Flawed system gives cyber criminals a free run

NAGPUR: Since all of us are connected to cyber space, especially because of smartphones, our vulnerability to online crime has increased. Against this backdrop, experts believe that there is little awareness among stakeholders about cyber security. Thus, this makes the virtual space a safe haven for the faceless, often nameless, cyber criminals.

In India, despite the increasing numbers and seriousness of cyber crimes, most online offences are still going unreported. Unfortunately, stakeholders like the police, judiciary, media and the victims have done little in getting cyber crimes reported and the perpetrators punished.

“Cyber security has become a big issue all over the world. In UK, a politician even used improving cyber security in the country as an election mandate. In India, though police are not very keen on applying the relevant sections of the IT Act even where they are applicable. This is partly because they are not aware of the provisions,” said cyber security expert Mahendra Limaye, who is also the president of city-based NGO Cyber Awareness Organization (CAO).

IT trainer Prashant Joshi believes that it is not just the victims of these crimes who need to wake up to their rights. “It is also important to prevent such crimes. It is especially important to arm children with ways of securing themselves online, on social networking sites. Parents as well as schools would require taking this up seriously,” he said.

CAO has approached police from cities based on complaints made to them. However, in many cases, police have cited jurisdiction issues. “The cyber cells in most police departments are dummies. If all kinds of lottery, banking and e-mail frauds are being done through the Internet, why can’t the police use the same medium to get back at these criminals?” asked Limaye. He said that there could be a central portal where anyone can report cyber crimes. This central agency can then direct the cases to the relevant departments.

However, the issue has not been completely ignored by the concerned authorities. Earlier this year, Maharashtra’s information technology secretary Rajesh Aggarwal had made a landmark judgment wherein Pune branch of Punjab National Bank was told to pay Rs45 lakh to a phishing attack victim. While making the judgment, he had said that the police are not sensitized to cyber crime. He had also noted that all the virtual leads like IP addresses and CCTV footage were never pursued. However, he had also said that the complainant would have to share part of the blame as he responded to a phishing e-mail.

How to fight cybercrime

* Increase awareness about phishing, e-mail frauds

* Including lessons on cyber security in schools

* Encourage victims to report cases

* Making it easier to report cyber crime through a central website

* While banking or shopping online be careful about revealing personal information

* Cyber cells of police must be well-coordinated to solve cases

* Use safe, known networks to connect to Internet

* Action must be initiated against known e-mail fraud perpetrating IDs

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Courtesy : Times of India