[Solved] Discuss different types of cybercrimes and measures required to be taken to fight the menace. (UPSC GS-3 Mains 2020)

Cyber Crime/cyber crimes is an illegal act where the computer is used as a tool or target or both. These days Cyber Crime is a fast-growing area of crime. Apart from other countries in India also the rate of incidence of cybercrime is growing day by day. The main focus in this article is what cybercrime is, how it is increasing, the types of cybercrime, cyber laws, and what all measures are taken by the government to curb it, etc

Different Types of cybercrime

Here are some distinct examples of the different types of cybercrime:

  • Email and internet fraud.
  • Identity fraud (where personal information is stolen and used).
  • Theft of financial or card payment data.
  • Theft and sale of corporate data.
  • Cyberextortion (demanding money to prevent a threatened attack).
  • Ransomware attacks (a type of cyberextortion).
  • Cryptojacking (where hackers mine cryptocurrency using resources they do not own).
  • Cyberespionage (where hackers access government or company data).

Cyber crimes: Issues in Cyberspace

  • Data protection and protection of privacy of individuals and corporate entities. Hackers are breaking into computer systems without owner s knowledge and consent.
  • While Digital India can bridge the Rural- Urban Divide but the legal framework for implementing the same is not in existence. The entire framework of digital India is based on cyber security and cyber security will play a major part in ensuring the success of Digital India.
  • Cyber frauds– Companies not complying with RBI guidelines of double authentication.
  • Child pornography– UNICEF in its report titled ‘State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World’, stated that 1 in every 3 internet users worldwide is a child and optimum efforts should be made to ensure that children have access to safe online content. And UNICEF has pointed out that there is need to make the digital world safer for the children.
  • Terrorist Financing– Terrorist groups are using cyber networks to formulate plans, raise funds, spread propaganda etc.
  • Cyber-attacks lead to heavier losses like operational disruptions, loss of sensitive information and designs, impact on brand image etc.
  • Protection of copyright and other intellectual property rights.

Laws against Cyber crimes in India

Ever since the introduction of cyber laws in India, the Information Technology Act (IT Act) 2000  covers different types of crimes under cyber law in India. The following types of cybercrimes are covered under the IT Act 2000.

  • Identity theft – Identity theft is defined as theft of personnel information of an individual to avail financial services or steal the financial assets themselves.
  • Cyberterrorism – Cyberterrorism is committed with the purpose of causing grievous harm or extortion of any kind subjected towards a person, groups of individuals, or governments.
  • Cyberbullying – Cyberbullying is the act of intimidating, harassment, defaming, or any other form of mental degradation through the use of electronic means or modes such as social media.
  • Hacking – Access of information through fraudulent or unethical means is known as hacking. This is the most common form of cybercrime know to the general public.
  • Defamation – While every individual has his or her right to speech on internet platforms as well, but if their statements cross a line and harm the reputation of any individual or organization, then they can be charged with the Defamation Law.
  • Trade Secrets – Internet organization spends a lot of their time and money in developing software, applications, and tools and rely on Cyber Laws to protect their data and trade secrets against theft; doing which is a punishable offense.
  • Freedom of Speech – When it comes to the internet, there is a very thin line between freedom of speech and being a cyber-offender. As freedom of speech enables individuals to speak their mind, cyber law refrains obscenity and crassness over the web.
  • Harassment and Stalking – Harassment and stalking are prohibited over internet platforms as well. Cyber laws protect the victims and prosecute the offender against this offense.

IT Act, 2000 went through amendments under the Indian Penal Code in the year 2008. These were made in light of the laws on cybercrime – IT Act, 2000 by way of the IT Act, 2008. They were enforced at the beginning of 2009 to strengthen the cybersecurity laws.

International Cyber Scenario

It is widely believed that the 2016 US presidential election was an easy target for Russian cyberespionage, which tilted the balance in favor of Donald Trump. An year later, the French presidential election in April 2017 also saw a similar cyber attack, in which hackers attempted to sabotage the election chances of the presidential candidate, Emmanuel Macron.

The Internet now has the potential to affect the geopolitics of states as well as their geo-economics. The Snowden leak (2013) has brought into focus the extent of the mass unwarranted cyber surveillance by a single country (USA). It has raised serious concerns regarding the sovereignty and security of nation states and the violation of basic human rights such as the right to privacy. Therefore, there is an immediate need to have strong International Cyber laws to regulate such global threats.

Budapest Convention

  • The Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention) came into force on 1st July 2004.
  • It is the first international treaty on cybercrimes.
  • Its main objective, is to pursue a common criminal policy aimed at the protection of the society against cybercrime, especially by adopting appropriate legislation and fostering international co-operation.

cyber crimes

Cyber Laws in India

Information Technology Act (IT Act), 2000

  • The IT Act is an umbrella legislation that primarily aims to regulate electronic commerce as well as gradually promote a culture of e-governance in India.
  • It seeks to effectuate the 1997 United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on E-Commerce and refers to it in its preamble.

Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008

  • IT ACT, 2000 was amended through Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008.
  • The amendment widened the definition of Cyber Security. Act added provisions to the existing Information Technology Act, 2000 to deal with new forms of cyber-crimes like publicizing sexually explicit material in electronic form, video voyeurism, cyber terrorism, breach of confidentiality and leakage of data by intermediary and e-commerce frauds.
  • The law seems to take a reasonable effort to tackle two areas of policy in need of reform: cybersecurity and data privacy.

Critical evaluation Of IT Act 2000

IT Act 2000, is inadequate to deal with the current requirements, it was amended last in 2008. The proliferation of social media, growth of e-commerce and demonetisation, etc. which has spurred the growth in the digital economy, so the IT act needs to be reconsidered in the light of these developments.

National Cyber Security Policy 2013

  • This policy aims to ensure a secure and resilient cyberspace for citizens, businesses, and the government.
  • To generate adequate trust & confidence in IT systems and transactions in cyberspace and thereby enhance adoption of IT in all sectors of the economy.
  • To establish a National and Sectoral level 24 x 7 mechanisms for obtaining strategic information regarding threats to ICT infrastructure.
  • Provisions for fiscal benefits to businesses/organizations for adoption of standard security practices and processes.
  • It aims for the creation of a 5,00,000-person workforce (cyberwarriors) skilled in cybersecurity within five years.

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