By M.Y. Siddiqui
States/Union Territories (UTs) have set up 169 cyber police stations across the country to combat ever rising cyber crimes in the country as per a latest report, Data on Police Organizations for 2020 by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D). Union Government in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) provides overarching logistic support to enable them to function effectively. In the scheme of the Constitution of India, Law and Order are State subjects. So the responsibility to maintain law and order including setting up of cyber police stations rests primarily with the States and UTs who set up need based cyber police stations. There are five types of cyber crimes, such as phishing, cyber extortion, data breach, identity theft and harassment.
Cyber crimes witnessed a steady spike since 2018. India reported 2,08, 456 cyber crimes in 2018, 3,94,499 cases in 2019, 11,58,208 cases in 2020, 14,02,809 in in 2021 and in the first two months of 2022 ending February 2022, 2,12,485 such cases, according to official data available. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB0, India recorded 136 cyber crimes everyday in 2020. In 2018, per day cyber crimes reported were 12, 347. In 2020, most common cyber crimes reported to the U.S. Internet Crime Complaint Center was fishing and similar fraud with 241, 342 complaints. In addition, 43, 330 cases of online identity theft were reported to the IC3 that year. According to the NCRB, State of Uttar Pradesh had the highest density of reported cyber crimes and Jamtara in the State of Jharkhand a top hotspot of cyber crimes, also known cyber crime capital of India.
Union Government, on its part, has taken various steps for strengthening infrastructure for combating cyber crimes that includes online financial frauds in the country. Central mechanism provides integrated well-coordinated system to the States/UTs to deal with cyber crimes all over the country. Central Government has taken measures for spreading awareness about cyber crimes. These include issuance of alerts, advisories, capacity building, training of law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, judicial officers, improving cyber forensic facilities etc. Besides, Government of India has established Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (14C) to provide a framework and ecosystem for law enforcing agencies to deal with cyber crimes in a comprehensive and coordinated way.
Union Government in the MHA has launched the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (www.cybercrime.gov.in) to enable the public to report all types of cyber crimes with special focus on cyber crimes against women and children. Cyber crimes reported on this portal are routed automatically to the respective States/UTs law enforcement agencies for further handling of the case as authorized by law.
In addition, the Citizen Financial Cyber Frauds Reporting and Management System module has been launched for immediate reporting of financial frauds and to stop siphoning off fund by the fraudsters. For this, a toll free Helpline Number ‘1930’ has been operationalized to get assistance in lodging complaints/report about online frauds.
Despite such a wide scale infrastructure to fight cyber crimes having been built over the years in view of fast changing Internet based Information Technology and the servers of all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) located abroad, tackling growing cyber crimes is stupendous and very challenging, posing a major hurdle in solving cyber crimes. Cyber crimes are borderless and fighting it outright is challenging and most of the times insurmountable. Government of India’s sustained efforts pressuring ISPs to relocate their servers in India have come a cropper thus hampering solutions of many cyber crimes. Our law enforcement agencies are required to equip themselves with the latest technology and skills to meet the ever growing fast paced developing IT based crimes! (IPA Service)