Cyber Crime in India
Gone are the days when accessing the internet was an overpriced matter for an individual/household; when cyber cafes were the only places to have paid usage and having an internet connection at home came at exorbitant prices. Now to use the internet, all you need is a smartphone with an umpteen number of data packs for every income brackets to choose from. Online shopping, social networking, gaming, online jobs – there is hardly anything that the internet has failed to cover. The technology has taken everything by storm and the internet has only upsurge the convenience quotient for Indians. But along with the boon comes the bane. As much as we appreciate the existence and indispensability of the internet in our daily lives, there is no taking away from the fact that Cyber Crime is also one of the dark facets pushed in by the internet and that has questionably jinxed the presence of both technology and internet.
Cyber Crime, can be defined as an act of manhandling technology in an unlawful manner by using a computer device as a tool or medium with an intention to illegally conceal or steal a piece of confidential information. However, the term is generally and perceptibly quite wide and covers an assortment of activities under its ambit. The mishaps connoted as phishing, illegal downloading, piracy, industrial espionage are nothing but various types of Cyber Crimes.
Most commonly committed cyber-crimes may be enlisted as follows:
- Unauthorized Access- in simple words, it means hacking, where a person illegally tries to interface a device and use unlawful means to crack hold of it. It included destructing the existing safety apparatus of a device, replacing the same with a new password(s) with a ready-made computer program to outbreak the aimed computer/device.
- Virus Attacks- A virus is a program which when inserted in a computer device, infects the user workspace, makes copies of itself and infects the whole working. The multiplicity of programs destroys the core management of the system and they do it redundantly till the complete mechanism is devastated. Examples of Viruses are Worms, Trojan horse, time bomb, bacterium, etc.
- Piracy–Piracy making an unauthorized copy of anything and then selling in place of the original one. This includes trademark violations, steal computer source code, illegally downloading movies, copyright infringements, etc.
- Phishing – When an email is sent to your email box from a seemingly legitimate source, generally renowned companies or job offers, it usually contains a link that asks you leak your confidential information from your system. This act is known as phishing. These are bogus websites to illegally extract the information from people and then using it to their illicit gains.
- Email spoofing- When the source of an email is being tampered with, it is known as Spoofing. The intention is generally to have monetary gains.
Although India is regulated by the Information Technology Act 2000, the rate of cyber-crime cases has increased 300% between 2011-2014 which only goes up to prove that the real applicability of the law is still being quizzed. It has also been noticed that India has become one primary target of these malpractice and the crimes are mainly rooted in countries like China, Pakistan, Turkey, UAE, and Brazil. A study by the Indian Computer Emergency team has stated the number of reported cyber crimes were close to 50000 in 2015. The study also underlined that operational systems built around legal technologies with weaker protocols were more prone to these cyber-attacks.
Much to our dismay, it has also been seen in India, that most cybercrimes’ cases don’t have a satisfactory ending, i.e. they don’t end up in conviction. The reasons have been touted as a lack of cyber professionals to crack cases and the government has failed to resource and deploy the best set of cyber practices to use. As per the Data Security Council of India, the Indian government is training police and other officials to deal with cyber law crimes, but impromptu transfers of those trained professionals lead to incomplete or no treatment of those cases. Due to such negligence and the absence of a robust mechanism to fight cyber-crimes, it has led to feeble planning and lesser vigilance for upcoming technological threats in India.
In continuation of the same process to fight cyber-crime, the formation of NCCC (National Cyber Coordination Centre) has been proposed in 2015, with an intention to ensure cybersecurity on the Indian Internet interface and e-surveillance agency in India. The function and duties of NCCC would be to prevent cyber-crime, devising strategies to investigate criminal cases posing threat to Indian Cyberspace, review of old and outdated laws and to curb misuse of Social Media. Though NCCC got an in-principle nod in 2013 by the then government, its actual formation is still pending.
The fight to control Cyber Crimes in India may be a national subject but the importance of general awareness about technology and consequently about criminal activities involved therein at an individual level cannot be undermined. That is to say, if one is agile enough at a personal level and not fall for vague goof ups and staggering monetary offers flooding over the mails, the effect of these crimes can be dealt with a great extent. There are few basic thumb rules that one should swear by if they are susceptible to internet usage on a regular basis.
- Shun off those pop-ups appearing every now and then. This leads to various other fatal hyperlinks that further auto-install malicious software in your device.
- Install a good Anti-Virus in your system to combat unnecessary showdowns and redundancy of pages.
- Don’t fall prey to those lucrative job offers in your mail. They may sound like genuine stuff, which actually drains a lot of secretive information.
- Don’t click on hyperlinks that are not secure and show up irrelatively on your browser.
- Maintain not more than 2 email accounts. It is also imperative that the email account should be protected by the two-step verification process. Mobile alerts facility, when login from a different device is done, should be subscribed for.
- Do not auto-save your credit/debit card details on online web portals.
- Delete the spam folder in your mailbox on a daily basis.
- Avoid online shopping, banking, etc. if the network is not properly secured. Don’t fall for free wifi zones.
- Do not quote your email address or phone number in any kind of surveys and questionnaires.
The rate at which cyber-crimes are inflating is startling. At annual inflation of more than 100% in cybercrimes, India needs a vigorous and effective plan to circumvent Indian cyberspace. The Indian government has from time to time, taken steps and measures, to curb the frequency of Cyber Crimes. Though only steps taken on the national level are not going to regulate and battle the derelictions. It is therefore important that defend the occurrence of these cases on an individual level. If the crimes still surface, then they should duly be reported and taken up and treated diligently. The battle against cyber-crime and protecting India from any upcoming cyber threats can only be dealt with combined efforts of both government and citizens. We need to all pull up our socks and shield any kind of detrimental action taken against our nation.