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Impart training to police personnel to curb cyber crimes

Maharashtra Police and government are making every effort to address cyber-crime related complaints. Lodging complaints relating to cyber crimes will be a lot easier now. One has to simply walk into your nearest police station to lodge a complaint regarding bank card fraud or hacking for instance. Every city police station will have a separate cyber-crime cell from December 9. Earlier everyone had to rush at lone cyber-crime police station at Bandra-Kurla Complex. Anyways this sounds very interesting but reality is not that comfortable. To improve cyber detection and to improve conviction rate, the police department has put up a proposal to the state government to set up a separate cyber court; but unfortunately the interpreters of law are not cyber crime experts, so how the crime happened, which method, from which IP and type of attack to forensics of it, would be a new challenge for lawyer and judge both. The move to have a cyber-crime cell at each police station was initiated by police due to the rise in number of white collar crimes and shortage of staff at the only cyber police station, but the irony is that the staffs are not well updated or trained. That is the reason, the cyber-crime is not easily detected.

Ours is the country where 75 per cent of infrastructure has gone online, the next war would be cyber war and we need to be prepared for it, else India can stall back to 10 years if we get attacked in cyber space. We need to be worried about the sharp rise in the number of cyber crime cases in the state and law enforcement agencies’ inability to bring the crooks to book. Government drafted a plan to deploy nearly 1,000 sub-inspectors to tackle cyber crime. But for that, police needs additional man power. Looking at the geographical conditions of state and specially Mumbai, there is scarcity of police personnel. Police personnel are not provided with adequate training and there is need of information technology experts to halt cyber crime. Then Congress and now BJP are on the same path, they both just made announcements but never worked on issues. Currently, a senior police inspector has the power to take action under the IT Act. Constables are just not aware of the subject itself.

Recently Maharashtra CM asked the police to increase monitoring of social media; special squads dedicated to investigate cybercrimes will soon be operational in each of the 93 police stations in Mumbai. These cyber squads will aim to take the load off the existing two cyber police stations, as well as allowing citizens to lodge cybercrime complaint at the closest police station. Fadnavis said that the social media labs had to be better equipped to increase their efficiency. He added that acquisition of advanced monitoring systems would be funded. Government is also in process of identifying tech-savvy officers across the city for our cyber squads, but since ages this never ending search is on. At present, cyber crime cases are largely probed by the Cyber Police Station in Bandra-Kurla Complex and the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell located in Crawford Market, which are specially equipped to probe cyber crimes. At present, police stations are dependent on help from cyber police stations and the cybercrime investigation cells that provide technical assistance. They are not self-sufficient to deal with the issues on their own capacity.

Mumbai is home to many important national financial institutions like RBI, Bombay Stock Exchange, IIT, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and TIFR. Under such circumstances, it is essential that CERT is set up in Mumbai, as 80 per cent of infrastructure is online. Few months ago when a proposal was moved to block some websites, which were promoting “anti-India” sentiments, it took a long time to check such portals.

Currently the state police are dependent on labs in Gujarat and Hyderabad and as a result samples remain pending for as late as three years. Phishing attacks of online banking accounts or cloning of ATM/debit cards are common occurrences. Maximum number of offenders belong to the 18-30 age group, added the report. With increasing use of information technology (IT) enabled services such as e-governance, online business and electronic transactions, protection of personal and sensitive data have assumed paramount importance.

Few days ago, my friends email account got hacked and with that email all his other accounts like FB and other accounts too got hacked and on his time line, provocative religious abuses were posted. Some took objections; some called him and warned about the consequences. Finally, to solve this issue, we went to police station and informed police about the same. In a very flat reply police told, we are not here to ensure recovery of your email accounts unless there is no financial crime the case won’t be taken on priority, now the choice is yours to file complaint or not. Later, we approached some cyber security personnel, they got his FB page banned by reporting about the same and any how the hacked account couldn’t be recovered. Mumbai police from 7 years are talking about the reforms in cyber cell and police training but nothing is yet concretely done, they are not even upgraded.

There was a three-fold increase in cybercrime cases registered in Mumbai between 2013 and 2014. Between January 1 and October 31 this year, 418 cases were registered under the Information Technology Act, with 142 people arrested. In the same period last year, the police registered 136 cases and made 86 arrests. Of the cybercrimes recorded this year, maximum were related to e-mails and SMSs with obscene content. This year, 104 cases of obscene e-mails and SMSs were registered in the city, up from 28 last year. Until October 31 this year, the police recorded 103 cases of credit card fraud or cheating, compared to 27 in the corresponding period in 2013, revealed data available with the Mumbai Police.

A viable approach would be to tax IT companies/services profit and earmark an amount for the creation of a National Institute of Communications Research that will attract and keep hold of the best talent from around the world and will be managed on a pay for presentation basis.

Education is important for any government officer. Also understand that, a determined attack will be able to break in. First, let us make the real space safe. We should worry about imaginary stuxnets attacking our installations after sorting out real threats of a mundane kind that take aim at our country, which are poverty, tiny mean microbes, and above all, real education in its true sense. If we work on this, the youngsters of today who are now coding their youth away for money, will take care of stuxnets and bigger threats, and not let graying men in suits worry about them. Indian Government seems to have a problem with freedom. The Internet gives people freedom and the Indian Government doesn’t like it. The Indian public is not concerned with the likes of STUXNET to their public utilities when a rain shower can cause a power cut. The only problem for individuals is identity theft when thieves are using other people’s identities to obtain goods and services. Other countries in Asia use and embrace the internet but in India, there is fear. The government is in the process of putting in place the capabilities and the systems that will enable us to deal with this anarchic new world of constant and undeclared cyber threat, attack, counter-attack and defence. We need to prepare ourselves to deal with both, threats to cyberspace and risks arising through cyberspace.

(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on feedback@afternoonvoice.com)

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Dr Vaidehi Tamanhttp://www.vaidehisachin.com
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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