Today’s Digital World and Cyber Crime Law

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Deepshikha Mishra
Deepshikha Mishrahttp://astromata.com
Deepshikha Mishra is Co-Founder & Legal Head at astromata.com - Legal strategic partner at SAS Exim -Legal Counsel at Galleon - Legal Advisor at Taxolawgy - Astrologer at Guruji app – Law Content Developer & Educator at UPSC coachings and Unacademy. BBA.LLB- Business & Taxation Laws, CM. Cyber Crime Laws. Pers. MD. Medical Laws from National Law School of India University, Bangalore. (Past intern & works - Supreme Court, High Courts, Human Rights Commission, Law firms, Path Legal, Libertatem Global Law News Network)

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With the biggest ever hacking in history, from Twitter high profile accounts to suspicion on Facebook or Instagram for collection of personal data and removing of various roast videos by YouTube, the need of a robust Cyber mechanism and cyber laws has increased. Not only this, nowadays there are increasing cases of cyberbullying, stalking and invasion on privacy, data theft, piracy, security breach, identity theft, child pornography, rumour spreads, hate speech and terrorism. All these have engulfed today’s digital world. The word “Cyber Cases” is in limelight nowadays.

A look at the timeline of some Cyber cases in this decade:

  • 2010 – Stuxnet worm was found by VirusBlokAda. Stuxnet was unusual in that way, as it spread via Windows computers. 
  • 2011 –  Sony announced that a hacker stole details for 77 million PlayStation Network users, including personally identifiable information and financial details.
  • 2012 –  Shamoon virus began destroying over 35,000 computer systems, rendering them inoperable. The virus used to target the Saudi government by causing destruction to the state-owned national oil company Saudi Aramco.
  • 2013 – Yahoo experienced a data breach which resulted in the theft of 3 billion user accounts.
  • 2014 – US retailer Home Depot’s point of sale systems were breached. Attackers stole 50 million personal credit cards.
  • 2015 – Carbanak case was a $1 billion heist that combined the elements of an APT attack, malware-facilitated fraud, ATM malware, and high street crime.
  • 2016 – The Largest ever distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack took place, which used over 1 million connected devices in the Internet of Things, which were compromised by the attackers due to software vulnerabilities. 
  •  2017 – WannaCry attack, allegedly launched by North Korea, unleashed a type of ransomware which not only locks down content on user devices but also rapidly spreads itself.
  • 2018 – Iranian hackers were alleged of data-wiping malware called Dustman.
  • 2019 – International law enforcement agencies made 61 arrests and shut down 50 dark web accounts used for illegal activity in a joint operation.
  • 2020 – High profile twitter accounts were hacked.

India and Cyber Era

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. This is something very common on social platforms in India, unfortunately, people are not aware that they can file a legal complaint in cyber cells of their area. 

Statistics & facts

  • As per the NCRB data, under cyber crimes 589, 1203 and 758 cases of Publication/transmission of obscene, sexually explicit content (Under section 67A, 67B, and 67C of the Information Technology Act) has been registered during 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively.
  • According to 2017 report on cyber crimes in India, the Indian consumers had lost over 18 billion U.S. dollars due to cybercrimes. 
  • In 2018, there were over 27 thousand cases of cyber crimes recorded in the country, marking an increase of over 121 percent. In 2018 alone, India recorded over two thousand cases of cyber crimes related to sexual harassment and over 700 cases of cyber bullying against women and minors. 
  • Security breach also involved India’s unique citizen identification system – “the Aadhaar”.

Steps were taken to curb Cybercrime

National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal

This is an initiative of the Government of India to facilitate victims/complainants to report cybercrime complaints online. This portal caters to complaints pertaining to cybercrimes only with special focus on cyber crimes against women and children.

Indian Computer Emergency Response Team 

This is the national nodal agency for responding to computer security incidents as and when they occur.

National Cyber Security Policy

This is a policy framework by Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY). It aims at protecting the public and private infrastructure from cyber attacks.

The Information Technology ACT, 2000 and The Information Technology (amended) Act, 2008 – As Amended by Information Technology Amendment Bill 2006 passed in Lok Sabha on Dec 22nd and in Rajya Sabha on Dec 23rd of 2008 – are an Act to provide legal recognition for the transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange and other means of electronic communication.  

Some of the important sections of this act are: 
  1. Tampering with Computer source documents – Sec.65.
  2. Hacking with Computer systems, Data alteration – Sec.66.
  3. Publishing obscene information – Sec.67.
  4. Un-authorized access to protected system Sec.70 Breach of Confidentiality and Privacy – Sec.72.
  5. Publishing false digital signature certificates – Sec.73.

Other Measures 

  • The Government has launched online cybercrime reporting, (www.cybercrime.gov.in), to enable complainants to report complaints pertaining to Child Pornography/Child Sexual Abuse Material, rape/gang rape imageries or sexually explicit content. The Central Government has rolled out a scheme for the establishment of Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) to handle issues related to cybercrime in the country in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.
  • Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre) has been launched for providing detection of malicious programs and free tools to remove such programs.
  • Issue of guidelines for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) regarding their key roles and responsibilities for securing applications/infrastructure and compliance.
  • Cyber Surakshit Bharat -Aiming at strengthening the cybersecurity ecosystem in India — in line with the government’s vision for a ‘Digital India’, The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has launched Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative. This program was in association with the National e-Governance Division (NeGD).
  • National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre is a central government establishment, formed to protect critical information of our country, which has an enormous impact on national security, economic growth, or public healthcare. This was amended as per the provisions of section 70A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000.
  • Personal Data Protection Bill – the most important one for an Indian citizen, is the approval of Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill by the union government in order to protect Indian users from global breaches, which focuses on data localization. The bill implies the storage and processing of any critical information related to individuals only in India. 

IPC Sections on Cyber Cases

  1. Sending threatening messages by email – Sec 503 IPC.
  2. Sending defamatory messages by email – Sec 499 IPC.
  3. Forgery of electronic records – Sec 463 IPC.
  4. Bogus websites, cyber frauds – Sec 420 IPC.
  5. Email spoofing – Sec 463 IPC.
  6. Web-Jacking – Sec. 383 IPC.
  7. E-Mail Abuse – Sec.500 IPC.

However looking at the present scenario, various steps can be taken.

What provisions can be made?

  • Strict Provision for an audit of websites and applications prior to their hosting, and thereafter at regular intervals.
  • More Empanelment of security auditing organizations to support and audit the implementation of Information Security Best Practices.
  • Laws on Formulation of Crisis Management Plan for countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism.
  • Conducting cybersecurity mock drills and exercises regularly.
  • Conducting regular training programs for network/system administrators. 
  • Filtering of content should be done on the social media platform by proper authority. 

What we can do as a citizen?

  • Don’t believe or forward any news blindly, cross-check it from government platforms.
  • Spread awareness about cyber laws.
  • Hire a cyber lawyer, if you are a victim and you have no knowledge of filing a complaint. 
  • Go for multifactor authentication features.
  • When using public Wi-Fi, anyone nearby who is connected to the same network can listen in on what your computer is sending and receiving across the internet.
  • Talk to your children and friends about the internet – You can teach your kids about acceptable use of the internet without shutting down communication channels.
  • Make sure your contacts get the professional help of cyber lawyers if they’re experiencing any kind of online harassment, stalking, or bullying”.

Deepshikha
Deepshikha

This Article is written by Deepshikha Mishra. Deepshikha Mishra is the Co-Founder, Legalhead & Astrologer at Astromata.com; Legal strategic partner at SAS Minmet Exim; Legal Adviser at Taxolawgy.inc and Legal Counsel, Galleon CFO. 


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