What is Cyber Crime?
Cyber crime encompasses any criminal act dealing with computers & networks (called hacking). Additionally, Cyber crime also includes traditional crimes conducted through the internet. For example; hate crime, telemarketing & internet fraud, identity theft, and credit card account thefts are considered to be cyber crimes when the illegal activities are committed though the use of computer & the Internet.
Computer crime is a general term that embraces such crimes as phishing, credit card frauds, bank robbery, illegal downloading, industrial espionage, child pornography, kidnapping children via chat rooms, scams, cyber terrorism, creation and/or distribution of viruses, Spam and so on. All such crimes are computer related and facilitated crimes.
Categories of Cyber Crime
Cyber crimes are broadly categorized into three categories, namely crime against
- Society at large
Each category can use a variety of methods and the methods used vary from one criminal to another.
- Cyber Crimes against Individual:
- Harassment via E-Mails: It is very common type of harassment through sending letters, attachments of files & folders i.e. via e-mails. At present harassment is common as usage of social sites i.e. Facebook, Twitter etc. increasing day by day.
- Cyber-Stalking: It means expressed or implied a physical threat that creates fear through the use to computer technology such as internet, e-mail, phones, text messages, webcam, websites or videos.
- Dissemination of Obscene Material: It includes Indecent exposure/ Pornography (basically child pornography), hosting of web site containing these prohibited materials. These obscene matters may cause harm to the mind of the adolescent and tend to deprave or corrupt their mind.
- Defamation: It is an act of imputing any person with intent to lower down the dignity of the person by hacking his mail account and sending some mails with using vulgar language to unknown persons mail account.
- Hacking: It means unauthorized control/access over computer system and act of hacking completely destroys the whole data as well as computer programmes. Hackers usually hacks telecommunication and mobile network.
- Cracking: It is amongst the gravest cyber crimes known till date. It is a dreadful feeling to know that a stranger has broken into your computer systems without your knowledge and consent and has tampered with precious confidential data and information.
- E-Mail Spoofing: A spoofed e-mail may be said to be one, which misrepresents its origin. It shows its origin to be different from which actually it originates.
- SMS Spoofing: Spoofing is a blocking through spam which means the unwanted uninvited messages. Here an offender steals identity of another in the form of mobile phone number and sending SMS via internet and receiver gets the SMS from the mobile phone number of the victim. It is very serious cyber crime against any individual.
- Carding: It means false ATM cards i.e. Debit and Credit cards used by criminals for their monetary benefits through withdrawing money from the victim’s bank account mala-fidely. There is always unauthorized use of ATM cards in this type of cyber crimes.
- Cheating & Fraud: It means the person who is doing the act of cyber crime i.e. stealing password and data storage has done it with having guilty mind which leads to fraud and cheating.
- Child Pornography: It involves the use of computer networks to create, distribute, or access materials that sexually exploit underage children.
- Assault by Threat: refers to threatening a person with fear for their lives or lives of their families through the use of a computer network i.e. E-mail, videos or phones.
- Crimes Against Property:
- Intellectual Property Crimes: Intellectual property consists of a bundle of rights. Any unlawful act by which the owner is deprived completely or partially of his rights is an offence. The common form of IPR violation may be said to be software piracy, infringement of copyright, trademark, patents, designs and service mark violation, theft of computer source code, etc.
- Cyber Squatting: It means where two persons claim for the same Domain Name either by claiming that they had registered the name first on by right of using it before the other or using something similar to that previously. For example two similar names i.e. www.yahoo.com and www.yaahoo.com.
- Cyber Vandalism: Vandalism means deliberately destroying or damaging property of another. Thus cyber vandalism means destroying or damaging the data when a network service is stopped or disrupted. It may include within its purview any kind of physical harm done to the computer of any person. These acts may take the form of the theft of a computer, some part of a computer or a peripheral attached to the computer.
- Hacking Computer System: Hacktivism attacks those included Famous Twitter, blogging platform by unauthorized access/control over the computer. Due to the hacking activity there will be loss of data as well as computer. Also research especially indicates that those attacks were not mainly intended for financial gain too and to diminish the reputation of particular person or company.
- Transmitting Virus: Viruses are programs that attach themselves to a computer or a file and then circulate themselves to other files and to other computers on a network. They usually affect the data on a computer, either by altering or deleting it. Worm attacks plays major role in affecting the computerize system of the individuals.
- Cyber Trespass: It means to access someone’s computer without the right authorization of the owner and does not disturb, alter, misuse, or damage data or system by using wireless internet connection.
- Internet Time Thefts: Basically, Internet time theft comes under hacking. It is the use by an unauthorised person, of the Internet hours paid for by another person. The person who gets access to someone else’s ISP user ID and password, either by hacking or by gaining access to it by illegal means, uses it to access the Internet without the other person’s knowledge. You can identify time theft if your Internet time has to be recharged often, despite infrequent usage.
- Cyber crimes Against Government:
- Cyber Terrorism: Cyber terrorism is a major burning issue in the domestic as well as global concern. The common form of these terrorist attacks on the Internet is by distributed denial of service attacks, hate websites and hate e-mails, attacks on sensitive computer networks etc. Cyber terrorism activities endanger the sovereignty and integrity of the nation.
- Cyber Warfare: It refers to politically motivated hacking to conduct sabotage and espionage. It is a form of information warfare sometimes seen as analogous to conventional warfare although this analogy is controversial for both its accuracy and its political motivation.
- Distribution of pirated software: It means distributing pirated software from one computer to another intending to destroy the data and official records of the government.
- Possession of Unauthorized Information: It is very easy to access any information by the terrorists with the aid of internet and to possess that information for political, religious, social, ideological objectives.
- Cybercrimes Against Society at large:
- Cyber Trafficking: It may be trafficking in drugs, human beings, arms weapons etc. which affects large number of persons. Trafficking in the cyberspace is also a gravest crime.
- Online Gambling: Online fraud and cheating is one of the most lucrative businesses that are growing today in the cyber space. There are many cases that have come to light are those pertaining to credit card crimes, contractual crimes, offering jobs, etc.
- Financial Crimes: This type of offence is common as there is rapid growth in the users of networking sites and phone networking where culprit will try to attack by sending bogus mails or messages through internet. Ex: Using credit cards by obtaining password illegally.
- Forgery: It means to deceive large number of persons by sending threatening mails as online business transactions are becoming the habitual need of today’s life style.
Capacity of human mind is unfathomable. It is not possible to eliminate cyber crime from the cyber space. It is quite possible to check them. History is the witness that no legislation has succeeded in totally eliminating crime from the globe. The only possible step is to make people aware of their rights and duties (to report crime as a collective duty towards the society) and further making the application of the laws more stringent to check crime. Undoubtedly the Act is a historical step in the cyber world. Further I all together do not deny that there is a need to bring changes in the Information Technology Act to make it more effective to combat cyber crime. I would conclude with a word of caution for the pro-legislation school that it should be kept in mind that the provisions of the cyber law are not made so stringent that it may retard the growth of the industry and prove to be counter-productive.