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Law and Cyber Crimes: Defending Rights in the Digital Sphere

This research paper will talk about a new emerging danger of cybercrime which is becoming more and more prevalent in today's time as the new advancement in the e-commerce industry and the technological advancement in the computers that are going on in the new and coming era.

This research will deeply explain what cybercrime is, when was the first incident and the many types of cybercrimes that are being used and should be protected against. It will also explain the major events in cyberspace that have been happening for a long time ago and are still present.

This type of danger is emerging one and every day a new type of cybercrime can be generated so this research paper will also give some of the ways one can prevent themselves from falling victim to this danger, lastly this paper will explain what a great danger it is in modern times and why everyone should be careful of this danger.

Cybercrime is a type of criminal conduct in which the use of a computer or any type of electronic device is the main medium of criminal conduct will be regarded as a cybercrime. Cybercrime is likely the fastest-growing crime in the criminal databases as cybercrime does not include one or two types of crimes but it can be understood that there are many types of crimes that can be considered as cybercrime. Almost all the crimes that are committed via computer are considered to be cybercrime and it is not so easy to sometimes figure out whether something which you see online is a crime or not.

Cybercrime in India is the fastest-increasing crime among our generation and it can take various forms, it is not only like there would be some person on one side of the phone talking to another and getting sensitive information out of him by crook and deceit but it now includes the most complex situation where one would not even notice that there was cybercrime happening to oneself until too late.

Cybercrime is on the trend lately as the world is shifting to a digital age and all the transactions and every little aspect of life can be found online such as if you want to play? there are 100s of games to play online, you want to date? There are 10s of applications and or many sites that can help you with it, you name it there are already 10 apps or sites to do your work, so as the total workforce goes digital the risk of going online is also increasing with it and as new software develops it also gives new chance for the cybercriminals to add some new type of crime which will be harder to spot without the specific knowledge needed or to a common man.

History Of Cybercrimes

Cybercrimes are a new emerging danger but it is not a totally new concept, cybercrime has been with us from 1820 when the first incident which was considered to be a cybercrime occurred but if we look from the modern computer side the first incident occurred in 1962. Cybercrimes have a long and exhaustive history in the history of mankind which is quite old where not many had the luxuries of having an electronic machine or any machine with internet access so at that time this problem was not adamant.

Some important years of Cyber Crimes:
  1. 1962: this was the first time where modern cybercrime happened, A man named Allen Scherr used the cyber attack by tampering with the punch card system which allowed him to get the MIT passwords and many of there students as well as the faculty's database.
  2. 1971: ARPANET was attacked with the first virus created that was able to self-replicate and did significant damage to the affected computer and that was made by Bob Thomas.

Major Cyber Attacks:

  1. 10 million dollars hack, in July 1994 there were 400 thousand dollars that suddenly went missing from some corporate bank customers in total, the bank had no lead so they contacted the FBI to get some results. The FBI figured out that the hackers were able to hack into the telecommunication network of the banks which allowed them to trace the passwords and ids of various high-profile individuals. As they were searching the bank records, they noticed 40 similar illegal transactions with a total value of 10 million dollars.

    This discovery led to this case being prioritized and as they investigated they found that a Russian couple was behind all this illegal transaction and cybercrime. It was later found out that the Russian couple was working under a man named Vladimir Levin. Vladimir Levin was arrested in 1955 and then he was found guilty of the charges in 1958. This case was the first online bank robbery case that was recorded.
  2. Morris worm virus:
    The virus named worm today which is a virus that self-replicates itself and damages every computer by connecting itself to all the files of the computer and even if a single strand of that virus happens to be in contact with another computer via the internet link, or removable storage devices will infect that computer and then increase itself and will do this again and again until it is either stopped or the system is purged.

    This worm virus was made from the Morris worm virus which was created in 1988 and reportedly affected 60 thousand of computers that were connected to the internet. The damages that were caused by this virus were estimated to be in the millions by the FBI was able to do all this damage in a matter of days. Later on an anonymous article was uploaded online on how to stop this virus which was uploaded by the culprit's friend, later the same friend in an interview with The New York Times he revealed the initials of the culprit which were RTM which led to the discovery of the culprit Robert Tappan Morris. He was found guilty but was not given jail time but was given some lighter punishment and 400 hours of community service.
  3. Botnet operation:
    In an attempt to fight the cyber crimes happening in the U.S.A the FBI started investigating various server that was suspected of hosting data breaches and various hacking operations, in that attempts they started an investigation on a U.S based server that had very high activity and it was deemed very unusual, as they started searching it they found thousands of key logged in that was able to give access to over 2 million computers worldwide and the FBI quickly shut down that whole server as that was a trigger point for various hacking schemes that was going on worldwide.

Cyber Attacks In India

There are various major cyber attacks that happened in India such as:
  1. Cosmos Bank cyber attack that happened in Pune:
    Hackers launched malware into the backing system of the central cosmos bank that is situated in Pune, they created this by making a switch that switched the main login information of VISA and Rupay cards and changing the payment gateway that was supposed to go to the bank, it was reported that over 19000 transactions were changed, the total damage was reported around 94.42 crore rupees and it can be noticed as one of the most damaging cybercrime in the banking industry of India.

    The Lazarus group was suspected of this crime as they also did a similar crime in Bangladesh that had around 81 million in stolen money and the same group was also the lead in attacking the SONY pictures.
  2. ATM system hacked in Kolkata:
    in July 2018 some hackers hacked over 50 victims on Canara bank totalling around 20 lakh rupees, it was also speculated that the hackers had information of over 300 victims across India, and the minimum transaction was of 10,000 rupees and the maximum was recorded at 40,000 rupees per victims, on 5th august 2018 the two hackers were caught.
There was another attack that was reported by Wipro where the hackers used the Fishing technique and did gift card fraud but it cannot be said as a major event, this situation also made aware of the vulnerability of the security systems of major companies and where they could be attacked at.

Types Of Cybercrime

There are many types of cybercrimes and it is continuing day by day so it is not possible to gauge the extent of cybercrime that may happen or are happening at times but here are some common one that are being used by various hackers and hacking groups-
  1. Phishing: It is the most common type of cybercrime in which the hacker sends the victim fake messages, emails, or ads and the attacker usually attaches some malicious link that, when clicked, downloads some malicious software that leaks the information of the victim to the attacker or severely damages the targeted computer. It is one of the oldest methods of cybercrimes that is still being used to this day.
  2. Identity theft: It is the type of cybercrime in which the attacker steals the personal information of the victim and takes on his persona in many situations such as getting benefits assigned to him, getting a loan in his name, sending messages to others as him, and generally becoming the other person in an online scenario.
  3. Hacking: This type of cybercrime includes the unauthorized use of any personal computer or any network and doing any illegal conduct with it such as tampering with the data, stealing the information, even shutting down the service, or locking the information on the device and asking for a ransom to release the network or the computer.
  4. Cyberbullying: It is the type of cybercrime in which one harms another's reputation by sending harmful and/or provocative texts to others that destroy or harm one's reputation in an online scenario. It is a crime because it can lead to many psychological problems one faces under humiliation and stress. It can also lead to many other problems such as stress, insomnia, etc., and can also be called cybercrime.
  5. Cyberstalking: Cyberstalking is when one stalks someone's online persona after getting warned or one is stalking continuously and the other person does not want to be part of that unwanted stalking. It is getting bigger and bigger due to people posting every single aspect of their life on social media which enables people to stalk them very easily and exhaustively.
  6. Email slamming: It is the type of cyber attack in which one person generally uses software to send thousands of emails either from the same email ID or many email IDs so it will be harder to track the source. It is usually done to either disturb a person or bury a specific email as one would not see it. It can also be used to try to do phishing by sending many links in that email so one would click on any of them that will allow the attacker to steal the user's information and blackmail him for money or any other sensitive information.
  7. Cyber blackmail/extortion: All types of cybercrimes are usually done for only two things: to get any sensitive information that can help the attacker or help the attacker get an edge on the victim, and to earn some money by blackmailing the victim to pay to retrieve some sensitive and crucial information. This type of blackmail/extortion is called cyber extortion and it is one of the two main reasons for cyberattacks.
  8. Worm virus: This type of virus usually uses a type of worm virus that is modified from the Morris worm virus. This type of virus usually attaches itself from a file and then self-replicates into hundreds of thousands of worm viruses, spreading through electronic devices or computers. It can help the attacker by gaining key-loggings that are used in getting important IDs and passwords and can also effectively destroy all the files of a computer, making it difficult to eradicate. The only way to remove this type of virus is to either delete all the strands of the virus at a single moment or delete all the files of a computer.
  9. Data diddling: Data diddling is the type of fraud that happens in an online situation when anyone falsifies any type of numbers in any data provided to anyone, intentionally falsifying data such as tax statements, fee receipts, balance sheets, etc. It is usually done to either gain more profit or get more tax benefits and to not pay more taxes than what they want to pay.
  10. Trojan horse attack: Trojan horse attack was inspired by the Trojan War. In a trojan virus, an unsuspecting user downloads a software which looks totally legitimate but is filled with malware and malicious software that leaks personal information or infects the PC it came into contact with. It is generally very hard to distinguish between a trojan virus and an actual software as the virus is made to be identical to the real software.
  11. Salami attack: This type of attack is usually done in the banking sector in which a person changes an interface of such a slight amount that it usually goes unnoticed. Then, the person loads in a software in the bank's server that will take a minuscule amount of money from each customer's account, which is so low that a user hardly ever notices it. It can be hard to detect as no one will report a small amount missing from their account and it can be easily seen as bank fees or any other fees attached to a bank account.
  12. Webjacking: It is a type of cybercrime that is almost the same as phishing, but in webjacking, the attacker usually gains information or access to any online platform or website. This information can be used to extort money from the victim or threaten to delete the website or customer's information/orders, which can be catastrophic to any business owner as it sullies the reputation of the owner and his brand.
  13. Child pornography: It is the most heinous type of crime in the cybercrime world in which a child is being exploited in a sexual manner. Any type of visual of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor is considered child pornography. It is heavily punishable by law in almost every country and is prioritized over all other cybercrimes as it involves a minor who is not able to defend themselves and is being forcefully involved in any sexual conduct. Circulation of the videos and photos of the act is usually done in an online manner.

Information Technology Act 2000

The information technology act of 2000 was made due to the sudden increase/spike in the crimes in cyberspace of India and it was made to govern the crimes that happened in cyberspace as there was no act regarding cyberspace until this act.
The Information Technology Act 2000 gives many uses such as:
  • This act was made to give legal punishments and provisions to every act and transaction that was done online or in cyberspace.
  • It helps in the decision-making of various cases relating to cyberspace.
  • This act recognizes many types of contracts, signature, and documents that are being done in cyberspace.

Significance Of Cyber Laws

Cyber laws are very important in today's scenarios as transactions and businesses are going online due to the advancement of computer and electronic commerce. Cyber laws or the IT Act of 2000 is very important to all the industries which does there business in online manner and are prone to attacks in cyberspace.

Without any cyber law, there will be no help for anyone who gets scammed in an online setting and the person will be left stranded as there would be no way to help him.

With the advancement of computers and technology people need not only be aware of the crimes happening in real life but also the crimes that are happening in cyberspace, cyber laws help in making the general public aware of such dangers and also tries to warn them and protect them if one is a victim of such.

Cyber laws are very important as the new era opens up a totally different space that is not yet all explored and is ever-changing and one needs to adapt to it and be prepared for the unexpected.

Major Case Laws Of Cybercrime In India:

  1. Shreya Singhal VS union of India[2]:
    In this case section 66A[3] of the IT act 2000 was challenged as two women were arrested under section 66A of the IT act when they posted a questionable comment on the demise of a political leader in Mumbai, the women later challenged the constitutionality of the section 66A on IT act, the court held that section 66A is ambiguous and is directly in violation of the freedom of speech and expression but the provisions of Indian penal code of 1860 will still be valid that prohibits racist comments, hate speech and many more outrages of speech.
  2. CBI Vs Arif Azim[4]:
    The website which was at that time named which allowed foreigners to send Sony products to their relatives or friends that resides over in India, someone named Barbara Campa bought a TV set with a cordless phone which was to be delivered to Arif Azim, the delivery was completed but then the credit card company informed the Sony customer care that the purchase was unauthorized, later it was figured out that Arif Azim worked at a call center and used a customer's card to order a TV and Phone for himself, the main issue raised in this case was that whether IPC can work when there is no provision of a certain act in the IT act of 2000 as there was no provision for this type of activity in the IT act, the court held that IPC can be used where the IT act falls short of.
  3. Avnish Bajaj Vs State of Delhi[5]:
    In this case the CEO of who was Avnish Bajaj was arrested for selling pornographic materials in a disk on his website which is under section 67[6] of the IT Act 2000, Avnish Bajaj challenged the arrest and the issue was raised in the court of section 67 of the IT act and the court decided Avnish Bajaj was not guilty as he did not know what was inside the disk and the cybercrime was done by somebody else, Mr. Avnish was just the distributor and not the content creator and he was unaware of the materials inside as the good for sale was in physical form and there was no way he could have known what was inside.
  4. SMC Pneumatics (India) Pvt ltd Vs Jogesh Kwatra[7]:
    In this case the defendant Jogesh Kwatra was an employee at the plaintiffs firm, the defendant started sending vulgar and obscene messages to all the customers around the globe to sully the reputation of the plaintiff's company and then he was fired, as soon as he was fired he started sending more emails with vulgar language but it was held that there was not enough evidence to support that the emails were being sent by the defendant but the defendant was barred from sending anything in the cyberspace that can sully the reputation of the plaintiff or his company.

Cyber Criminals

Cybercriminals are the person who commits cybercrime, it will not be believable but most of the amateur hackers are teenagers who just got to know how to hack something or how to make software that records key logs, etc. they usually take pride in hacking and it is one of the boastful moments for them that they hacked into someone else's computer. It is not for the money for them but the new space that opened for them allows there curiosity to get the better of them.

Teen hackers usually do this to make a name for themselves and they are usually unaware of the consequence of the software or virus they made is, we can take an example from an MIT graduate who created the worm virus, he was not trying to destroy computers and it was supposed to be a prank on one of there classmate but it got out of control very quickly and damaged around 60000 computers that were worth over millions of dollars in the 1900s.

There are also groups of hackers that try to scare some particular companies or countries so that they can get into their mainframe and steal the information whenever they want but there are not that many of them.

Jobs For Hackers

Nowadays there are many jobs in the corporate as well as government sector which allows hackers to join various groups and organizations and help them protect themselves from the attacks of various hackers and it can be a lucrative job too.

We can take the example of 21-year-old George who hacked the Sony PlayStation 3 and was offered a job to find and fix exploits in the newer gen sony consoles and network, in this situation a hacker got a job from the same company that he hacked but it does not mean that it will always go those ways one can also land in jail for hacking.

Ways To Protect Oneself From Cybercrimes

There are many ways on how one can protect themselves from this new danger and they are not that hard such as:
  1. Creating a strong password.
  2. Not having the same password for all their online transactions and websites they visit.
  3. Not accepting some random and weird email.
  4. Not clicking on any suspicious links.
  5. Not downloading any software from an untrusted source.
  6. Having a good antivirus and firewall.
  7. Not plugging their devices into a public charging port or any port.

And there are many more ways one can protect themselves and this list will never get shortened but it will be going on continuously as more advancement are made in the IT industry and more loopholes are figured out.

Cybercrime is any criminal conduct in the cyberspace, It is a new and emerging danger as computers and electronic communication evolves, the first cyber attack which was on a modern computer was done in 1962 and then the intensity of cybercrimes has been continuously getting more severe and to tackle all those cybercrimes.

Which are over 10 types such as child pornography, phishing, worm, data diddling and many others Indian government introduced the Indian Information Technology Act 2000 which tries to tackle this new and emerging danger.

But it is still not foolproof and it will continue to be amended from time to time such as done in 2008 of the section 66A of IT Act there are several ways that one can tackle these crimes but the main essence of the whole paper is that cybercrimes will increase as there is more advancement in the IT industry and e-commerce industry and it cannot be fully stopped so one should always be aware of the dangers of the cyberspace and tread cautiously.

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  1. According to section 3 of the Indian majority act a minor is anyone who has not obtained the age of majority which is given as to be 18 years of age and above.
  2. AIR 2015 SC1523
  3. Section 66A talks about punishment for sending offensive messages through communication services that are computer resources or communication devices.
  4. 2013
  5. 2008 150 DLT 769
  6. Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene materials in electronic form.
  7. CM APPL No. 33474 of 2016

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