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This article is written by Adv. Praveer Choubey, High Court Of Madhya Pradesh, Jabalpur, pursuing Master Access from LawSikho.

The Guest Speaker: IPS Dr Varun Kumar currently posted at Indore as Assistant Director-General of Madhya Pradesh Police. Dr Kumar is the first Police-Officer in India to get a PhD in Cyber Law. He has been addressed in over 3000 seminars, worked in five continents and is also well renowned for training Diplomats, Police, and Officials in the United Nations and Home Ministry. He is an International Speaker, who has been applauded by Honorable Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi. 

The Host: Mr Ajay Kumar, Supreme Court Advocate and National Spokesperson for the present BJP government. He has worked in the field of journalism for 35 years in 9 countries around the world and 9 states in the country before joining the honourable Supreme Court. Mr Ajay Kumar has interviewed the epitomes of Cyber World like Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Technologies and Bill Gates Co-founder of Microsoft Corporation.

What is the current scenario of Cyber Crime? 

The current scenario of cyber-crime is worse than ever, it has increased extensively in the Pandemic Period. It is so extensive that Statue of Unity was put on sale on the internet and was said that money will be donated for fighting COVID 19. This bizarre crime has increased by 86% in the year 2020. This secret crime has increased the audacity so extensively that more than 1000 of sites came up for donation during the pandemic period claiming to be more genuine the Prime Minister National Relief Fund. Around 800 requests have been received in the last 3 months. Officers, ambassadors in Indian Embassy are victims of Data Theft. It has increased so much because it is no longer managed by private crooks but is managed by the Sovereign States like Pakistan and China. Defence Establishment and National security are at High alert and are facing Cyber Attacks daily. So it is apt to say that only two things are increasing at this very moment, firstly the Corona Virus and secondly Cyber Crime. 

What are the challenges and mindsets in Cyber Crime and why it is such a grave problem?

The challenge is that people don’t consider it a tangible issue as is not happening in the real world. The top threat to Public Security in Cyber Security and the only key to resolve Cyber Security is Awareness. It is considered a grave problem as it is not the crime of this Actual World but a crime of the digital world that is the cyber world. The challenges, danger in the Digital world are no different from the Real World. In the recent past, many lives were lost because of the blue whale game, where children jumped from the terrace. One of the major reasons why it is considered a challenge is because of the hidden identity of the person i.e. the person cannot be seen as well as detected. The second major reason is that we are human beings, all our attitude, action, instinct, intuitions, behaviours, reaction, opinion, all are made for the real world which cannot be applied in the Digital World. So changing the mindset and being aware of it is the only thing that can be done.
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Who is responsible for the security in the Digital World?

People themselves are responsible for their Cyber Security, as it is a crime between an individual and his device. There is no system in the world which can secure any individual from cybercrime but the person himself. This is because the technological support available is very limited such as spyware, malware, antivirus, firewall etc. Knowingness is not enough for awareness but the implementation is most important. The difference between knowing and implementing are the foundation of most Cyber Crime. So, the foremost thing is the security which should become a habit rather than a choice. 

What are the main uses of CyberSpace?

There are many uses of cyberspace but which can be broadly divided into four major uses:

  1. Information: In the year 1970, a nobel prize winner American Economist Alvin Toffler in his book ‘Future Shock’ wrote ‘INFORMATION IS POWER’. In the year 2020 information have become a power which in wrong hand can destroy anyone or anything whether it be a government, a public entity, or a private entity. There are over 2 trillion searches on Google each year. The most important thing which can be acquired by a Cyber-criminal is also information. Then more information about a person more effortlessly they can commit cybercrime. It is we who give all access to our information which are becoming helping hands of the criminals. So, information security is the basis of Cyber Security. Large Multi-national Corporation like Facebook, Whatsapp doesn’t even sell a pencil so what do they trade on, they trade on information which in wrong hands can be disastrous. Commercial activity such as buying through E-commerce, online banking, shopping, payments, transfers all are leaving digital footprints which cannot be removed by any means or anyone.
  2. Communication: Communication is another main important use of Cyber Space. People communicate different types of information to each other through communicating on phone or email. There are more than 7 billion mobile subscribers which call or text and convey any piece of information from one person to another. It is estimated that around 144 Billion emails are sent every day. So it makes communication a crucial part of Cyber Space. 
  3. Social Networking: The major difference between communication and social networking is the audience. When we are communicating a piece of information is circulated to a limited number of people but in social networking, a piece of information can spread extensively in no time. Hosting, posting, liking, sharing, and forwarding are some types of transmission.
  4. Entertainment: It is estimated that there are 5 million games downloaded every day. Research by Dr Kumar three years before which must have increased exponentially, where he found that children of age 16-18 years spend around 22% of their time in the virtual world, whereas college students spend nearly 30% of their time in the virtual world.

What is Cyber Crime, digital footprints and what is their importance? 

A crime committed using an electronic device and network comes under the ambit of Cyber Crime. Whenever a person does a cybercrime they leave some of the digital footprints which can neither be hidden nor destroyed.

Digital Footprint is data which an individual leaves behind when they do any activity in the digital world. The data which is a digital footprint of a person is as unique not for a person but for a user. Digital Footprints are very strong evidence even stronger than Fingerprints because fingerprints can be removed or erased easily but once a Digital Footprint is made it can neither be removed nor it can be erased by any means, it will remain intact forever. New technologies like a proxy server, darknet, or browser just act as a mask/cover on digital footprints which will lead to the original footprint when removed layer by layer. So it is very important to create good digital footprints. A remarkable Cyberlaw is Silk road case in which silk road is a website on the darknet where a person can order any illegal item such as drugs, illegal weapons, wildlife animals body parts, and the certain component will be available at your doorsteps. When it started creating too much chaos a joint operation by INTERPOL and FBI cracked down the case in a couple of months and caught Ross William Ulbricht.
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What are the types of Cyber Crime?

Broadly there are four types of cybercrime: 

  • Phishing: It is the worst form of Cyber Crime. It is the base of many Cybercrimes. Phishing is the foundation of financial crime but also bulling, human trafficking, child sexual abuse. Phishing comes from the English word fishing which means catching a fish from a water body where 1000 fishes swim but only one gets trapped, just like the digital world where 1000 of users are there but only one gets trapped. It can be committed through SMS, phone call, Emails. Technological advancement has improved work and life for criminals. It has become much easier, just with a click it can be committed in 1000 of people and the person does not get caught at least not at the time of commencement of crime.

In the black market, there are phishing kits available in which you can send emails to random email ids and then a phishing email is sent which will tempt or scare an individual to open a link and all the information gets leaked. Cost of a phishing kit is around 65$ for 5 lakh random email ids. The success rate of phishing according to Cisco is 8 people in every 10 lakh and the average loss is estimated to be $2000.

Phishing can be done in certain ways:

  • Virus Injection through Phishing: Whenever a virus is sent through audio, video, text and the victim downloads it so automatically virus also gets downloaded, then if a person deletes that message then also the virus won’t get deleted and from that moment a person can check who the victim is talking, sending a text, videos, audios, business account, creditability etc.
  • Phishing by linking to fake sites: This type of phishing is done with fake financial sites, banking sites, broking sites and wherever an individual’s money is involved.
  • Phishing by Temptation: In this a lottery, award or reward or an invitation which will tempt a person towards social engineering. 
  • Vishing and Smishing: It is also known as voice phishing where a person calls the victim and asks him about his bank detail in exchange of some temptation or try to scare so that they give information. Smishing is done with a text message. 

What are the best possible solutions for Cybersecurity?

The best way is to secure you from a cyber-fraud is to be away from unknown links from unknown sources.

  1. No adding unknown people on Facebook, no SMS, no emails.
  2. Spoofing or imitating a person can still be done so verification of a person is crucial. 

What are the flaws of Social Media?

  1. Social media Overuse: Use of social media is very harmful to the real life of an individual. Mental imbalance of chemicals in brains which can lead to suicide, conflicting relation, violent behaviour.
  2.  Fake news on Social Media: About 70% of the news on social media is fake and faulty which are not from a trusted source. People should not form any opinion by watching or reading anything.
  3. Misuse of social media: It can be used to create panic amongst people and can create fear. Parents and teachers should monitor children so that they don’t misuse it. Online games should be kept in control, though it not a crime but harmful a growing mind. Gaming for long hours is considered a mental problem by Worlds health organization. 
  4. Online bullying and grooming: Online bullying or cyberbullying is a form of bullying using electronic media; it has become increasingly common in teenagers. Online grooming or child grooming is befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child which may lead to paedophilia, child pornography and child sex trafficking. Parents and elders should keep an eye on children.

How can Cybercrime be reported?

Since it is a different type of crime so the police and the officials are still in the process of understanding the crime and various ways how it can be done. Therefore a person can go and report any cyber-crime in his police station of the same jurisdiction, and if he feels that the crime is of higher degree than he can directly reach the cyber cell of the respective state. Some major cities also have the crime branch which deals with the specific branch of Cyber-crime.

Is there any provision to register online FIR?

No, fir cannot be taken online but a complaint can be taken online. The Government of India has also come up with a helpline also where a person can directly register their complaint.

How to make this reach maximum people?

Proper Cyber Education to children from the 10 and spreading the word around are the best methods to create cyber awareness. 

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