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Cybercrime went up by 500% during pandemic

  • IAS NEXT, Lucknow
  • 15, Nov 2021
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The 14th edition of c0c0n, the annual cyber security and hacking conference is being organised by the Kerala Police.

  • At the event, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat has stressed the need for a national framework to thwart cyber attacks that have been on the rise in the country. 

Need for cybersecurity:

With data gradually transcending into the open domain with numerous firms permitting employees to work from their homes amid the pandemic, sensitive information has become susceptible to security vulnerabilities. The rise of digital payments has also increased complex cyber crimes.

  • Also, Cyber crimes have gone up by almost 500% in India during the global pandemic.
  • The Information Technology Act, 2000, that dealt with cybersecurity and cyber crimes is not equipped to consider new-age changes in the mode of functioning of businesses and modus operandi of crimes in cyberspace.

Need of the hour:

  • While a National Cybersecurity Strategy is in the offing, the country is also in dire need of a data protection law, with cybercriminals increasingly weaponising data as a tool against national security in the post-pandemic era.
  • We need to consider the emerging threats from new technologies such as drones, ransomware, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and also the role of nation states in such cyber attacks.

Steps taken by the Government to spread awareness about cyber crimes:

  1. Online cybercrime reporting portal has been launched to enable complainants to report complaints pertaining to Child Pornography/Child Sexual Abuse Material, rape/gang rape imageries or sexually explicit content.
  2. A scheme for establishment of Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) has been established to handle issues related to cybercrime in the country in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.
  3. Establishment of National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) for protection of critical information infrastructure in the country.
  4. All organizations providing digital services have been mandated to report cyber security incidents to CERT-In expeditiously.
  5. Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre) has been launched for providing detection of malicious programmes and free tools to remove such programmes.
  6. Formulation of Crisis Management Plan for countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism.

What needs to be done ahead?

  • Regularly issue alerts/advisories,l.
  • Capacity building/training of law enforcement personnel/ prosecutors/ judicial officers.
  • Improving cyber forensics facilities etc.
  • Speed up investigation.

Finally, ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are State subjects as per the Constitution of India. States/UTs are primarily responsible for prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of crimes through their law enforcement machinery.