The advancement of technology has made man dependent on Internet for all his needs. Cyber crimes are committed in different forms. Cyber crimes can be defined as the unlawful acts where the computer is used either as a tool or a target or both. This article discusses the various forms of cyber crime, the applicable laws, and the complaint mechanism in India.
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 a lack of awareness about the crimes that could be committed through the internet. In the matters of cyber crimes, India is also not far behind the other countries where the rate of incidence of cyber crimes is also increasing day by day.
In a report published by the National Crime Records Bureau report (NCRB 2011), the incidence of cyber crimes under the IT Act has increased by 85.4% in the year 2011 as compared to 2010 in India, whereas the increase in incidence of the crime under IPC is by 18.5% as compared to the year 2010. Visakhapatnam records the maximum number of incidence of cases. Maharashtra has emerged as the center of cyber crime with maximum number of incidence of registered cases under cyber crimes. Hacking with computer systems and obscene publication were the main cases under IT Act for cyber crimes. Maximum offenders arrested for cyber crimes were in the age group 18-30 years. 563 people in the age group 18-30 years were arrested in the year 2010, which had increased to 883 in the year 2011.
Cyber crimes can be defined as the unlawful acts where the computer is used either as a tool or a target or both. The term is a general term that covers crimes like phishing, credit card frauds, bank robbery, illegal downloading, industrial espionage, child pornography, kidnapping children via chat rooms, scams, cyber terrorism, creation and/or distribution of viruses, Spam and so on.
Cyber crime is a broad term that is used to define criminal activity in which computers or computer networks are a tool, a target, or a place of criminal activity and include everything from electronic cracking to denial of service attacks. It also covers the traditional crimes in which computers or networks are used to enable the illicit activity.
Cyber Crimes can be categorized in two ways
1. The crimes in which the computer is the target. Examples of such crimes are hacking, virus attacks, DOS attack etc.
2. The crimes in which the computer is used as a weapon. These types of crimes include cyber terrorism, IPR violations, credit card frauds, EFT frauds, pornography etc.
The different kinds of cyber crimes are
1. Unauthorized Access and Hacking
Unauthorized access means any kind of access without the permission of either of the rightful authority or person in charge of the computer, computer system or computer network. Hacking means an illegal intrusion into a computer system and/or network. Every act committed towards breaking into a computer and/or network is hacking. Hackers write or use ready-made computer programs to attack the target computer. They possess the desire to destruct and they get satisfaction out of such destruction. Some hackers hack for personal monetary gains, such as to stealing the credit card information, transferring money from various bank accounts to their own account followed by withdrawal of money. Government websites are the most targeted sites for the hackers.
2. Web Hijacking
Web hijacking means taking forceful control of another person’s website. In this case, the owner of the website loses control over his website and its content.
Pornography means showing sexual acts in order to cause sexual excitement. The definition of pornography also includes pornographic websites, pornographic magazines produced using computer and the internet pornography delivered over mobile phones.
4. Child Pornography
The Internet is being highly used as a medium to sexually abuse children. The children are a viable victim to the cyber crime. Computers and internet having become a necessity of every household, the children have got an easy access to the internet. There is an easy access to the pornographic contents on the internet. Pedophiles lure the children by distributing pornographic material and then they try to meet them for sex or to take their nude photographs including their engagement in sexual positions. Sometimes Pedophiles contact children in the chat rooms posing as teenagers or a child of similar age and then they start becoming friendlier with them and win their confidence. Then slowly pedophiles start sexual chat to help children shed their inhibitions about sex and then call them out for personal interaction. Then starts actual exploitation of the children by offering them some money or falsely promising them good opportunities in life. The pedophiles then sexually exploit the children either by using them as sexual objects or by taking their pornographic pictures in order to sell those over the internet.
How do they operate?
How do Cyber Stalkers operate?
These are malicious software that attach themselves to other software. Virus, worms, Trojan Horse, Time bomb, Logic Bomb, Rabbit and Bacterium are the malicious. Viruses usually affect the data on a computer, either by altering or deleting it. On the other hand, worms merely make functional copies of themselves and do this repeatedly till they eat up all the available data. Trojan Horse is a program that acts like something useful but do the things that are quite damaging . Trojans come in two parts, a Client part and a Server part. When the victim (unknowingly) runs the server on its machine, the attacker will then use the Client to connect to the Server and start using the Trojan. TCP/IP protocol is the usual protocol type used for communications, but some functions of the Trojans use the UDP protocol as well.
8. Software Piracy
Software piracy refers to the illegal copying of genuine programs or the counterfeiting and distribution of products intended to pass for the original. These kind of crimes also include copyright infringement, trademarks violations, theft of computer source code, patent violations etc.
Domain names are also trademarks and protected by ICANN domain dispute resolution policy and also under trademark laws. Cyber squatters register domain name identical to popular service provider’s name so as to attract their users and exploit them .
9. Salami attacks
These attacks are used for the commission of financial crimes. The key here is to make the alteration so insignificant that, in a single case, it would go completely unnoticed. E.g. a bank employee inserts a program, into the bank’s servers, that deducts a small amount of money (say Rs. 5 a month) from the account of every customer. No account holder will probably notice this unauthorized debit, but the bank employee will make a sizable amount of money every month.
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 e-mail directs the user to visit a website where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers that the legitimate organization already has. The Web site, 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.
11. Sale of illegal articles
This category of cyber crimes includes sale of narcotics, weapons and wildlife etc., by posting information on websites, auction websites, and bulletin boards or simply by using email communication.
12. Online gambling
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.
13. Email spoofing
Email spoofing refers to email that appears to originate from one source but actually has been sent from another source. Email spoofing can also cause monetary damage.
14. Cyber Defamation
When a person publishes defamatory matter about someone on a website or sends e-mails containing defamatory information to all of that person’s friends, it is termed as cyber defamation.
Computers, printers and scanners are used to forge counterfeit currency notes, postage and revenue stamps, mark sheets etc. These are made using computers, and high quality scanners and printers.
16. Theft of information contained in electronic form
This includes theft of information stored in computer hard disks, removable storage media etc.
17. Email bombing
Email bombing refers to sending a large number of emails to the victim resulting in the victim’s email account (in case of an individual) or mail servers (in case of a company or an email service provider) crashing.
18. Data diddling
This kind of an attack involves altering raw data just before it is processed by a computer and then changing it back after the processing is completed.
19. Internet time theft
Internet time refers to usage by an unauthorized person of the Internet hours paid for by another person.
20. Theft of computer system
This type of offence involves the theft of a computer, some part(s) of a computer or a peripheral attached to the computer.
21. Physically damaging a computer system
This crime is committed by physically damaging a computer or its peripherals.
22. Breach of Privacy and Confidentiality
Privacy refers to the right of an individual/s to determine when, how and to what extent his or her personal data will be shared with others. Breach of privacy means unauthorized use or distribution or disclosure of personal information.
Confidentiality means non disclosure of information to unauthorized or unwanted persons. In addition to Personal information, some other type of information which is useful for business and leakage of such information to other persons may cause damage to business or person, such information should be protected.
Generally, for protecting secrecy of such information, parties while sharing information forms an agreement about the procedure of handling of information and to not to disclose such information to third parties or use it in such a way that it will be disclosed to third parties. Many times party or their employees leak such valuable information for monitory gains and cause breach of contract of confidentiality. Special techniques such as Social Engineering are commonly used to obtain confidential information.
23. Data diddling
Data diddling involves changing data prior or during input into a computer. The information is changed from the way it should be entered by a person typing in the data, a virus that changes data, the programmer of the database or application, or anyone else involved in the process of having information stored in a computer file. It also includes automatic changing of the financial information for a period before processing and then restoring original information.
24. E-commerce/ Investment Frauds
An offering that uses false or fraudulent claims to solicit investments or loans, or that provides for the purchase, use, or trade of forged or counterfeit securities. Merchandise or services that were purchased or contracted by individuals online are never delivered. The fraud attributable to the misrepresentation of a product advertised for sale through an Internet auction site or the non-delivery of products purchased through an Internet auction site. Investors are enticed to invest in this fraudulent scheme by the promises of abnormally high profits.
25. Cyber Terrorism
Targeted attacks on military installations, power plants, air traffic control, banks, trail traffic control, telecommunication networks are the most likely targets. Others are police, medical, fire and rescue systems etc.
Cyber terrorism is an attractive option for modern terrorists for several reasons.
The list of offenses given above is not exhaustive and would also include any other types of offenses that would be committed through a computer or against a computer in the future.
Cyber crimes are a new class of crimes which are increasing day by day due to extensive use of internet these days. To combat the crimes related to internet The Information Technology Act, 2000 was enacted with the prime objective to create an enabling environment for commercial use of I.T. The IT Act specifies the acts which have been made punishable. The Indian Penal Code, 1860 has also been amended to take into its purview cyber crimes.
The various offenses related to the internet which have been made punishable under the IT Act and the IPC are enumerated below:
The complaint regarding commission of cyber crime can be made to the in-charge of the cyber crime cells, which are present almost in every city. To file a complaint alleging commission of a cyber crime, the following documents must be provided: