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Cyber crime is on rise in India and cops have edges in detection

Need, joblessness, frustration, stress and greed opens the doors to cyber crime. Social media is playing an emergent role in cyber crime this year. Not only does cyber crime leave a mark financially, but it also has a significant impact on an organization’s services, reliability, and reputation in the eyes of the public, shareholders, and even your own employees. Phishing is the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The same has recently happened with a Thane resident Ayman Khan, he was sent a link by an agency claiming to give him job. He provided them all the personal and bank details, with in no time his account was emptied. He is running pins to polls but detection of cyber crime takes a lot of time. In such crime, hacker’s e-mail directs the user to visit a web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers that the legitimate organisation already has. The website, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the user’s information. By spamming large groups of people, the phisher counted on the e-mail being read by a percentage of people who actually had listed credit card numbers legitimately. Cyber crimes in India almost doubled in 2017, according to statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

The data comes in the backdrop of India aspiring to become a trillion dollar digital economy. Interestingly, cyber crimes accounted for less than a percentage (0.43%) or 21,796 cases of a total of 50, 07,044 cognizable crimes in 2017. In 2019 these crimes have gone up by 20 per cent. When a crime happens, we all want cops to act swiftly but there are limitations. Cyber crimes against children and women account for about 30 per cent and are growing at 100 per cent every year. Phishing is also on the rise, little negligence and you get looted. Of late people have started reporting such crimes; in most case, the accused is known to the victim. Cases of cyber crimes have increased in the last five years. Significantly, the Centre has been focusing, during this period, on improving internet penetration in the country. Offenders are now using technology to get close to targets. From job traps to rapes to child trafficking to selling contraband (drugs) near schools and colleges, these predators befriend their targets mostly on social media. Most cases go undetected as multinational internet giants and social media companies refuse to share information with the police. In most cases, it takes a lot of time just to get the information as the police and cyber cell officials need to trace the IP addresses and get hold of the devices (laptops, computers, mobile phones etc), involved in the crime. In most cases, the IPs are located in some other country. Technology evolution and innovation make it more challenging to detect cyber crimes. Information sharing between countries and within the country needs to be strengthened. The low detection of cyber crimes is also due to lack of technical knowledge among the police staff and that there should be more training centres and courses so that they can upgrade themselves.

With the Centre scrambling to fortify India’s cyber operations amid growing warnings of malware attacks on personal and organisational devices, intelligence and cyber law experts have said much like crimes against women, India suffers from dismal under-reporting of cyber crimes. India recorded 9,622, 11,592 and 12,317 cases of cyber crime in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively. The data for 2017 comes after a two-year delay, with the Centre blaming states for the delay in providing statistics for compilation. With the Centre setting up the NIC-CERT–National Informatics Centre-Computer Emergency Response Team to combat cyber crimes and the Home Ministry proposing to set up the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), the government is hoping to beef up India’s cyber security network. The advancement of technology has made man dependent on Internet for all his needs. Internet has given man easy access to everything while sitting at one place. Social networking, online shopping, storing data, gaming, online studying, online jobs, every possible thing that man can think of can be done through the medium of internet. Internet is used in almost every sphere. With the development of the internet and its related benefits also developed the concept of cyber crimes. Cyber crimes are committed in different forms. A few years back, there was lack of awareness about the crimes that could be committed through internet. In the matters of cyber crimes, India is also not far behind from the other countries where the rate of incidence of cyber crimes is also increasing day by day. There are millions of websites; all hosted on servers abroad, that offer online gambling. In fact, it is believed that many of these websites are actually fronts for money laundering. Cases of hawala transactions and money laundering over the Internet have been reported. Whether these sites have any relationship with drug trafficking is yet to be explored.

The Recent Indian case about cyber lotto was very interesting. A man called Kola Mohan invented the story of winning the Euro Lottery. He himself created a website and an email address on the Internet with the address ‘’ Whenever accessed, the site would name him as the beneficiary of the 12.5 million pounds. After confirmation, a Telugu newspaper published this as a news. He collected huge sums from the public as well as from some banks for mobilization of the deposits in foreign currency. However, the fraud came to light when a cheque discounted by him with the Andhra Bank for Rs 1.73 million bounced. Mohan had pledged with Andhra Bank the copy of a bond certificate purportedly issued by Midland Bank, Sheffields, London stating that a term deposit of 12.5 million was held in his name. This connotes the usage by an unauthorized person of the Internet hours paid for by another person. In May 2000, the Economic Offences Wing, IPR section crime branch of Delhi police registered its first case involving theft of Internet hours. In this case, the accused, Mukesh Gupta an engineer with Nicom System (P) Ltd. was sent to the residence of the complainant to activate his Internet connection. However, the accused used Col. Bajwa’s login name and password from various places causing wrongful loss of 100 hours to Col. Bajwa.

Delhi police arrested the accused for the theft of Internet time. On further inquiry in the case, it was found that Krishan Kumar, son of an ex army officer, working as a senior executive in M/s Highpoint Tours & Travels had used Col Bajwa’s login and passwords as many as 207 times from his residence and twice from his office. He confessed that Shashi Nagpal, from whom he had purchased a computer, gave the login and password to him. The police could not believe that time could be stolen. They were not aware of the concept of time-theft at all. The Commissioner of Police, Delhi then took the case into his own hands and the police under his directions raided and arrested Krishan Kumar under sections 379, 411, 34 of IPC and section 25 of the Indian Telegraph Act. In another case, the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police arrested a computer engineer who got hold of the password of an Internet user, accessed the computer and stole 107 hours of Internet time from the other person’s account. He was booked for the crime by a Delhi court during May 2000. Cops are solving the cases which are local and have some clues but from unknown attacks, one needs patience and cops need a lot of time and leg work. Only thing that can prevent you is be smart while sharing your details online.

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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