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Changes And Developments In Cyber-Crimes In India

In the 1960s, the development of the internet was a watershed moment. Although the internet was originally designed for military objectives, we had no idea that it would grow swiftly and become a cornerstone in our lives over time. We are now more linked to the internet than we have ever been. Companies have been able to relocate their enterprises online because to the quick expansion of the internet.

We may get anything from clothes, food, bags, equipment, electrical devices, and furnishings from the convenience of our own homes and have it delivered to our doorstep. Our lives have been made simpler by the internet. However, there is always something negative in everything excellent. The growth in occurrences of cyber-crime has been attributed to the advent and development of the internet, as well as the accompanying increase in the number of people online. Criminals have evolved and grown more innovative in their cyber-crimes as a result of the internet's growth.

What is Cybercrime?

Cybercrime is defined as the intentional targeting or attack of a computer or computer network with the intent of conducting an unlawful act such as fraud, child pornography trafficking, software vulnerability exploitation, or social engineering.

Evolution of cyber-crime:

  • The first incidence of cyber-crime appeared in the late 1980s, coinciding with the fast growth of email usage. When an email circulated across the world and into people's homes, a slew of frauds erupted. The email was posed as a legitimate request from a Nigerian Prince seeking financial assistance so that he might assist in the emigration of millions of Nigerians, with the promise of returning millions of dollars to the email recipient.
  • In the late 1980s, a cyber form known as "Morris Worm" infected roughly 6000 of the 60000 computers connected to the internet at the time (within 24 hours). The computer slowness was caused by the cyber worm. The computer systems of several schools and institutions, including Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, NASA, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, were compromised by the cyber worm.
  • When internet web browsers were introduced in the 1990s, thieves discovered new techniques to gain access to a computer system through deception. Viruses would be released on the internet by cyber thieves. The virus would infect a website that a user would subsequently visit. The virus would infect the user's PC after they visited the website. Another method of infecting a user's computer was to show pop-up adverts on a website that the user visited. The user's PC would be infected by the virus if they clicked the popup. Other infections might cause the user's computer to slow down or send them to a pornographic website.
  • In the early 2000s, the internet ushered in a new era of social media and online entertainment. Cybercrime progressed to the next level during this time period. People began uploading and sharing personal information online after the arrival of social media. Identity theft was perpetrated as a result of the flurry of personal information collected from users. Furthermore, the data might be utilised to get access to individual bank accounts, as well as perpetrate credit card and financial fraud.
  • There were many various sorts of cyber-crimes in the first decade of the 2000s, including Denial of Service (DDoS) assaults on major websites, the SQL Slammer worm attacking SQL servers, and many malware attacks, among others.

Evolution Of Laws Governing And Regulating Cyber-Crime In India

Information Technology Act, 2000
Although cyber-crime is not defined in the Information Technology Act of 2000 ("IT Act") or the IT Amendment Act of 2008, the IT Act has the authority to deal with it since it contains provisions relating to cyber-offenses or crimes. Because cyber-crime involves the targeting or assault of a computer or computer network, the IT Act's definitions of terminology such as computer, computer network, computer resource, data, and information, among others, are critical.

In the year 2000, the Information Technology Act became law, and it primarily:
  1. Recognises electronic records, electronic signatures as valid,
  2. Recognises electronic signatures, digital signatures,
  3. Deals with computer related offences and other offences through electronic means, contraventions.
Constant critiques, evaluations, and the interpretation of some portions as harsh led to the IT Amendment Act, 2008 ("IT Amendment Act"), which took effect in 2008.

The IT Amendment Act brought in some notable changes such as:
  1. Focus on data privacy,
  2. Introduction of information security practices,
  3. Definition of cybercafe,
  4. Responsibility on companies to implement reasonable security practices to protect information from unauthorised access, damage, use, modification, disclosure, or impairment.

  • Section 43 of the IT Act provides recourse in the form of compensation to an owner of a computer or computer system when a person or entity damages or destroys the computer or computer system belonging to such owner (civil liability for data theft).
  • Section 43A of the IT Act provides compensation to a person, if the company dealing with or handling the person's sensitive personal information in its computer resource, fails to protect the said person's information.
  • Section 66 of the IT Act punishes the person who dishonestly or fraudulently commits the act referred to in Section 43, with imprisonment for a term extending to 3 years or with fine extending to Rs. 5 lakh or with both (criminal liability for data theft).

Section 66B, 66C & 66D of the IT Act punishes a person who:
  • Section 66B: by dishonest means, receives or retains stolen computer resource knowingly, with imprisonment for a term extending to 3 years or with fine extending to Rs. 1 lakh or with both.
  • Section 66C: by fraudulent or dishonest means uses electronic signature or password of another person, with imprisonment extending to 3 years and with fine extending to Rs. 1 lakh.
  • Section 66D: by means of any communication device or computer cheats by impersonation, with imprisonment extending to 3 years and with fine extending to Rs. 1 lakh.
  • Section 66F: (a) intends to threaten the unity, integrity, security, or sovereignty of India or (b) deny access to any person authorised to access a computer or (c) attempt to penetrate or access a computer without authorisation or (d) introduce a computer contaminant like virus, Trojan, malware etc. and cause death or injuries to person or damage to or destruction of property etc. with imprisonment for life.

POCSO Act, 2012

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act of 2012 (the "POCSO Act") makes it illegal to exploit a kid or children for pornographic purposes, including utilising a child for sexual enjoyment on the internet. Persons guilty for the aforementioned offences will be imprisoned for up to 5 years, and if convicted a second time, they will be imprisoned for up to 7 years and fined. The POCSO Act can also penalise anybody who keeps pornographic information involving a child for the aim of profiting from it with up to three years in prison, a fine, or both.

Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC)

Those who commit crimes of identity theft or cyber fraud are likewise punished under the IPC. Sections 464 (Making a false document or false electronic record), 465 (Forgery Punishment), 468 (Forgery for the Purpose of Cheating i.e. forged electronic record), 469 (Forgery for the Purpose of Harming Reputation i.e. forged electronic record), and 471 (Forgery for the Purpose of Harming Reputation i.e. forged electronic record) of the IPC are (Using as genuine a forged document or electronic record).

Cyber-crime Case Laws
  • The Bank NSP Case:
    This case concerned a bank management trainee who was preparing to marry. The trainee and his fiance primarily communicated through the company's computers. Both of them eventually went their own ways. The girl, on the other hand, created a fake email address named "Indian bar associations" and used the bank's computer to send emails to the trainee's bank's overseas clients. The bank lost numerous clients as a result of this behaviour, and as a result, the clients filed a lawsuit against the bank in court. The bank was found to have committed the offence and was held accountable for sending the abovementioned emails to the clients because the bank was the source of the emails.
  • Cosmos Bank Cyber Attack:
    This case was a cyber-attack on the Pune-based Cosmos Bank. Since the hackers stole Rs. 94.42 crores from Cosmos Cooperative Bank Ltd. in Pune, the banking industry in India has been shaken. The hackers who broke into the bank's ATM computer gathered data from a variety of visa and rupay debit cards. As soon as they acquired access, hacker groups from 28 countries emptied the accounts by withdrawing money.
  • Hack of Aadhar Software:
    Hackers gained access to the personal information of over 1.1 billion Aadhar cardholders after breaking into the Aadhar database in early 2018. Individual Aadhar card holders' information was leaked, according to UIDAI, and includes Aadhar, PAN, cell phone numbers, and IFSC codes, among other things.

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