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CYBER CRIMES IN INDIA- CURRENT ISSUES AND CHALLENGES

Updated: Jan 27

Author: Aanya Agarwal, IV year of B.B.A.,LL.B(Hons.) From School of Law, Amity University, Noida.


Introduction

The world witnessed the launch of gas bombs in world war I, nuclear weapons in world war II, and expect world war III to be an e-war i.e. a war on cyberspace. A type of war where there will be almost no physical risk of deploying men and weapons but can result in one of the most horrifying outcomes. With no prior declaration of war, one person sitting in his safe space can destroy a nation with only one click of his mouse.


Cyberspace may be a synonym for the web. The word cybercrime is not mentioned in any statute or rulebook. Cyber is slang for anything concerning computers, information technology, the web, and virtual reality. Therefore, it stands to reason that cybercrime is offences concerning computers, information technology, the internet, and computer game. A computer could also be used as a tool of attack or even the target of the attack. Cybercrime is not restricted by geographical locations and may be committed without revealing truth identity of the criminal. Owing to these reasons, it becomes a difficult task to collect evidence and reach conclusions on the identity of the particular criminal and therefore the place of his conduct. Internet is one among the fastest developing technologies and has proved to be both–a boon also as a bane. As India is moving towards being a digital nation under the ‘Digital India’ paradigm, its dependence on the web has increased exponentially. India stands at 2nd position within the global ranking of internet users.


Types of cybercrime

This section will highlight some cybercrimes that are persistent in India.


Hacking

Hacking is typically understood to be the unauthorised access of a computing system and networks. Hackers usually "hack" on a problem until they find a solution. They keep trying to create their equipment add new and more efficient ways. A hacker may be a Code Hacker, Cracker, or a Cyber Punk. Anyone with the intent to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person destroys or deletes or alters any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by means is said to commit hacking of the InformationTechnology Act, 2000.


Child Pornography

The internet is being highly employed by its abusers to succeed in and abuse children sexually worldwide. It has made children viable victims of cybercrime. As more homes have access to the web, more children would be using the web, and more are the probabilities of falling victim to the aggression of pedophiles. The pedophiles use their false identity to trap children and even contact them in various chat rooms where they befriend them and gain personal information from the innocent preys. They even start connecting with children on their email addresses. These pedophiles drag children to the internet for sexual abuse or to use them as sex objects.


Phishing

Phishing attacks aim at stealing user credentials such as passwords, MasterCard numbers, and bank details. The victim is contacted via emails and messages to lure them into providing identifiable information. Cyber-criminals use social engineering to trick you into downloading malware off the web or prompt you to fill in your personal information under false pretences. A phishing scam is one of the simplest sorts of cybercrime since there is no direct contact between the attacker and the victim.


Cyberstalking

Although there's no universally accepted definition of cyberstalking, it is generally defined as the repeated acts of harassment or threatening behaviour of the cybercriminal towards the victim by using Internet services. Stalking, in general, is often mentioned as the repeated acts of harassment targeting the victim like following the victim, making harassing phone calls, killing the victim's pet, vandalising the victim's property. Stalking could also be followed by serious violent acts like physical harm to the victim. It all depends on the course of conduct of the stalker. Numerous cases of cyberbullying are seen in the youth who exploit social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to focus on their colleagues for crimes they did not commit. Such harassment sometimes leaves unrepairable harm to the mind of the victim. This crime is mentioned under Section 503 and Section 500 of the IPC.


In a nutshell, any offence committed using electronic means like net extortion, cyberbullying, child pornography, and internet fraud is termed cybercrime.


Recent cybercrime cases in India

Nigerian Letter Scam or “419” Fraud

This fraud attracted attention worldwide. During which a self-proclaimed government official offered a chance to a private to earn some illegal money by providing their personal financial information. This scam was set up to empty the bank account of the person and millions of dollars were stolen.


WannaCry Ransomware Attack

The WannaCry ransomware attack occurred in May 2017. This ransomware attack spread through computers operating Microsoft Windows, users' files were held hostage, and a Bitcoin ransom was demanded for their return.


Teenage Boy Commits Suicide due to Cyberbullying

A post titled “My Brother isn't A Rapist” recently made news on the social media platform Instagram. it's the story of a category 12 boy named Manav Singh from Gurugram. a woman allegedly accused him of molestation and rape for an occasion held two years back and claimed she had no proof of it. “Shortly after the post went viral the boy started receiving threat calls messages and was harassed by the girl and her friends” read the post. The boy experienced enormous pressure and believed that his side of the story won't be heard told by his friends. Unable to handle repeated threats and pressure he had a scare and impulsively jumped off the balcony of his flat on the 11th floor. After hearing of this the girl said that it had been not her fault if he couldn’t handle pressure.


A report by IANS states that police have initiated legal proceedings under CrPC 174 and actions are taken to support the analysis report of his mobile.


We can't be certain whose side of the story is correct but cyber bullying may be a punishable crime. People on social media sometimes don't realise the impact their online actions can wear other people’s psychological state. There are authorities to file a complaint but no law within the constitution of India gives anybody a right to defame an otherwise innocent person until he/she has been proven guilty.


Cybercrime challenges in India

There are both pros and cons of the internet and alongside, the convenience that it provides come certain challenges faced by India. Listed below are a number of these challenges.


The speed of cybersecurity changes renders the India government ineffective in determining the root cause of the cyber crimes at the time when it happens.


Government budgets for information and communication technology (ICT) are less as compared to those for other crimes.


There aren't sufficient protocols for cybercrime that stretch beyond the boundaries of India.


Current security personnel isn't well equipped to affect high-tech crimes.


Most of the provisions of cybercrime under the IT Act are bailable with only a little fine.


There is a huge gap between the technical skills of cybercriminals and techno-legal expert lawyers and judges. The government is not ready to appreciate digital evidence.

People are unaware of cybercrimes and their preventive measures.


Conclusion

Change is that the essence of life. What seems impeccable and indestructible today won't remain an equivalent tomorrow. Internet, being a worldwide phenomenon is sure to attract many crimes. India has taken a key step in curbing Cyber Crimes by the enactment of the knowledge Technology Act. It has also given exclusive powers to the police and other authorities to tackle such crimes.


An effort is still wanted to formulate an international law on the use of the internet to curb this imminent danger of Cyber Crimes and to achieve a crime-free Cyber Space. Prevention they say is the best cure. Cyber laws aim to prevent cybercrimes through the use of penal provisions. A great deal however needs to be done before Cyber laws can stand a fair chance to influence the modern world in a much-anticipated manner.