Tackling cybercrime a major challenge

Amid growing knowledge economy, cybercrime has increased manifold with multiple forms having a deleterious effect on the society, writes MY Siddiqui

With the explosion of Information Technology and growing knowledge economy, cybercrime has increased manifold with multiple forms and multi-dimensional character having a deleterious effect on the society. Tackling cybercrime, therefore, has thrown major challenges for the law enforcing agencies, especially police in India. Accordingly, National Cybercrime Reporting Portal, set up in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and operationalized since August 30, 2019, has reported 33,152 cybercrime incidents till January 30, 2020. Out of the total cybercrime reported, 790 FIRs have been registered. Complaints are dealt with by the law enforcing agencies.

To tackle growing cybercrime in the country, the MHA has rolled out Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre with seven segments comprising National Cybercrime Threat Analytics Unit, National Cybercrime Reporting Portal, Platform for Joint Cybercrime Investigative Team, National Cybercrime Forensic Laboratory Ecosystem, National Cybercrime Training Centre, National Cybercrime Ecosystem Management Unit, and National Cybercrime Research and Innovation Centre.

So far, 21 States and Union Territories have set up Regional Cybercrime Coordination Centre in line with the Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre. These are Andhra Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura and Uttara Khand. Remaining States are in the process of setting up Regional Cybercrime Coordination Centre.

Meanwhile, MHA has been exhorting people on its social media handles and other multi-media platforms, as public awareness campaign, to come forward and report their complaints to National Cybercrime Reporting Portal. It also disseminates cybercrime safety tips. People are urged to guard themselves against various forms of cybercrime and online frauds. People are also enjoined that online posting and circulation of child pornography or rape, gang rape content is a punishable offence.

Police across the country are being trained in combating cybercrime comprehensively with the focus being various emerging trends in cybercrimes and the ways to tackle them. Curricula covers cyber and IT related frauds through e-wallets, followed closely by fake profiles and identity theft on social media. Other aspects of the training in cybercrime investigation fundamentals, tools, techniques, emerging trends in cybercrimes, measures to tackle cybercrimes, legal framework and IT Act, 2000, investigation methods in cybercrimes against women, children, digital forensic in cybercrime investigation, banking and financial fraud investigations, decoding cyber-criminal minds, networking technologies like IP addresses, DHCP servers, MAC addresses, domain name systems, web servers, URLs, proxy servers, anonymous surfing, email architecture and related matters. Some other areas of training include investigation of financial frauds, social media frauds, viral video check, ATM/card cloning case, reverse engineering of encrypted communication, etc.

Whatever it be, problem in tackling cybercrimes is most challenging in view of the fact that servers for various internet services including social media are abroad making the tasks of the law enforcing agencies insurmountable despite the Union Government trying its best to discipline internet service providers from time to time.

The jurisdiction of Central and State Governments does not run over the internet service providers as their servers are located in foreign countries.

The government can only shut their operations or restrict them. Beyond that nothing can be done.