Gone are the days when accessing internet was anoverpriced matter for an individual/household; when cyber cafes were the only places to have paid usage and having an internet connection at homecame at exorbitant prices. Now to use internet, all you need is a smartphone with umpteen number of data packs for every income brackets to choose from. Online shopping, social networking, gaming, online jobs – there is hardly anything that internet has failed to cover. The technology has taken everything by storm and internet has only upsurge the convenience quotient for Indians. But along with the boon comes the bane. As much as we appreciate the existence and indispensability of internet in our daily lives, there is no taking away from the fact that Cyber Crime is also one of the dark facets pushed in by the internet and that has questionably jinxed the presence of both technology and internet.
Cyber Crime, can be defined as an act of manhandling technology in an unlawful manner by using a computer device as tool or medium with an intention to illegally conceal or steal a piece of confidential information. However, the term is generally and perceptibly quite wide and covers an assortment of activities under its ambit. The mishaps connoted as phishing, illegal downloading, piracy, industrial espionage are nothing but various types of Cyber Crimes.
Most commonly committed cyber-crimes may be enlisted as follows:
- Unauthorized Access- in simple words, it means hacking, where a person illegally tries to interface a device and use unlawful means to crack hold of it. It included destructing the existing safety apparatus of a device, replacing the same with a new password(s) with a ready-made computer programs to outbreak the aimed computer/device.
- Virus Attacks- A virus is a program which when inserted in a computer device, infects the user workspace, makes copies of itself and infect the whole working. The multiplicity of programs destroys the core management of the system and they do it redundantly till the complete mechanism is devastated. Examples of Viruses are Worms, Trojan horse, time bomb, bacterium etc.
- Piracy–Piracy making an unauthorized copy of anything and then selling in place of original one. This includes trademark violations, steal computer source code, illegally downloading movies, copyright infringements etc.
- Phishing – When an email is sent to your email box from a seemingly legitimate source, generally renowned companies or job offers, it usually contains a link that asks you leakyour confidential information from your system. This act is known as phishing. These are bogus websites to illegally extract the information from people and then using it to their illicit gains.
- Email spoofing- Whenthe source of an email is being tempered with, it is known as Spoofing. The intention is generally to have monetary gains.
Although India is regulated by Information Technology Act 2000, the rate of cyber-crime cases has increased 300% between 2011-2014 which only goes up to prove that the real applicability of the law is still being quizzed. It has also been noticed that India has become one primary target of these malpracticers and the crimes are mainly rooted from countries like China, Pakistan, Turkey, UAE and Brazil. A study by Indian Computer Emergency team has stated the number of reported cyber crimes were close to 50000 in 2015. The study also underlined that operational systems built around legal technologies with weaker protocols were more prone to these cyber-attacks.
Much to our dismay, it has also been seen in India, that most cyber crimes’ cases don’t have a satisfactory ending, i.e. they don’t end up in conviction. The reasons have been touted as lack of cyber professionals to crack cases and the government have failed to resource and deploy the best set of cyber practices to use. As per Data Security Council of India, Indian government is training police and other official to deal with cyber law crimes, but impromptu transfers of those trained professionals lead to incomplete or no treatment of those cases. Due to such negligence and absence of a robust mechanism to fight cyber-crimes, has led to feeble planning and lesservigilance for upcoming technological threats in India.
In continuation of the same process to fight cyber-crime, formation of NCCC (National Cyber Coordination Centre) has been proposed in 2015, with an intention to ensure cyber security on Indian Internet interface and e-surveillance agency in India. The function and duties of NCCC would be prevent cyber-crime, devising strategies to investigate criminal cases posing threat to Indian Cyber space, review of old and outdated laws and to curb misuse of Social Media. Though NCCC got an in principle nod in 2013 by the then government, it actual formation is still pending.
The fight to control Cyber Crimes in India may be a national subject but the importance of general awareness about technology and consequently about criminal activities involved therein at an individual level cannot be undermined. That is to say, if one is agile enough at a personal level and not fall for vague goof ups and staggering monetary offers flooding over the mails, the effect of these crimes can be dealt to a great extent. There are few basic thumb rules that one should swear by if they are susceptible to to internet usage on a regular basis.
- Shun off those pop ups appearing every now and then. This lead to various other fatal hyperlinks which further auto install malicious softwares in your device.
- Install a good Anti-Virus in your system to combat unnecessary show downs and redundancy of pages.
- Don’t fall prey to those lucrative job offers in your mail. They may sound like genuine stuff, which actually drain a lot of secretive information.
- Don’t click on hyperlinks that are not secure and show up irrelatively on your browser.
- Maintain not more than 2 email accounts. It is also imperative that the email account should be protected by two step verification process. Mobile alerts facility, when log in from a different device is done, should be subscribed for.
- Do not auto save your credit/debit card details on online web portals.
- Delete the spam folder in your mail box on a daily basis.
- Avoid online shopping, banking etc. if the network is not properly secured. Don’t fall for free wifi zones.
- Do not quote your email address or phone number in any kinds of surveys and questionnaires.
The rate at which cyber-crimes are inflating is startling. At an annual inflation of more than 100% in cybercrimes, India need a vigorous and effective plan to circumvent Indian cyber space. Indian government, has from time to time, taken steps and measures, to curb the frequency of Cyber Crimes. Though only steps taken on national level is not going to regulate and battle the derelictions. It is therefore important that defend the occurrence of these cases on an individual level. If the crimes still surface, then they should duly be reported and taken up and treated diligently. The battle against cyber-crime and protecting India from any upcoming cyber threats can only be dealt with combined efforts of both government and citizens. We need to all pull up our socks and shield any kind of detrimental action taken against our nation.