In today’s world, every individual is having internet access. Everyone wants to have access to the internet as all the facilities are available themselves. According to the Statista report, Indi in 2017 was having 331.77 million internet users and this figure is increasing day by day at an alarming rate. India is said to be the second-highest internet user in the world which clearly shows the development of technology in India. Technological development has its own advantages and disadvantages too as the rate of cybercrime in India is increasing which is a matter to worry about.
Electronic crime popularly knows as cybercrime is a crime where a computer or any electronic device is used as an object to commit a crime. Cybercrimes are committed in various forms such as Cyber extortion, Identity theft, Credit card frauds, hacking the personal data from the computer, phishing, illegal downloading, Industrial espionage. Out of which some of them which are being committed very often are cyberbullying, extortion, distributing child pornography or organizing terrorist attacks.
To make one’s life an effortless one Technology was introduced. And with technology, the introduction to the Internet was also done, which became the bridge to connect people from all over the world. One can agree with the fact that the internet has led to growth and development which has radically helped in an individual’s progress in the sector they are working.
Internet ensures to secure a connection between people and companies from different parts of the world in a faster manner which has turned out to be uncomplicated and relatively economically flexible. But the Internet has also become the gateway for threats that can have a depreciable impact on society. So, in this Internet and mobile technology Cybercrime plays a crucial role in hampering the reputation of a person or a company.
Cybercrime is a heinous offence that involves computers or digital devices, in which a computer can be either a target of the crime, a tool of the crime, or contain evidence of the crime. Any life-threatening act that happens through the internet is known as cybercrime. Fraud, malware such as viruses, identity theft, cyberstalking hacking, ransomware, DDoS attack, etc, all these crimes breed to become cybercrime. In the present domain, every piece of information from statistics to data and facts depends upon artificial intelligence and therefore it is important to control and prevent cybercrimes. Investigation of cyber activities is vital to the success of Enterprises, Government agencies and individuals. The procurement and maintenance of highly skill cybercrime experts by Government and Business Enterprises cannot be overestimated.
There was a time when cybercrime was carried out by small groups of people or individuals but in today’s date cybercrime is not just a petty crime committed by a few people but a proper business and the main goal of this type of business is to destroy large organisations or people in a manner which cannot be found out easily or the person behind this treacherous crime cannot be put behind bars or found to be guilty. Therefore, it has been noticed that highly complex cybercriminal networks bring together individuals at a global level in real-time to commit crimes.
The main question that arises is what motivates people to do cybercrime in India?
Well keeping emotions such as ego and competence apart, another reason for an increase in cybercrime is profit. And an offence like cybercrime requires knowledge and the criminals use their capability to snip, deceive and exploit people as they find it easy to generate money without having to do genuine work. Cybercrimes are considered as one of the major crimes which can cause damages and these damages cannot be easily fixed.
It is important to understand that cybercrime is mainly conducted against Government, Property and People. When Cybercrime takes place against the Government, it leads to cyber terrorism. If criminals are successful, it can cause devastation and panic amongst the citizen. In this class, criminals hack government websites, military websites or circulate propaganda. The committers can be terrorist outfits or unfriendly governments of other nations.
And when Cybercrime takes place against Property it means the same as in the real world where a criminal can steal and pickpocket, even in the cyber world, criminals’ resort to stealing and robbing. In this case, they can steal a person’s bank details and drain off money; misuse the credit card to make frequent purchases online; run a scam to get naive people to part with their hard-earned money; use malicious software to gain access to an organization’s website or disrupt the systems of the organization. The malicious software can also damage software and hardware, just like vandals damage property in the offline world. And when cybercrime takes place against an individual, it can be in the form of cyberstalking, distributing, trafficking and “grooming”. In the present situation, law enforcement agencies are considering such cybercrime very seriously and are joining forces worldwide to reach and arrest the committers.
It is also important to be aware of the different types of cybercrime and how to handle them.
There are different types of procedures and methods of doing hacking such as “when a person’s computer is broken so that his personal or sensitive information can be accessed”. It also aims to have access to important data and information, breaching privacy
It is a serious issue to look upon for those who use internet banking services or the online cash transactions are being done by them. In this type of crime, the criminal does accesses data about a person’s bank account, credit cards, Social Security, debit card, full name and other information to drain off money or to buy things online in the victim’s name.
The criminals do take an advantage of the viruses to have the access to the data and important information highly-skilled programs send viruses, malware, and Trojan, among others to infect and destroy computers, networks, and systems. It is commonly used as a terrorist attack which is based on the internet.
Distributed Denial of Service(DDoS) attack is one of the most popular methods of hacking. It does interrupt servers and networks that are running successfully. When the system is offline, they compromise certain functions to make the website unavailable for users. This software, also called computer virus is Internet-based software or programs that are used to disrupt a network.
Cyber Crime under IPC and IT act
Many laws have been codified under the Indian Penal Code(IPC) and Information and Technology(IT) act to penalize the people involved in this malicious act, here are few examples of the same-
Sections 43 and 66 of the IT Act deals with punishment for several activities such as hacking into a computer network, data theft, introducing and spreading viruses through computer networks, damaging computers or computer networks or computer programs, disrupting any computer or computer system or computer network, denying authorised personnel access to a computer or computer network, damaging or destroying information residing in a computer, etc. The punishment for the same is imprisonment of 3 years or a fine of Rs. 5,00,000 or both.
Section 378 of the IPC which is related to the theft of movable property does apply to the theft of data. The punishment for theft under section 378 of the IPC is imprisonment of 3 years or a fine or both.
Section 424 of the IPC states that “whoever dishonestly or fraudulently conceals or removes any property of himself or any other person, or dishonestly or fraudulently assists in the concealment or removal thereof, or dishonestly releases any demand or claim to which he is entitled, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description1 for a term which may extend to 2 (two) years, or with fine, or with both.“
Section 425 of the IPC deals with mischief and states that “whoever with intent to cause, or knowing that he is likely to cause, wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person, causes the destruction of any property, or any such change in any property or the situation thereof as destroys or diminishes its value or utility, or affects it injuriously, commits mischief”. The section does cover the data in computers, laptops, or any other electronic device. The punishment for mischief as per section 426 of the IPC is imprisonment of 3 months or a fine or both.
Case laws related to Cybercrime
The Appellant was the director of a company and he was charged under sec. 292, 294 IPC r/w 67 of IT Act, 2000. It was alleged that the appellant’s company was in the possession of obscene material and was selling and distributing them. The High Court opined that the accused could not be charged on the aforementioned sections and instead should be charged under section 67 r/w 85 of the IT Act. The appellant moved to the Supreme Court, and the latter ordered the quashing of proceedings against the former. However, when an application was placed before the trial court to drop the proceeding, the trial court ordered the proceeding continue solely on section 292 of IPC. A revision petition was put forward to the High Court against the order framing of charge, but the High Court denied to interfere in the matter.
Whether IT Act, 2000 will override the provisions of IPC, 1860 when the accused is charged for a similar offence under both the Acts or not?
It was held that the IT Act, 2000 is a special enactment with special provisions. Once the special provisions having the overriding effect do cover a criminal act and the offender, he gets out of the net of the Indian Penal Code and in this case, Section 292. The Court also said that it is a settled position in law that a special law shall prevail over the general and prior laws. When the Act in various provisions deals with obscenity in electronic form, it covers the offence Under Section 292 Indian Penal Code. The apex court concluded by saying that the High Court’s order was erroneous when Sec 67 of the IT Act and was replaced to prosecute under sec. 292 of IPC.
Everyone needs to learn and be aware of cybercrimes as well as cyber law because artificial intelligence has become a part of our daily routine and it plays a major role in providing us with revenue, running the country, progress, building a future etc. Therefore, when it comes to handling cybercrime one should always be prepared by having strong passwords on their computers and other digital devices so that no one can break in, and one’s software should always be updated, the home network should be strong enough and always there should be full security internet service.
One significant rule that no one should ever forget is to be aware and keep others including children aware of the internet and its uses. Even if one deals with harassment of any kind on the Internet which later becomes a cybercrime then there is Judiciary and its laws on which people should not lose faith. Cyber laws are created to help people and to stop any crimes like these which affects the well-being of society.