Cyber crime

Security concept: computer keyboard with word Cyber Crime, selected focus on enter button background, 3d render

This article was written by Pranav Mundra as student of Tamil Nadu National Law School

“The criminal quality of an act cannot be discovered by reference to any standard but one: is the act prohibited with penal consequences”

                                                                                                    –Lord Atkin[1]

In modern era, cyber-crime is one of the serious concern of governments of different countries, as these type of crime cause reputational damage, financial loss, employee morale, disruption of business process etc. In recent times, cyber-crime is emerging as a serious threat and worldwide all the governments, police, intellectuals units are getting involved in order to stop these crimes. Initiatives has been taken by many of the countries like Singapore,Australia, European Union, U.S.A and somewhat India. Indian Police, legislature, judiciary are taking initiatives in order to curb cyber-crime that are presently going on in our country. Many cyber cells have been established within different parts of the country in order to educate an individual or a personnel and also to find and punish the guilty of that crime. By this paper we want to catch your attention over the Meaning and types of cyber-crimes, Protection and prevention steps that are being taken.

Cyber-crime means any type of criminal activity in which a computer and a network is involved. As it is obvious that every crime need tool or target or place of crime similar is the situation of cyber-crime. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines cyber-crimes ascrimes committed with the exercise of new technology especially computers or recounting to computers, especially through internet.Crimes involving use of information or usage of electronic resources in persistence of crime are enclosed under the scope of cyber-crime. Cyber Crimes may be committed against persons, property, government, financial services, energy and natural resources and so on and so forth.

Basically cyber-crime may occur in any form, some of them are cyberextortion, cyberhacking, cyber pornography, spamming etc.

The term Cyber-crime combine the term “Crime” and “Cyber”. [2]It got this name from the word “Cybernetic”, which means to lead or to rule or to govern. The scope of cyber environment is so vast that it involves all forms of digital activities, no matter whether they are accompanied through networks and with or without borders. The term “Computer Crime” are the crimes committed using the Internet, telecommunication networks etc. according to Dr.debaratihalder and Dr.Jaishanker defines cyber-crimes as “Offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm, or laws, to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern tally communication such as internet and mobile phones[3]”.According to Forester and Morrison argued that, cyber crime is a criminal act in which a computer is used as a principal tool. In that matter, the theft of computer hardware device, would not qualify as computer crime. [4]

In order to stop the cybercrime that are prevailing in various parts of the world, innumerable organisations and government has come forward to make a combined effort in framing the universal standards of legislation and laws on a global basis. For e.g. US-China cooperative is one of that organisation as these two countries are the biggest source of cybercrime, Information and communication technology (ICT) also plays an important role in order to ensure the operability and applicability of these international standards. Moreover, various Countries has separately started to enact the laws for these cyber-crime for instance,In India IT Act, 2000, IT amendment Act, 2008 has been enacted in order to stop these digital activities, in U.S.A an executive order has been released in 2015 to compact cyber-crime, EU also adopted directives, procedural institutions which are there in the counsel Europe’s convention on cybercrime etc.

The first ever cyber-crime took place and was recorded in year 1820, it also took place with the help of computer only, as in order to commit a cyber crime computer is must. At that time abacus was used, which is known to be the earliest form of computer. The modern computers came into existence with the diagnostic engine of Charles Babbage.

In that year i.e. 1820, a person named Jacquard-Marie Jacquard, a textile manufacturer in France, produced the loom. This machine allowed a series of steps in making of special fabrics. Due to this the employees of Jacquard’s started to fear as their employment and livelihood were on stake. They started to interfere and interrupt to discourage Jacquard from the further use of new technology. This was first ever recorded computer crime or cybercrime in history. Basically cybercrime is an evil to society which increases as the technology of the computer develops. In 1970, a person named John Draper build a ‘Blue Box’ that, when used with the whistle and sounded into a phone receiver, allows a person to make free calls, from that time only there was a dynamic increment in cybercrime. In 1995 one of the major cyber crimes in recent past took place in which a fraudulent transfer of Citibank US $10 million were transferred out of bank and into a bank holder in Switzerland. It was penetrated by a Russian hacker group. He was then finally arrested and was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment. Around $ 400K was recovered out of that. In 1986, the system administrator at Lawrence Laboratory noted certain irregularities in accounting data, on investigating it was revealed that an unauthorised user was hacking into the computer network, later the culprits were arrested. In 1990, a project labelled Operation Sundevil, FBI agents confiscated 42 computers and over 20000 disks that were purportedly used by the criminals for illegal credit cards and telephone calls. Recently, in 2015 , a Hacking group released two sets of sensitive data, which includes the emails of a company Avid Life Media, the group used this data in order to threat publish user records if ALM  did not dismantle Ashley Madison (the head of hacking group). In India in January 2015, the PMO website was hacked by the hackers, Ravinder Yadav (Joint Commissioner of Delhi crime branch) made a statement saying that “the crime branch busted a racket which used to create fake government websites and one of them was named as Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Yojana. They have cheated a lot of people and their base was in Howrah, Kolkata”


“Ever since men began to modify their lives by using technology they have found

Themselves in a series of technological traps”.

Roger Revelle[5]

Traditionally, the term crime covers an extensive array of felonies. It is from his far-reaching range, the typology or classification of Cybercrime became challenging. A virtuous illustration of an international instrument which tried to categorize types of cyber crime is the Council of Europe Convention on Cyber Crime, European Treaty Series – No. 185, Budapest, and 23.XI. 2001[6] .There are various types of cybercrimes being recognised in different parts of the world. Out of which a few varities are discussed for the purpose of completion. Some of them are described below:

CYBER STALKING: Cyber stalking is done with the help of computer and internet in which the user by electronic means twig someone. This term is generally used unchangeably with the online harassment and abuse. Stalking comprises harassing or menacing behaviour of an individual or a personnel who engages in repeatedly and continuously following a person, mostly girls. In short, this is a type of E-crime where the prey is exposed to a fusillade of online texting and E-mails. Typically these culprits identify their victim and instead of distressing them in reality they prefer to follow them with the means of internet.

PHISHING: Phishing is one of the most frequently committed frauds committed on the internet, it is the way of trying the common (whether unknown or known) people into parting with their currency. In short, Phishing denotes to the receipt of unwanted messages or emails by consumers of financial associations, demanding them to enter their name, keyword or other private information to use their account for some erroneous reason. Phishing assault are more popular in our country due to internet infiltration and increasing online transactions. Presently, India has joined the weird list of the world’s top 15 countries running “Phishing” sites which mainly aims at stealing confidential as well as personal material such as passwords, credit or debit cards details. [7]

VISHING: Vishing is also one of the popular criminal practice of using social engineering and voice over IP (VoIP) in order to get the personal information of people, which may result in their financial loss and also lead to the victims reputational damage. They do this in by making a trap of financial reward or gain. Basically, the term got its origin from ‘Voice’ and ‘Phishing’[8]. The victim is generally unware that VoIP permits for caller  ID bluffing, cheaper and complex systems for the bill payer, which a normal layman will never appreciate. Vishing is almost similar to phishing i.e. it is used to steal credit card details or other private information.

CHILD PORNOGRAPHY:It is one of the new-fangled fastest increasing cyber crime, in which children are involved for pornographic purposes. The major problem here is child pornography and sexual abuse of children. While websites and newsgroups featuring child pornography may be of no subject of relevance, but it is one of the most serious concern in our country. In the majority cases the fabrication of this porn has concerned childabuse; in many cases, the users of such porn are fascinated in, and may well have indulged in child abuse. As for sexual satisfaction, many groups involved with the welfare of children have considerable case material of paedophiles using the net to make contact with, and arrange meetingwith, minors with a view to molestation. The government can still block such websites, but only if they concern”public order”

There are some other offences of cyber crime other than these, few of them are offences against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems, such as illegal access, illegal interception, system interference[9], Computer-related offences, such as computer-related forgery and computer-related Fraud[10], Content-related offences, such as offences related to child pornography[11]and Copyright-related offences, such as offences related to copyright infringements and related rights.[12]

[1]  Proprietary Articles Trade Association v. Attorney General of Canada, UKPC 11,, AC 310

[2] last accessed on 28/02/2016, 12:35

[3] Arnold, Wayne (22 August 2000). “Technology; Philippines to Drop Charges on E-Mail Virus“. The New York Times. Retrieved 3 march 2016.

[4]Herman T. Tavani, Ethics and Technology, Ethical Issues in an Age of Information and Communication

Technology, 2nd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2007, United States of America, p.203.

[5]Vakul Sharma, Information Technology-Law and Practice, 3rd Edition (New Delhi: Universal Law Publishing

Co.Pvt. Ltd., 2011), p.30.

[6]Sofaer, Toward an International Convention on Cyber in Seymour/Goodman, The Transnational Dimension of

Cyber Crime and Terror, page 225, available at:

[7]The Hindu Sunday Nov 26 2006

[8] last accessed on 20/02/2016 at 14:30

[9]See Article 2,3,4,5 and 6 of the Council of Europe Convention on Cyber Crime, European Treaty Series – No. 185,Budapest, and 23.XI. 2001

[10] Ibid, Article 7 and 8

[11] Ibid, Article 9

[12] As provided by Article 10 of the Council of Europe Convention on Cyber Crime, European Treaty Series – No.

185, Budapest, and 23.XI. 2001

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