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Cyber Crime In India

The Internet, which connects loosely held networks all over the world, has made data and information transfer between them simpler. Security concerns have been a big worry in recent years as data and information is moved between networks in different locations. A few people have also exploited the internet for illegal operations such as unauthorised access to other networks, frauds, and so on. Cyber Crimes are criminal actions that take place on the internet. It's a word we hear a lot in the news these days, thanks to the growing popularity of online activities like online banking, online shopping, and so on. As a result, Cyber Law was enacted in order to deter and punish cyber offenders.

Cyber Law may be characterised as web law, that is, it is a branch of the legal system that deals with the Internet, Cyberspace, and other legal problems such as online security and privacy. In this article we are going to discuss about the various cyber-crimes and various cyber laws and also at what extent cybercrime is affecting women.

Introduction
Cybercrime is defined as the use of a computer to achieve illegal purposes such as fraud, trafficking in child pornography and intellectual property, stealing identities, or invading privacy. Cybercrime has become more prevalent as computers have become more essential in business, entertainment, and government, particularly through the Internet. Because computers and the Internet were widely used in the United States early on, Americans made up the bulk of the initial victims and offenders of cybercrime. By the twenty-first century, however, virtually every hamlet on the world had been impacted in some manner by cybercrime.

Cybercrime has a significant financial impact; it includes ransomware attacks, email and internet fraud, identity fraud, and attempts to steal financial account, credit card, or other payment card information. Cybercriminals may target individuals' personal information, as well as company data, for theft and sale.

As more individuals settle into remote work habits as a result of the pandemic, cybercrime is expected to rise in frequency in 2021, making backup data protection even more important.[1]

In 1995, Sussman and Heuston were the first to coin the phrase cyber-crime. Cybercrime is defined as a set of acts or behaviour that impact computer data or systems, and these acts are based on the material offence object and modus operandi. Cybercrime is defined as:
criminal activities committed via a computer or other kind of electronic communication.

Acts punished under the Information Technology (IT) Act of 2000 are referred to as Cyber Crimes in plain terms. The IT Act of 2000 in India addresses cybercrime issues. Offenses committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the victim's reputation or cause physical or mental harm, or loss, to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as the Internet (networks including chat rooms, emails, notice boards, and groups) and mobile phones, according to the definition.[2]

Cybercrime is a type of crime that involves the use of the internet and a computer. It jeopardises an individual's privacy by exposing or publishing personal or sensitive information online in order to ruin their reputation or cause them bodily or emotional harm, either directly or indirectly. Women are frequently targeted by these criminals because they are na´ve and unaware of the online world, making them vulnerable to technical whims.

As a result, Cyber Crime can be described as any criminal conduct using electronic communications or information systems, such as any device or the Internet, or both or both of them.

Various Forms of Cybercrime
In today's society, information technology has been abused for nefarious purposes. Governments, people, and institutions may all be targets of such crimes. Cybercrime comes in several forms in India and throughout the world.

The following are some of the most prevalent forms of cybercrime:
  1. Hacking:
    It is a term that refers to the act of breaking into. It basically means gaining access to another computer system without permission. It's the most hazardous and well-known form of cybercrime. Hackers get access to a computer's system and steal important information, known as data, without the owner's consent. Hacking can be done for a variety of reasons, including data theft, fraud, data destruction, and inflicting computer system harm for personal benefit. As a result, hackers can fake the data and unlawfully duplicate the IP address.
    According to the SANS Institute's (2004) study, there are three main types of hackers:
    • White Hat Hackers:
      These are ethical hackers that utilise their hacking abilities for good and do not do harm to the computer system.
    • Black Hat Hackers:
      These hackers utilise their computer skills to obtain unauthorised access to a computer system with the purpose of doing anything destructive or damaging. They have the ability to steal, alter, or destroy data, as well as implant viruses and cause system harm.
    • Grey Hat Hackers:
      These are highly competent hackers who do not hack for monetary gain. As a result, they are a mix of white hat and black hat hackers.
       
  2. Cyber Terrorism:
    It refers to unlawful attacks against computers, networks and the information stored therein that are carried out to intermediates or coerce a country's government or citizens, having political or social objectives. Therefore, terrorism acts which are committed in cyberspace is known as cyber terrorism. The cyber terrorism attacks and threats includes:
    • Cyber Warfare:
      This is a war based on the Internet in which computer systems are targeted for political purposes. Official websites and networks can be blocked, vital services can be disrupted or stopped, classified data can be stolen or altered, and financial systems can be crippled, among other things.
    • Malicious Software:
      This refers to Internet-based software or programmes that may be used to obtain access to a computer system in order to steal sensitive information or data, or to cause software to malfunction.
    • Domain Hijacking:
      Changing the registration of a domain name without the authorization of the original registrant is known as domain hijacking.
       
  3. Cyber stalking:
    This is a criminal offence in which a person uses the Internet to harass or threaten someone on a regular basis. Cyber stalking is defined as the intentional activity of cyber stalkers using any online medium, such as email, social media, chatrooms, etc., that causes the victim to feel threatened, intimidated, or harassed. The stalker usually knows his or her target, and the majority of the victims are women. Due to the lack of penalty under the IT Act of 2000, cyber stalkers were previously charged under Section 509 of the IPC. After the amendment to the IT Act in 2008, incidents of cyber stalking can now be prosecuted under Section 66A of the Act, with the perpetrator facing up to three years in jail and a fine.
     
  4. Cyber Bullying:
    According to the Oxford Dictionary, Cyber Pornography refers to actions that take place in cyberspace, particularly on the internet. Many websites include pornographic images, movies, and other content that may be made fast and inexpensively via morphing or sexual exploitation of women and children. Morphing is the illegal alteration of an original photograph using a false identity or by an unauthorised user, as defined by the Indian Penal Code and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
     
  5. Cyber Pornography:
    This is the act of creating, displaying, disseminating, or publishing pornography or obscene content through the internet. In other words, Cyber Pornography is defined as the stimulation of sexual or other erotic behaviours through the internet or other forms of cyberspace.[3] Many websites include pornographic images, movies, and other content that may be made fast and inexpensively via morphing or sexual exploitation of women and children. Morphing is the illegal alteration of an original photograph using a false identity or by an unauthorised user, as defined by the Indian Penal Code and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

    On the internet, there is a lot of child pornography. Underage people are enticed into pornographic productions, sold or pushed into cybersex, or driven into prostitution lifestyles through online child pornography. Kidnapping and international smuggling of young girls and boys for these reasons has become a transnational criminal phenomenon, typically perpetrated in underdeveloped countries where victims are in desperate financial situations.
     
  6. Cyber Theft:
    This is a type of cybercrime in which cyber thieves utilise a computer or the internet to steal information or money from a remote place. It covers a wide range of offences, including:
    • Identity Theft:
      This is a type of fraud in which a person creates a false identity on the internet in order to steal money from bank accounts, credit or debit cards, and other accounts. It is a criminal offence under Section 66C of the Information Technology Act of 2008.
    • Forgery:
      This refers to the creation of forged documents, signatures, money, and revenue stamps, among other things.
    • Phishing:
      This is another extremely prevalent sort of cybercrime in which hackers steal personal information such as passwords, usernames, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on. Email spoofing is commonly used to carry out this type of fraud.
    WEB JACKING
    Web jacking refers to the use of a phoney website to gain access to a victim's account in order to harm or modify the information on the victim's webpage. The attacker sends the victim an email with a link. When the victim clicks on the link, a new page displays, instructing them to click another link. The victim will be routed to a bogus page after clicking on the link. Cyber Bullying is described as using electronic communication to harass a person, often by sending frightening or threatening messages. It occurs when other youngsters, especially teens, use digital technology to threaten, harass, humiliate, or otherwise target them.

    Because of the increased use of cell phones these days, parents should keep an eye on their children's mood swings. Instead, students should become more engaged in their online activities to protect themselves against cyberbullying:
     
    • Cyber Embezzlement:
      Employers who already have lawful access to the company's computerised system do this sort of crime. An employee may commit such a crime in order to increase his or her pay.
       
    • Corporate espionage:
      This is a form of crime undertaken by individuals to obtain a competitive edge in the marketplace. The cybercriminal in this case may come from within or outside the organisation, and he or she could exploit the company's network to steal client lists, marketing plans, financial data, trade secrets, and so on.
       
    • Plagiarism is when someone steals someone else's original work and claims it as their own. Because the majority of material is available online and individuals now have more access to the internet and computers, the problem of plagiarism is becoming more prevalent by the day. Plagiarism detection software may be found on the market.

  7. Email Spoofing:
    According to Techopedia, email spoofing is a fraudulent email activity/technique that hides the originating email message's address, despite the fact that the message looks to have originated from a genuine source. It's a pretty regular occurrence nowadays. Spammers that use such methods generally have harmful motives, such as gaining access to someone's banking information or spreading viruses. For committing such offences, the offender is charged with forgery under Section 463 of the IPC. In today's technological environment, SMS spoofing is also common. It allows you to change the identity or phone number from which text messages appear to have originated.
     
  8. Online Trolling:
    It is a form of online violence on social media platforms where people are given the liberty to speak their mind. Online harassers often tend to target people who express their opinions and think differently from the prevailing societal norms. On such section constitutes of females who are targeted by social media bullies. According to Digital Hifazat report:
    women that are vocal online, especially on topics that have been traditionally relegated to 'male expertise' like religion or politics, or about women's experiences, including those of sexuality, menstruation, or speaking out about patriarchy, are subjected to a vicious form of trolling, usually from self identified right-wing accounts on Twitter.

    Social media bullying takes a toll on the mental as well as the physical health of the victims. Abuse, hate speech and mean comments are the most common elements of trolling. The most common consequences of trolling are self-censorship and mental health concerns.
     

Cybercrime Against Women in India
India is the world's second-largest internet market, with around 688 million active users.[4] In India, the most popular websites are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat. Despite the fact that the number of people using the internet is growing, there is still a gender difference. According to a survey on internet usage in India released by IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India), around 67 percent of users are male, while just 33 percent are female.[5]

The difference between male and female users is one of the main reasons for the rise in female-targeted cybercrime. Cyber-crimes are criminal actions that are performed via the use of the internet and cyber technology and are prohibited by law. Cybercrime can be perpetrated against anybody, property, or the government, however this article concentrates only on cybercrime against women.

According to the National Crime Research Bureau, the number of recorded cybercrime cases increased dramatically in 2017 compared to previous years. In 2018, the number of reported cybercrimes increased even further. There were 21,796 crimes recorded under both the IPC and the IT Act in 2017, but that number has increased to 27,248 in 2018.

For the first time in 2017, the NCRB created categories for women and children based on the types of crimes committed against them. Since the 1990s, information technology has advanced tremendously, and any household with a moderate income now has access to the internet. It may be used by people of all ages in a variety of settings, from their homes to their workplaces.

It may be concluded that the internet has evolved into a separate universe with its own set of cultural values and opportunities. However, the internet world has become a venue for wrongdoers to swindle women, with some even going so far as to intrude on children. The constant progress of the internet makes it more difficult to identify and regulate, resulting in an increase of cyber criminals. Cyber thieves may now conduct crimes using a false identity from anywhere in the globe thanks to technological advancements.

This means they have no physical touch with the outside world and, for the most part, get away with it without consequence. People with anonymity may access any type of information on the internet, resulting in a large amount of anti-social, violent, and hostile content. Apart from the expansion of the internet, one of the primary reasons for the growth of cyber-crime against women is that Indian women are not receptive to reporting a cyber-crime.

They are afraid that it may embarrass their family. The majority of the time, people think that the crime was their responsibility. People come and go as they want in cyberspace, which is its own universe. This allows cyber criminals to conduct crimes while avoiding punishment. Women befriend guys on the internet who develop a relationship by discussing their lives and appearing to be the woman's genuine friend, as seen by different examples.

They develop a great connection over time and then begin to exchange filthy texts. In this scenario, it is the woman's responsibility to report the individual, but it can be observed that in the majority of cases, they avoid doing so, giving the cyber-criminal more bravery. According to a 2016 study on online violence in India done by the Feminism in India webpage, 58 percent of respondents (97 percent women and 3% transgenders) have encountered some type of online aggression in the form of trolling, bullying, abuse, or harassment. However, 38% of individuals who were subjected to such assault did nothing.[6] The victim ladies must realise that by reporting the offender, the situation may be remedied, and other women who could be the criminal's future targets can be saved.

Safety Measures Against Cybercrime
Because of the international nature of cybercrime, new approaches are needed to combat the problem of high-tech crime. Apart from the Cyber Laws, the following considerations should be kept in mind for cyberspace safety while using the Internet:
  1. At the grass-root level, awareness of cybercrime and cyber legislation should be raised among students. Students in Computer Centres, Schools, Colleges, and Universities should also be taught cyber literacy. Any educational establishment can host a cyber-law awareness workshop to educate students with a basic understanding of the Internet and its security.
     
  2. To limit the impact of identity theft and online crimes, bank and credit card statements should be examined on a regular basis.
     
  3. Keep your computer system up to date to keep attackers at bay. By keeping your computer up to date, you prevent attackers from exploiting software weaknesses that might otherwise allow them to get access to your system and hack it for illicit reasons.
     
  4. For online activities such as online banking, unique and strong passwords of eight characters containing a combination of symbols, words, and numbers should be preserved. Avoid using your email address, login name, last name, date of birth, month of birth, or any other easily traceable personal information as your passwords.
     
  5. You should not use the same password for every online service you utilise. Maintain separate passwords for various online activity.
     
  6. To safeguard your webmail or social media account, enable Two-Step Authentication in the webmail.[7] Add your phone number to your email account so you'll be alerted if someone else attempts to access your account. Your username and password are required to open your account using Two-step Authentication. However, if you forget your password, a verification code is sent to your registered cell phone number for personal security reasons. A hacker may be able to crack your password, but he or she will be unable to access your account without the temporary verification code.
     
  7. Your computer must be secured by security software for basic online security, since the programme helps to guard against online dangers. As a result, these programmes are necessary for remaining secure online. It includes anti-virus and firewall software. Who and what may interact with your computer over the internet is controlled by the firewall. Antivirus also protects the system against viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and other dangerous applications by maintaining all online activity such as email messages and web surfing. Integrated security programmes, such as Norton Internet Security, which combine Firewall, Antivirus, and Antispyware with other features like Antispam and parental controls, have become increasingly popular in recent years because they provide all of the security software required for online protection in a single package.
     
  8. Do not react to emails requesting personal information, and do not click on links in these emails since they may lead to fake or harmful websites. Before you submit your data with a company, read the privacy policies on their website and software. Legitimate firms do not send you emails asking for personal information.

Conclusion
To sum up, the introduction of computer networking and newly technological technology has resulted in an increase in cybercrime in recent years. Because the attacker knows who the victim is, he or she performs crimes with harmful objectives such as inflicting harm to the computer system, stealing or deleting data saved in the system, changing passwords, hacking credit card and bank account numbers, and so on. Cyberstalking, cyber terrorism, cyber pornography, morphing, forgery, email spoofing, identity theft, and other kinds of cybercrime have significant societal consequences. By hacking the victim's account, the cybercriminal obtains illegal access to their computer resources or any other personal information.

To avoid any personal or professional loss, it is critical for everyone to be aware of these crimes and to be vigilant and active. However, in order to address the problem of global cybercrime, India's government established the Information Technology Act in 2000 to address such high-tech crimes. The Act was re-enacted in 2008 with a few changes. The Act was renamed the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 (ITAA, 2008) and eight additional crimes were introduced. In addition to this legislation, some sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) are utilised as legal tools to penalise those who commit such offences.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013, also includes legal prohibitions on cyber stalking and online harassment. As a result, the judiciary has enacted the above-mentioned legislations in order to provide justice to victims and to punish perpetrators.

End-Notes:
  1. Nidhi Narnolia, Cyber Crime in India: An Overview, https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-4998cyber-crime-in-india-an-overview.html.
  2. Debrati Halder & K. Jaishankar, Cyber Crimes Against Women In India.
  3. Apoorva Bhangla & Jhanvi Tuli, A Study on Cyber Crime and its Legal Framework in India, International Journal of Law Management & Humanities, 2021.
  4. Digital population in India as of January 2020, STATISTA, (Jan 21, 2021), www.statista.com/statistics/309866/ india-digital-population/.
  5. India Internet 2019, IAMAI, (Jan 28, 2021), https://cms.iamai.in/Content/ResearchPapers/d3654bcc-002f-4fc7- ab39-e1fbeb00005d.pdf.
  6. Pasricha & Japleen, Violence online in India: Cybercrimes against women and minorities on social media, http://feminisminindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/FII_cyberbullying_report_website.pdf.
  7. Kate Brush, cybercrime, https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/cybercrime.

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