Defining Cyber Crime
At the onset,
let us satisfactorily define "cyber crime" and differentiate
it from "conventional Crime". 166 Computer crime can involve
criminal activities that are traditional in nature, such as
theft, fraud, forgery, defamation and mischief, all of which
are subject to the Indian Penal Code. The abuse of computers
has also given birth to a gamut of new age crimes that are
addressed by the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Defining cyber crimes, as "acts that are punishable by the
Information Technology Act" would be unsuitable as the
Indian Penal Code also covers many cyber crimes, such as
email spoofing and cyber defamation, sending threatening
emails etc. A simple yet sturdy definition of cyber crime
would be "unlawful acts wherein the computer is either a
tool or a target or both".
Let us examine the acts wherein the computer is a tool for
an unlawful act. This kind of activity usually involves a
modification of a conventional crime by using computers.
Some examples are:
include cheating, credit card frauds, money laundering etc.
To cite a recent case, a website offered to sell Alphonso
mangoes at a throwaway price. Distrusting such a
transaction, very few people responded to or supplied the
website with their credit card numbers. These people were
actually sent the Alphonso mangoes. The word about this
website now spread like wildfire. Thousands of people from
all over the country responded and ordered mangoes by
providing their credit card numbers. The owners of what was
later proven to be a bogus website then fled taking the
numerous credit card numbers and proceeded to spend huge
amounts of money much to the chagrin of the card owners.
include pornographic websites; pornographic magazines
produced using computers (to publish and print the material)
and the Internet (to download and transmit pornographic
pictures, photos, writings etc). Recent Indian incidents
revolving around cyber pornography include the Air Force
Balbharati School case. A student of the Air Force
Balbharati School, Delhi, was teased by all his classmates
for having a pockmarked face. Tired of the cruel jokes, he
decided to get back at his tormentors. He scanned
photographs of his classmates and teachers, morphed them
with nude photographs and put them up on a website that he
uploaded on to a free web hosting service. It was only after
the father of one of the class girls featured on the website
objected and lodged a complaint with the police that any
action was taken.
In another incident, in Mumbai a Swiss couple would gather
slum children and then would force them to appear for
obscene photographs. They would then upload these
photographs to websites specially designed for paedophiles.
The Mumbai police arrested the couple for pornography.
Sale of illegal articles
include sale of narcotics, weapons and wildlife etc., by
posting information on websites, auction websites, and
bulletin boards or 167 simply by using email communication.
E.g. many of the auction sites even in India are believed to
be selling cocaine in the name of 'honey'.
millions of websites; all hosted on servers abroad, that
offer online gambling. In fact, it is believed that many of
these websites are actually fronts for money laundering.
Intellectual Property crimes
software piracy, copyright infringement, trademarks
violations, theft of computer source code etc.
A spoofed email
is one that appears to originate from one source but
actually has been sent from another source. E.g. Pooja has
an e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. Her enemy, Sameer
spoofs her e-mail and sends obscene messages to all her
acquaintances. Since the e-mails appear to have originated
from Pooja, her friends could take offence and relationships
could be spoiled for life.
Email spoofing can also cause monetary damage. In an
American case, a teenager made millions of dollars by
spreading false information about certain companies whose
shares he had short sold. This misinformation was spread by
sending spoofed emails, purportedly from news agencies like
Reuters, to share brokers and investors who were informed
that the companies were doing very badly. Even after the
truth came out the values of the shares did not go back to
the earlier levels and thousands of investors lost a lot of
currency notes, postage and revenue stamps, mark sheets etc
can be forged using sophisticated computers, printers and
scanners. Outside many colleges across India, one finds
touts soliciting the sale of fake mark sheets or even
certificates. These are made using computers, and high
quality scanners and printers. In fact, this has becoming a
booming business involving thousands of Rupees being given
to student gangs in exchange for these bogus but authentic
This occurs when
defamation takes place with the help of computers and / or
the Internet. E.g. someone publishes defamatory matter about
someone on a website or sends e-mails containing defamatory
information to all of that person's friends.
In a recent occurrence, Surekha (names of people have been
changed), a young girl was about to be married to Suraj. She
was really pleased because despite it being an arranged
marriage, she had liked the boy. He had seemed to be
open-minded and pleasant. Then, one day when she met Suraj,
he looked worried and even a little upset. He was not really
interested in talking to her. When asked he told her that,
members of his family had been receiving e-mails that
contained malicious things about Surekha's character. Some
of them spoke of affairs, which she had had in the past. He
told her 168 that, his parents were justifiably very upset
and were also considering breaking off the engagement.
Fortunately, Suraj was able to prevail upon his parents and
the other elders of his house to approach the police instead
of blindly believing what was contained in the mails.
During investigation, it was revealed that the person
sending those e-mails was none other than Surekha's
stepfather. He had sent these e-mails so as to break up the
marriage. The girl's marriage would have caused him to lose
control of her property of which he was the guardian till
she got married.
Another famous case of cyber defamation occurred in America.
All friends and relatives of a lady were beset with obscene
e-mail messages appearing to originate from her account.
These mails were giving the lady in question a bad name
among her friends. The lady was an activist against
pornography. In reality, a group of people displeased with
her views and angry with her for opposing them had decided
to get back at her by using such underhanded methods. In
addition to sending spoofed obscene e-mails they also put up
websites about her, that basically maligned her character
and sent e-mails to her family and friends containing matter
dictionary defines stalking as "pursuing stealthily". Cyber
stalking involves following a person's movements across the
Internet by posting messages (sometimes threatening) on the
bulletin boards frequented by the victim, entering the
chat-rooms frequented by the victim, constantly bombarding
the victim with emails etc.
Sangli Cyber Cell-
Office of the
Superintendent of Police, Sangli
Sangli Road Vishrambag, Sangli
e-mail ID - email@example.com
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