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[CYBER CRIME] An Overview of Cybercrimes in India: Definition, Types, Impact, and Legal Provisions

Overview of Cybercrimes

It is no news that cybercrimes are increasing more and more with each passing day. The boom of the digital era combined with our dependency on virtual platforms has led to criminals and fraudsters creeping in on our data. This has led to the growing instances of identity theft and cyber fraud. To understand the situation in-depth, it is important to understand what cybercrime is, its types, and the legal provisions pertaining to it in detail:

Introduction of Cybercrime

A global computer network that facilitates online communication is known as cyberspace. It enables users to share information and ideas, interact and communicate, play games, participate in discussions, conduct business, and perform a variety of other tasks. In other words, Cyberspace refers to the computer-generated global stage of the internet and web.

The term "cybercrime" is not defined in Indian law. It is not defined in the Information Technology Act of 2000 or the Information Technology Act of 2002. Neither in the Amendment Act of 2008 nor in any other Indian legislation. Even after being amended by the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, the Indian Penal Code still does not use the term "cybercrime." 

Cybercrime can however be defined as any criminal activity involving computers and the internet, such as unauthorised access to another's computer system or database, manipulation or theft of stored or online data, hacking, phishing, cyber warfare, and the spread of computer viruses. To put it another way, any offence or crime committed with the aid of a computer could be referred to as cybercrime.

Types of Cybercrimes

 In essence, cybercrime can be divided into three main categories:

  1. In cyberspace or through the use of cyberspace, cybercrimes like harassment come about. It may be sexual, racial, religious or other harassment.
  2. Cyber property crimes, such as computer wreckage, transfer of harmful programmes, unauthorised in appropriation and unauthorised possession of data on computers.
  3. Government cybercrimes such as cyber terrorism.

A: Crimes against persons include :

  • Cyber-stalking: It means creating a physical threat that causes fears about using computer technology, such as internet, e-mail, telephones, text, webcam, websites and videos.
  • Defamation: It imputes that anyone decreases his or her dignity by hacking his or her email account and sending some email to unknown mail accounts in the vulgar language.
  • Carding: This means fake ATM cards that criminals use for their money by wrongly withdrawing money from the bank account of the victim. The use of ATM cards in such cybercrimes is always unauthorised.
  • Child Pornography: The use of computer networks to create, distribute or access materials that exploit minors sexually.
  • Hacking: It means unauthorised computer system access and hacking completely destroys all data and computer programmes. Hackers typically hack mobile and telecoms networks.

B: Crimes against property

  • Intellectual property Crimes: Intellectual property consists of a group of rights. Any unlawful act that completely or partly deprives the owner of his rights constitutes a misdemeanour. Software piracy, copyright breaches, trademarks, breaches of patents, designs and services marks, theft of source code, etc., may be considered to be an ordinary form of IPR violation.
  • Cyber Trespass: It means access to a computer by someone without the owner's permission and by using wireless Internet connection, it does not disturb, misuse, or damage data or systems.
  • Internet time robbers: The internet time robbery basically involves hacking. It is the use of Internet hours paid by another person for use by an unauthorised person. The individual who gets access to the identification and password of another ISP user, either through hacking or illegally, uses it to access the internet without the knowledge of the other person. Time theft can be determined if, despite infrequent use, your Internet time needs to be charged frequently.
  • Virus transmission: Viruses are programmes that attach to a computer or a file and then circulate to other files and computers on a network. You can generally change or delete the data on a computer. Worm attacks play an important part in affecting individuals' computer system.

C: Crimes against Government

  • Cyber Terrorism: In the domestic and worldwide sphere of interest, cyberspace terrorism is a major burning issue. These terrorist attacks on the Internet are usually caused by a distributed denial of service attacks, hate websites and emails, attacks against sensitive computer networks etc. Activities involving cyber-terrorism threaten national sovereignty and integrity.
  • Cyber Warfare: It concerns hacking for damage and spying that is politically motivated. This is sometimes considered a form of information struggle analogous to conventional warfare, though its precision and political motivation are controversial.
  • Pirated software distribution: It means the distribution of pirated software from one computer to another with a view to destruction of government data and official records.
  • Possession of unauthorised information: Any information by terrorists can be accessed via the Internet easily and can be possessed for political, religious, social and ideological purposes.

 

Impact of Cybercrimes

  • Impact on Economy: People today rely heavily on computers and the Internet to transfer and pay money. The risk of online money fraud is therefore enormously high. In 2011, Norton Cybercrime reported that more than 74 million inhabitants were victims of cybercrimes in the United States in 2010 and that this led directly to financial losses of around $32 billion. In India too, with "cashless India" emerging and popular, chances are increasing to be duplicated online if you're not smart enough for safe online transaction platforms and apps. Some surveys reported that around 80 per cent of the companies taking part in the surveys accepted financial losses caused by cyber securities, not only individuals suffered from losses caused by cybercrimes.
  • Leakage of Personal Information: People also suffer from personal information leakage, not only financial losses. Many social networking sites are still an open platform for everyone to see another person's life that may be dangerous, no matter how secure. In addition, hackers can also hack into their own account and collect any information they want. Spamming and phishing are also harmful to humans.
  • Loss of Consumer Trust: Consumers loose trust in such websites and apps due to such losses and a threat to personal information. The website or app is declared to be fraudulent and unsafe even if the person who commits it is someone else. In addition, when you ask your credit card information, you are reluctant to start a transaction. The credibility of an e-business is affected and a potential business therefore jeopardised.
  • The threat to National Security: The military now uses advanced computer technologies and networks in most of the countries. Although old information warfare is used for malware propagation that can lead to network crashes and misinformation. These technologies are not only military but also terrorists and cyber criminals to intrude into and obtain information from other Country's safety networks. Threats and warnings are also being sent via computer systems.

 

Need of Cyber Laws

The challenges imposed by cybercrimes have also increased with the developments and development of the internet, information technology and computers. 

Cyber legislation regulates all areas of legislation in respect of cybercrimes such as criminal law, contractual law, intellectual property legislation and wrongdoing. It deals with a range of issues, including freedom of speech, security, rights to intellectual property, confidentiality, terrorism, e-trade, and cyber law. 

The need for cyber laws and its application has become very important in modern times, as the number of internet users is increasing. Cyber laws are needed due to the following reasons: 

  • The increasing popularity of payment applications and websites makes online transactions ever more popular because they are simple and efficient. The government's 'Cashless India' scheme has also become popular, leading to a large number of online transactions.
  • Most important communication modes are e-mail, SMS, message apps and social networking sites.
  • Companies rely heavily on their computer networks in order to maintain their electronic data.
  • Most government forms, for example the Income Tax Return, Passport application, Pan Card application or corporate law form, are now filled in electronic format.
  • Digital signatures and permissions are quick to replace conventional methods of transaction identification.
  • In the case of non-cybercrimes, computers and networks also help. As with most data, computers and mobile telephones are stored these days. They can help with various crimes, such as abductions, terrorist attacks, counterfeit currencies, tax evasion and so forth.
  • Cyber legislation helps to represent and define the cyber-society model, and to preserve cyber properties.
  • The rights of such legally enforceable digital contracts are also being protected by cyber laws in the modern times.

 

Cyber Laws: In addition to the widespread use of the internet, cybercrimes are new kinds of crimes that have grown day by day. The Information Technology Act (IT Act), 2000 was first introduced with the aim of creating an environment which would enable IT commercial use. The IT Act sets out the acts that can be penalised in this regard. It was also amended to take its remit in cybercrimes under the Indian Penal Code of 1860.

The following are the various internet offences that have been convicted of under the IT Act and the IPC:

1: In accordance with the IT Act, cyber crimes include:

  • Computer source document manipulation – Sec.65
  • Computer system hacking, data change - Sec.66
  • Data manipulation Obscene information publishing - Sec.67
  • Unauthorized protection system access Sec.70
  • Infringement of privacy and confidentiality - Sec.72
  • Publishing certificates for false digital signatures - Sec.73

 

2: IPC and Special Law cybercrimes: 

  • Sending threatening e-mail messages - Sec 503
  • IPC Sending diamond emails - Sec 499
  • IPC Electronic record falsification - Sec 463
  • Websites IPC Bogus, cyber fraud - Sec 420
  • Spoofing IPC Email - Sec 463
  • Web jacketing of IPC - Sec. 383
  • Abuse of IPC email - Sec.500 IPC

 

Analysis of Cyber Crimes in India:

Over the past 18 months, a total of more than 3.17 lakh cybercrimes and 5,771 FIRs have been recorded online via a centralised portal, a considerable number of which were reported in Lok Sabha, Maharashtra and Karnataka. 

Union Minister of State G Kishan Reddy said on August 30, 2020 that online citizens' reporting for all types of cybercrime incidents will be centralised, with special attention given to cybercrimes against women and children. The Ministry of Home Affairs thereafter operationalized the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal on August 30, 2019. 

Reddy further said that the incidents on this portal have been reported, the state and the Union Territory law enforcement agency involved is handled according to the law. They have been converted into FIRs and further action thereon. The MHA interacts regularly with the state and UTs and advises them to speed up the disposal of cyber-crime events reported with a particular emphasis on women and children.

Conclusion

Worldwide, the role and use of the internet is growing quickly. However, the convenience has increased for cyber criminals to access any data or information that people deliver intentionally and unwillingly on the Internet and elsewhere.

It has increased the convenience of consumers as everything can be done staying at home. Therefore, it is necessary that people be made aware and educated about cybercrimes alongside the right legislation to prevent and protect cybercrimes. 

We live in a digital age, and the cyberspace is not confined to one's limits, but to a whole world. In all countries, including India, cybercrime is therefore increasing day by day. Due to the continuous evolution of digital technology, cybercrimes are the greatest challenge. This results in the implementation of new cybercrime methods and methods. Therefore, protection against cybercrime is as important as any crime in our society.

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