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THE RISE OF CYBERCRIME AND ITS LEGAL IMPLICATIONS




ABSTRACT

Most people believe that cybercrime merely refers to the theft of personal information. However, if we define "cybercrime," we may state that it is "the use of an electronic device such as computer, laptop, etc. for the purpose of stealing someone's data or attempting to harm someone using a computer." India faces a massive and growing cybercrime problem with millions of cases annually, including financial fraud, data breaches, and malware attacks and many others which are discussed in the blog. To fight against these crimes a lot of laws are made which includes Information Technology Act (ITA) of 2000. In addition to ITA, there are number of laws that are relevant to cybercrime in India, such as the Indian Penal Code, The Indian Contract Act and the Copyright Act.

India's cybercrime laws are generally considered to be adequate. However, there are some challenges in enforcing these laws, such as the lack of awareness among the public about cybercrime, the lack of trained cybercrime investigators, and the lack of coordination between different law enforcement agencies. Despite these challenges, the Indian government is committed to combating cybercrime.


INTRODUCTION

Most people believe that cybercrime merely refers to the theft of personal information. However, if we define "cybercrime," we may state that it is "the use of an electronic device such as a computer, laptop, etc. to steal someone's data or attempt to harm someone using a computer." According to the Information Technology Act of 2000, computer systems, or computer networks may be considered "cyber." 

Cybercrime's reach exceeds geographical limitations. Global victims, criminals, and technological infrastructure are all present. Cybercrime is a dynamic and ever-changing phenomenon that arises from the exploitation of technological vulnerabilities to target security flaws in both personal and corporate systems. In turn, there are several shifting obstacles in the constant battle to successfully investigate, punish, and prevent cybercrimes.

Cybercrime may lead to major financial loss, reputational harm, and compromised documents. It is a severe danger to people, corporations, and governmental organizations. The threat of cybercrime is growing as technology develops and more people depend on digital devices and networks for everyday tasks, making precautions against it more important than ever.    

Cybercrime encompasses a wide range of illegal acts including different digital platforms and technology. Discussing a variety of cybercrimes is important, including ransomware attacks, phishing schemes, and phony emails and social media posts. The most prevalent types of cyber fraud are as follows:

Email Fraud - Misleading plans come in a variety of shapes. While social engineering techniques trick people into disclosing personal information like credit card details or sending money to the attacker, fake emails confuse their recipients. Phishing schemes are a common type of email fraud in which criminals impersonate reputable companies.

Social Media Fraud - Social Media fraud includes scams that trick and mislead people by using social media sites such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Catfishing, impersonation schemes, social engineering assaults, and fake internet stores are a few examples. Social media frauds frequently take advantage of people's trust, ignorance, and tendency to overshare personal information online.

Ransomware - A kind of malware attack where the victims' vital data is encrypted and a ransom demand is made in return for the decryption key needed to unlock the data. Ransomware attacks may be extremely costly for both individuals and enterprises, resulting in lost data and assets, financial ruin, and decreased productivity.

Online Harassment - Cyberbullying, cyberstalking, and repeated actions meant to frighten, injure, anger, or embarrass a specific person are all considered forms of online harassment. The most common places to find online abuse these days are discussion boards, dating apps, and social networking websites. Sending improper and unwanted messages, making explicit threats, or sharing private images or videos of a victim are a few instances of internet harassment.


LAWS RELATED TO CYBERCRIME

The punishments for some cybercrimes under the Indian Penal Code (IPC):

Section 66C of the IPC: This section deals with identity theft and impersonation. The punishment for this offense is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with a fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.

Section 66D of the IPC: This section deals with cheating by personation by using computer communication. The punishment for this offense is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with a fine which may extend to two lakh rupees, or with both.

Section 66E of the IPC: This section deals with the violation of privacy by using a computer or communication device. The punishment for this offense is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with a fine which may extend to two lakh rupees, or with both.

Section 66F of the IPC: This section deals with any person who through a computer or any communication device makes, publishes, or transmits any image, any link, or any information that is obscene, in electronic form, with the intent to harm or harass the victim or any other person. The punishment for this offense is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with a fine which may extend to two lakh rupees, or with both.

Section 67 of the IPC: This section deals with publishing or transmitting obscene material in any electronic form. The punishment for this offense is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with a fine which may extend to two lakh rupees, or with both.

Section 263 of the IPC: This section deals with forgery. The punishment for this offense is imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with a fine, or with both.

Section 469 of the IPC: This section deals with forgery for cheating. The punishment for this offense is imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 503 of the IPC: This section deals with criminal intimidation. The punishment for this offense is imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with a fine, or with both.



CASE LAW

Pune Citibank MphasiS Call Center Fraud

The most dangerous fraud that causes day-to-day banking activity is phishing, a criminal activity using social engineering techniques. There are many technologies available to counteract intrusion, but currently, no method is secured. Pune Citibank Mphasis Call Center where facts of the case are that some ex-employees of the BPO arm of Mphasis Ltd. Msource, defrauded US customers of Citibank to the tune of Rs 1.5 crores has raised concerns of many kinds including the role of "data protection". The crime was committed using "unauthorized access" to the "electronic account space" of the customers. It is therefore firmly within the domain of "cybercrimes". The IT Act, 2000 is versatile enough to accommodate the aspects of crime not covered by the IT Act, 2000 but covered by other statutes since any IPC offense committed with the use of "electronic documents" can be considered as a crime with the use of a "written document". "Cheating", "conspiracy", "breach of trust", etc. are, therefore, applicable in the above case in addition to the section in IT Act, 2000. Under the IT Act, 2000 the offence is recognised both under Sections 66-A and 43. Accordingly, the people involved are liable for imprisonment and fine as well as a liability to pay damage to the victims to the maximum extent of Rs 1 crore per victim for which the "adjudication process" can be invoked. It also raises a lot of issues regarding how the police should handle cybercrime cases and a lot of education is required.


CONCLUSION

Cybercrime is a rapidly evolving challenge that demands a proactive and multi-pronged approach. Governments, businesses, and individuals must work together to strengthen cybersecurity measures, enhance legal frameworks, and promote public awareness to minimize the impact of cybercrime and protect the integrity of the digital world.


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