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Impart training to police personnel for curbing cyber crimes

We need to be worried about the sharp rise in the number of cybercrime 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 cybercrime. 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 department needs manpower and infrastructure. Police personnel are not provided with adequate training and there is need of information technology experts to halt cybercrime. 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, early next month. 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 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, cybercrime 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 cybercrimes. 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 percent 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. Cybercrime has become a big menace not just in the state, but also across the country. The state is planning to rope in Nasscom to set up a ‘Cyber Force’ comprising 1,000 qualified professionals, who will be posted in cybercrime labs at, district level. These trained personnel they will help cops crack crimes in the world of internet and ensure conviction of the criminals. To ensure gathering of evidence in a scientific manner, the government needs to set up a network of mobile forensic labs at every police commissionerate.

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. It’s high time this government should act swiftly towards improvising cybercrime cell and secure people from cybercrime.

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 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.

Rising at an alarming rate, the number of cybercrimes in the country may double to 3 lakh in 2015 and could pose serious economic and national security challenges. The increasing use of smartphones and tablets for online banking and other financial transactions have increased risks. India has emerged as a favourite among cybercriminals, mostly hackers and other malicious users who use the internet to commit crimes such as identity theft, spamming, phishing and other types of fraud. As per the study’s findings, total number of cybercrimes registered during 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 stood at 13,301, 22,060, 71,780 and 1,49,254 respectively.

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 SMSes with obscene content. This year, 104 cases of obscene e-mails and SMSes 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.

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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