are all prohibited under Sections 43 and 66 of the Information Technology Act. For the crimes stated previously, the maximum sentence is 3 (three) years in prison or a fine of Rs. 5,00,000 (Rupees five lac), or maybe both. The theft of any data, whether online or offline, will fall under Section 378 of the IPC, which deals with the "theft" of moveable property.
● Identity theft- Anyone who deceptively or maliciously exploits the electronic signature, passcode, or some other unique identification attribute of another person is condemned under Section 66C of the IT Act. Section 419 of the IPC additionally establishes a penalty for 'cheating by personation,' stating that anyone who cheats by personation faces either imprisonment of any description for a term up to 3years or a fine at times both accordingly.
Some important Case Laws
● The case of Yahoo v. Akash Arora1 was one of the first cyber crime cases in India. The defendant, in this case, Akash Arora, was accused of utilizing the trademark or domain name ‘yahooindia.com,’ and a permanent injunction was requested.
● Vinod Kaushik and others v. Madhvika Joshi2 and others is the other case. According to section 43 of the Information Technology Act of 2000, accessing the e-mail accounts of the spouse and father-in-law without their permission is prohibited.
● Mr. Tushar Mehta learned Additional Solicitor General on the defendant’s side in the well-known case of Shreya Singhal v. Union of India3, argued that any matter posted on the internet or made available to netizens is unquestionably more universally accessible than any other media, and that, unlike other media, it's not restricted to any particular boundary.
● The Bank NSP case4, in which a bank’s management trainee was engaged to be married, is one of the most well-known cybercrime instances. Using workplace computers, the couple exchanged several emails. After their break up, the girl made some fake email id like “indianbarassociations” and sent emails to the boy’s international clients. She did all of this on the bank’s computer. The boy’s business lost a lot of customers, so he went to court against the bank. The bank was found responsible for emails sent through its system.
● In December 2004, the CEO of Bazee.com5 was arrested for selling an offensive CD on the website. In Delhi’s markets, the CD was also available. The Mumbai and Delhi police departments responded quickly. After posting bond, the CEO was freed. This raised the question of how we should differentiate between ISPs and content providers.
Cybercrime is a major issue that can result in severe financial damage for both individuals and businesses. To maintain the safety of oneself and the organization, basic online regulations must be followed. The establishment of a formal supervisory body to ensure accuracy and openness in the tasks and powers of investigation agencies can have a positive impact on the eradication and decrease of cybercrime and crime in general.