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Cyber Crime

Criminal Laws- Cyber Crime & IT Laws

Cyber law is a term used to describe the legal issues related to use of communications technology, particularly “cyberspace”, i.e. the Internet. It is a distinct field of law in the way that it is an intersection of many legal fields, including intellectual property, privacy, freedom of expression, and jurisdiction.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 [IT Act] deals with the following cyber issues & law: data privacy, Information Security, cyber café, digital signature technology, reasonable security practices to be followed by corporate, role of intermediaries, role of Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, child pornography, cyber terrorism, legal Recognition of Electronic Documents, legal Recognition of Digital Signatures, Offenses and Contraventions and Justice Dispensation Systems for cyber crimes. The IT Act however does not contain adequate provision viz-a-viz jurisdiction of the Court and the Police.

Cyber Crime is geography-agnostic, border less, territory-free and sans all jurisdiction and frontiers and happens in ‘cloud’ or the ‘space’. All concerned players in the field- Aggrieved Complainant Police, Courts, etc virtually don’t as to who commands the jurisdiction, there being no adequate law in force. Jurisdiction is still a major issue which is not satisfactorily addressed in the ITA or ITAA. Jurisdiction has been mentioned in Sections 46, 48, 57 and 61 in the context of adjudication process and the appellate procedure connected with and again in Section 80 and as part of the police officers’ powers to enter, search a public place for a cyber crime etc. In the context of electronic record, Section 13 (3) and (4) discuss the place of dispatch and receipt of electronic record. However some fundamental issues like if the mail of someone is hacked and the accused is a resident of a city in some other state, then after coming to know of the offence being committed in a different city, which police station does he go to? If he is an employee of a Multi National Company with branches throughout the world and in many metros in India and is often on tour in India and he suspects another individual say an employee of the same firm in his branch or headquarters office and informs the police that evidence could lie in the suspect’s computer system itself, where does he go to file he complaint. Often, the investigators do not accept such complaints on the grounds of jurisdiction and there are occasions that the judicial officers too have hesitated to deal with such cases.

Cyber Crime is not formally defined anywhere, be it Information Technology Act, 2000 or any other Act and statute. Simply put, cyber crime is unlawful acts wherein the computer is either a tool or a target or both. Cyber crimes can involve criminal activities that are traditional in nature, such as theft, fraud, forgery, defamation and mischief, all of which are subject to the Indian Penal Code, 1860.  We can categorize Cyber crimes in two ways:- (i) The computer as a Target, (ii) The computer as a weapon. To target or attack a computer, the criminals use other computers. This category of crime includes hacking, virus/worm attacks, DOS attack, etc. The category of crimes where the computer is used as a weapon includes Cyber Terrorism, IPR violations, Credit card frauds, EFT frauds, pornography etc. Commission of cyber crime may be divided into three basic groups:

  • By Or Against An Individual/ Individual Property- Harassment via Emails; Cyber Stalking/ squating; Dissemination of obscene material; Defamation; Hacking/Cracking; Indecent Exposure; Computer/ Cyber Vandalism; Transmittiming a Virus; Network Trespassing; Unauthorized Control over Computer System; Hacking/Cracking; intellectual property crimes, cyber trespass: internet time thefts
  • Against An Organisation- Hacking & Cracking; Possession of unauthorised Information; Cyber- Terrorism against Government Organisation; Distribution of Pirated Software Etc.
  • Against Society at Large- Pornography; Polluting the youth through indecent exposure; Trafficking, online gambling, financial crimes, forgery,  

Cyber offences includes the following: Computer Crimes; Cyber bullying; Online Scams; Phishing Scams; Selling Fakes Online- Work at home, Fake Apartment Rentals, Unexpected Prizes, Etc., Catfish Scams; Assault By Threat; Cyber Terrorism; Child Pornography; Cyber Trafficking; Cyber Warfare; Cyber-Stalking; Cyber Squatting; Cyber Vandalism; Cyber Trespass; Cheating, Forgery & Fraud; Child Pornography; Cracking; Carding; Distribution Of Pirated Software; Dissemination Of Obscene Material; Defamation; E-Mail Spoofing; Financial Crimes; Harassment Via E-Mails; Hacking Computer System; Intellectual Property Crimes; Internet Time Thefts; Online Gambling; Possession Of Unauthorized Information; SMS Spoofing; Transmitting Virus; Worm Attack; Etc.   

Computer Crimes refers to and includes the following: Improperly accessing a computer, system, or network; Modifying, damaging, using, disclosing, copying, or taking programs or data; Introducing a virus or other contaminant into a computer system; Using a computer in a scheme to defraud; Interfering with someone else’s computer access or use; Using encryption in aid of a crime; Falsifying e-mail source information; and stealing an information service from a provider.

Cyber bullying refers to and includes the use of Internet and/or mobile technology to harass, intimidate, or cause harm to another. It has moved from the schoolyard to social networking sites such as Facebook, emails, and mobile text messages.

Phishing: In a phishing scheme, the scammer attempts to obtain private information from a victim by posing as a reputable entity in an email or other electronic communication. For example, the scammer may send you an email posing as a bank representative and claiming that your account requires verification. The email would then direct you to a fake banking site where you would be asked to provide sensitive information like your account number, username, password, and more. With the information, the scammer would then have access to your account.

Work at Home: You’ve probably seen ads online for jobs that seem too good to be true. Unfortunately, most of them are. Many work-at-home schemes require you to purchase expensive materials or pay upfront fees without providing you with the means to earn a living. Others are Ponzi schemes, requiring you to recruit others in exchange for a cut of the fees.

Catfish Scams: A “catfish” is someone who creates a fake social media account in order to pursue an online romance. Sometimes, catfish convince their victims to send money or gifts, or to pay for their travel or other expenses.

Unexpected Prizes: The Internet is littered with pop-up ads telling you that you’ve won an iPod or qualified for a free vacation. These “contests” often require you to pay certain fees or shipping costs in order to receive your “prize.” Of course, most of the time there is no prize and the perpetrators pocket the fees.

As they say, prevention is better than cure, one is expected to observe following reasonable security practices; site certification, security initiatives, awareness trainings, conformance to standards, adherence to policies like password policy, access control, email policy etc, periodic monitoring and review. Following measures and precautions are a must:  

  • Identification of exposures through education
  • One should avoid disclosing any personal information to strangers via e-mail or while chatting.
  • One must avoid sending any photograph to strangers by online as misusing of photograph incidents increasing day by day.
  • An updated Anti-virus software to guard against virus attacks should be used by all the netizens and should also keep back up volumes so that one may not suffer data loss in case of virus contamination.
  • A person should never send his credit card number to any site that is not secured, to guard against frauds.
  • It is always the parents who have to keep a watch on the sites that your children are accessing, to prevent any kind of harassment or depravation in children.
  • Web site owners should watch traffic and check any irregularity on the site. It is the responsibility of the web site owners to adopt some policy for preventing cyber crimes as number of internet users are growing day by day.
  • Web servers running public sites must be physically separately protected from internal corporate network.
  • It is better to use a security programmes by the body corporate to control information on sites.

Need of Cyber Law: information technology has spread throughout the world. The computer is used in each and every sector wherein cyberspace provides equal opportunities to all for economic growth and human development. As the user of cyberspace grows increasingly diverse and the range of online interaction expands, there is expansion in the cyber crimes also, namely, breach of online contracts, perpetration of online torts and crimes etc. Due to these consequences there is a need to adopt a strict law by the cyber space authority to regulate criminal activities relating to cyber and to provide better administration of justice to the victim of cyber crime. Cyber law should be made stricter in the case of cyber terrorism and hackers.

We, at Hello Counsel,  have expertise in complete range of matters related to Information Technology sector, including technology and strategic consulting services. We deal in software protection & licencing, data protection, domain names dispute resolution, technology transfer and technical assistance agreements, credit card frauds etc. We advise our clients on cyber laws, Indian Information Technology laws, data protection, IP protection, e-commerce, etc.

We advise our clients on data theft- protection against data theft and the best possible methods to resolve it. Our lawyers are well versed with the cyber laws, information technology laws, and data protection laws in India. We deal in software licencing, development and support and website development agreements. We assist our clients in drafting agreements such as shrink wrap agreements, click wrap agreements software licence and maintenance agreements, hardware maintenance and system supply agreements, access and beta test agreements, service provide agreements, interconnect agreements, broadcasting, satellite and digital terrestrial agreements, Conditional Access Systems (CAS) agreements, server co-location space agreements and other related commercial agreements. We also assist the IT companies in protecting their intellectual property and information technology-related compliance and taxation issues.

We represent our clients in the tribunals, High Courts and the Supreme Court in matters of infringement of intellectual property rights and disputes relating to contracts and domain names. We have significant experience in advising our clients in establishing strategic alliances between suppliers and buyers in India and abroad. We also deal in cyber law and handle cases like internet fraud, hacking, privacy and security related issues etc.

Vital Features- Cyber Crime & IT Laws:

  • Adjudicating OfficerPowers & Jurisdiction Of the Adjudicating Officer & The Competent Court- Under Section-46 of the IT Act.
  • Appellate TribunalCyber Appellate Tribunal- Under S-58 Of The IT Act, 2000.
  • Authorities– Adjudicating Authorities- Appellate Authorities- Certifying Authorities- CERT-In [Indian Computer Emergency Response Team] under S-70B of the IT Act, 2000.
  • Breaches– Cyber Security Breaches.
  • Bullying– Cyber Bullying
  • Catfish Scams
  • Certifying Authorities-
  • CERT-In [Indian Computer Emergency Response Team- Under S-70B of the IT Act, 2000- An Authority Under IT Act, 2000.   
  • Cyber Laws In India Under Various Laws
  • Data Protection Law Compensation By Body Corporate- U/S- 43A Of The IT Act, 2000.
  • Leaks– Data leaks.
  • MessageOffensive Messages- Punishment For Sending Offensive Messages- S-66A of the IT Act,2000.
  • PhishingWhat is phishing; under what law phishing is punishable; before which court the phishing related case are prosecuted and adjudicated; and which investigating agency is responsible for investigation and prosecution of Phishing.
  • PrivacyUnder S-66E Of The IT Act, 2000.
  • Smishing 
  • Tempering Computer Source Documents– Under S-65 Of The IT Act, 2000.
  • Terrorism– Cyber Terrorism- U/S-66F.
  • Whale Phishing or Whaling 

Legislations Governing Cyber Crime & IT Act:

[ Cyber Laws In India Under Various Laws ]

IT Act, 2000 [Information & Technology Act, 2000]:

  • S-28 IT Act, 2000- Power to investigate contraventions
  • S-30 IT Act, 2000- Duties of Certifying Authorities
  • S-43A IT Act, 2000- Compensation For Failure To Protect Data– By a body corporate.
  • S-46 IT Act, 2000- Powers & Jurisdiction Of the Adjudicating Officer & The Competent Court [*]
  • S-58 IT Act, 2000- Procedure and Powers of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal [*]
  • S-65 IT Act, 2000- Tampering with Computer Source Documents [*]
  • S-66A IT Act, 2000- Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc. [*]
  • S-66B IT Act, 2000- Punishment for dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication device.
  • S-66E IT Act, 2000- Punishment for violation of privacy.
  • S-66F IT Act, 2000- Punishment For Cyber Terrorism [*]
  • S-67 IT Act, 2000-
  • S-70B IT Act, 2000- CERT-In- Indian Computer Emergency Response Team To Serve As National Agency For Incident Response [*].

IT Rules, 2003

  • IT Rules, 2003

Indian Evidence Act [Evidence Act, 1872]

  • S-65B of Evidence Act The Whole Law- From Bare Legal Provisions To Judicial Precedents.

Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 2000

  • Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 2000

IT Electronic Records and Digital Signatures Rules, 2004:

  • IT Electronic Records and Digital Signatures Rules, 2004

IPC [Indian Penal Code, 1860 [IPC]:

[IPC Sections dealing with false entry in a record or false document]

  • S-192 IPC-
  • S-204 IPC-
  • S-295A IPC-
  • S-463 IPC-
  • S-464 IPC-
  • S-467 IPC-
  • S-468 IPC-
  • S-469 IPC-
  • S-470 IPC-
  • S-471 IPC-
  • S-474 IPC-
  • S-476 IPC-  

Courts & Fora

[Organisations Related To Computer Crime in India & Across Globe]

  • Adjudicating Officer Or Controller-  
  • Centre for Democracy and Technology (CDT);
  • CERT-In [Indian Computer Emergency Response Team]-   – Lodhi Rd, CGO Complex, Pragati Vihar, New Delhi, Delhi 110003- CERT-In is a government-mandated information technology (IT) security organization. The purpose of CERT-In is to respond to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout the country- CERT-In has been designated as statutory body under Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008 to serve as the national agency to deal with cyber security- CERT-In is responsible for collecting, analysing information on cyber incidents, take emergency measures for handling cyber security incidents; and to call for information and give directions to the service providers, intermediaries, data centres, body corporate and any other person.
  • Computer Crime Research Centre;
  • Cyber Tribunal [Headed by the IT Secretary in any State];
  • Cyber Appellate Tribunal- Global Fora: Australian High Tech Crime Centre (AHTCC);  
  • Forum of Incidence Response and Security Teams;
  • G8 and the G8’s Subgroup on High-Tech Crime;
  • High Technology Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA);
  • Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3);
  • Internet Fraud Watch (IFW);
  • IT Security and Crime Prevention – Interpol.

Related Links

  • Format of the Complaint/ Petition to be filed before- The Police
  • Format of the Complaint/ Petition to be filed before- The Criminal Court
  • Format of the Complaint/ Petition to be filed before- The Tribunal & Other Fora- Under the Information & Technology Act, 2000 [IT Act] 
  • Judgments– Cyber Crime Judgments & IT Law Judgments- State’s High Court Judgments- Hon’ble Supreme Court of India Judgments

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