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CyberCrime in India – Registering a Complain and Protecting oneself.

Cybercrime, or also known as a computer-oriented crime, is an offense which involves a computer and a network. The computer may have been used in the commission of an offense, or it may have been the target. Cybercrimes may also be referred to as “Offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm their reputation or to cause any physical or mental harm, or loss, to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as the Internet and mobile phones. Cybercrime may intimidate a person or a nation’s security and financial health. 

Introduction

As do we now know as to what is a Cybercrime, let us also see what all crimes or offenses do actually come within the meaning of a Cybercrime. Cybercrime may be defined as a crime in which a computer is the object of the crime (hacking, phishing, spamming) or is used as a tool to commit an offense (child pornography, hate crimes). Cyber offenders may use any computer network to get pass through the computer to access personal information or use the internet for casuistic or malevolent purposes. In simpler words, Cybercrime is any offense that takes place online or primarily online. Cybercriminals often commit offenses by targeting computer network locations or computer devices.

Typical types of cybercrime include online bank information theft, identity theft, online predatory crimes, and unauthorized computer access. More serious crimes like cyber terrorism also perturb many of the nations even till this date.

Cybercrime encompasses a wide range of activities, but these can generally be broken into two categories:

  • Crimes that target any computer locations or devices. These types of crimes include viruses and denial-of-service attacks.
  • Crimes that use computer networks to advance other criminal activities. These types of crimes include stalking, phishing, and fraud or identity theft.

India’s Legislation on CyberCrime

The Information Technology Act was drawn up in the year 2000 and has been revised most recently in the year 2008. The Information Technology Amendment Bill, 2008 amended sections 43 (data protection), 66 (hacking), 67 (protection against unauthorized access to data), 69 (cyber terrorism) and 72 (privacy and confidentiality), which relate to computer or cybercrimes.

Section 66 of the IT Act, 2008 reads as under:

If any person, dishonestly, or fraudulently, does any act referred to in section 43, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two-three years or with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees or with both.

Section 43 of the IT Act, 2008 speaks of Penalty and Compensation for damage to the computer, computer system, etc.

If any person without the permission of the owner or any other person who is in charge of a computer, computer system or computer network:

  • accesses or secures access to such computer, computer system or computer network or computer resource (downloads, copies or extracts any data, computer database or information from such computer, computer system or computer network including information or data held or stored in any removable storage medium;
  • introduces or causes to be introduced any computer contaminant or computer virus into any computer, computer system or computer network;
  • damages or causes to be damaged any computer, computer system or computer  network, data, computer database or any other programs residing in such computer, computer system or computer network;
  • disrupts or causes disruption of any computer, computer system or computer network;
  • denies or causes the denial of access to any person authorized to access any computer, computer system or computer network by any means;
  • provides any assistance to any person to facilitate access to a computer, computer system or computer network in contravention of the provisions of this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder;
  • charges the services availed of by a person to the account of another person by tampering with or manipulating any computer, computer system, or computer network;
  • destroys, deletes or alters any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means and
  • Steals, conceals, destroys or alters or causes any person to steal, conceal, destroy or alter any computer source code used for a computer resource with an intention to cause damage, he shall be liable to pay damages by way of compensation to the person so affected.

How to Register a CyberCrime?

To fall victim to Cybercrime is very common considering the fact that how much we rely upon the computer network these days and also how much data is being stored over the internet every second of the day. Cyber Offenders do not only target personal information but also target bank accounts or other resources where they can get monetary benefits. Losing one’s hard-earned money or personal and confidential information to online scammers or seeing any loved one suffer due to any scam is painful and hard to accept. The scenario that follows is downright oblivion and inability to comprehend the next course of action.  

In the event of any cyber offense, it is really distressing to get a hold on the situation. Worst still, to go through the process of understanding as to how to file a cybercrime complaint in that grueling moment. One mustn’t wait for cybercrime to strike to be aware of the response mechanism to a cyber offense.

Where to file a CyberCrime complaint? What is the procedure to register a CyberCrime FIR? What evidences do we need to provide? How long to wait before following up?

  • The first step to file a CyberCrime complaint is to register a written complaint with the cybercrime cell. One needs to address the written complaint to the Head of the CyberCrime cell of the city where the complaint is being filed.

As per the Information Technology Act, a cybercrime comes under the purview of global jurisdiction. A cybercrime complaint can be registered with any of the cyber cells in India, irrespective of the place where it was originally committed.

  • While filing the complaint, one needs to provide his name, contact details, and address for mailing.
  • In case, one is a victim of online harassment, a legal counsel can also be approached to assist with reporting it to the Police Station.
  • If one doesn’t have access to any of the Cyber Cells, one can always file a First Information Report at the local Police Station and in case the complaint is not accepted, he can approach the commissioner or the Judicial Magistrate.
  • One can also register a CyberCrime Complaint online by the following links to file a cybercrime complaint through an online portal.

CyberCell Delhi

IndorePolice

CyberCrime Cell

DigitalPolice

Protecting Oneself against CyberCrime

  • Using a full-service internet security suite.
  • Using strong and complex passwords and changing them at regular intervals.
  • Keeping your computer software updated.
  • Keeping personal and private information locked down.
  • Strengthening the home network and also using VPN.
  • Using anti-virus software in computers.
  • Using computer’s in-built firewall protection.
  • Encrypting important and sensitive data.
  • Being wary of providing personal information over the net.

Conclusion

Though not all people are victims of cybercrimes, one can’t deny that people are always at the risk. Safeguards are needed to ensure that the provision of internet access and content are not abused and are in accordance with the rule of law. Computer Networks add a whole new dimension to criminal law, presenting many issues for law enforcement. At the forefront of law enforcement concerns is the necessity to secure adequate training to combat these crimes. One must at all times be alert and should undertake steps so as to protect oneself and his loved ones from cyber attacks.

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