Combatting Cybercrime During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Everybody knows how difficult it has become to survive without using social media. Everyone wants to keep themselves updated with the current trend. This extreme use produces, at times, fake news, fake apps, phishing, and other cybercrimes. India has a vast population as well as a large chunk of illiterate people. They are getting exploited during this pandemic throughout the country.

After the lockdown commenced, due to uncertainty over time, almost five crore labourers wanted to go back to their hometown. There was some fake news about trains that spread through social media. This led to mass public gathering resulting in the spread of coronavirus.

Further, cybercrimes like phishing increased. To keep themselves updated with COVID-19, people took to social media. It became easy for hackers to exploit them. They started collecting personal information to blackmail them with leaking some private information. All these aspects are punishable under Information Technology, Act 2000.

Cybercrime during Covid-19  in India

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India has become one of the prime locations for these cybercrimes. One of the crimes known as phishing is increasing rapidly in recent times. Phishing is defined under the IT Act as inducing individuals to give information such as passwords and bank details.

The crime is increasing at such a rapid pace. Google, in January, detected 149k websites related to phishing all over the world. The number of victims rose by 350% during the lockdown period according to the last two months report of NCRB.

Crimes like business opportunity fraud, gift offers, social media scams are also common. Big mobile network companies, insurance companies, banks buy data through outsourcing. These crimes are of such a nature that a person who doesn’t even know how to use ATM cards get trapped in some online frauds and transaction happens in many parts of the world. Sometimes just by clicking on a link person loses all his money from the account. This outsourcing of data makes it easy for criminals to conduct fraud. During Covid-19, all these crimes have increased at a rapid pace.

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As per national crime report bureau, cases in March and April rose by 350 per cent. It is imperative to notice that out of all the victims, the majority of them are either single women or elderly people. These were in existence before COVID-19 pandemic also. But an increase in internet traffic has provided more opportunities for cyber-criminals.

Due to the pandemic, people are using more social media sites, websites and apps. People working from home through their laptop increases chances of malfunctioning. This is because they do not have as much security as compared to companies. Through this, it leads towards blackmailing and infringement of their privacy.

Cybercrime In Different Countries 

As per the internet crime report every year approx. 1200 complaints get filed daily. Throughout the year, people lose around 3.5 billion dollars. An interesting point is a fact that most victims age is between 40-60. Out of that, India is the world’s third most effected country with 2900 cases in 2019. Out of all cybercrimes, phishing was the most throughout the world with 120000 victims.

As per the UN disarmament, cybercrime has increased by 600 per cent during COVID-19 throughout the world. The situation is such that crimes are happening every 90 seconds. This includes countries like the USA, Canada, and France. The whole world is vulnerable in front of these cyber-criminals during this lockdown.

Punishment for the Wrong-doers in India

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To overcome this menace, the conviction rate in India has to get better. To safeguard people’s rights, criminals have to be punished under the IT Act, 2000.

As per section 66 of the IT Act, all crimes related to identity theft, cheating by a personating, violation of privacy, cyber terrorism, transmitting obscene electronic material are punishable. The least punishment for this can be up to 3 years or fine up to 5 lakhs.

But what’s important is the fact that the conviction rate of cyber-criminals is meagre in India. As per a report, cybercrime cases reported with police, approx. 60 per cent of cases do not get solved.

In Karnataka, the conviction rate for the last three years is zero in cases related to cybercrime. Some of the reasons behind this are a lack of evidence. This is why the police close the case on the ground of lack of proof.

Conclusion 

Cybercrime is increasing in a country like India, and it is hard to resolve it. Cybercrime is a global problem. Cyber Security Policy, 2013 recommended certain guidelines related to the legal aspect. Later, India adopted some guidelines such as the introduction of digital signature, cyber appellate tribunal to adjudicate cyber-related cases and national security awareness framework to create awareness.

After this, cases have been increasing every year due to increased internet usage. That is why it is essential to bring more awareness as well as some other technical measures. Other than that, it is important to convict people. Due to a less conviction rate, there isn’t that fear, so it is necessary to give more importance to such cyber crimes.


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