Importance of cyber law in current era

Author- Jaspreet Kaur

College- University of Five Year Law College, University of Rajasthan


Abstract

In the present sophisticated era of online processing, maximum things are online and hence prone to cyber crimes. Today, humans are Cyber beings, spending a considerable amount of time in the cyber world. As the cyber world expands, cybercrime grows with it and there are no geographical boundaries in the cyber world. The activities, we do on internet has far reaching consequences. Hence such activities cannot be satisfactorily handled by conventional laws. Cyber law is the law governing this cyber space and is important for anyone using the internet, be it organizations or individual. Therefore, the current manuscript provides the understanding of cyber crimes and their needs and importance of cyber law with the existing laws in our country.


Introduction

The cyber space has revolutionizes every aspect of human life over the last several decade, including how we communicate, bank, shop, obtain the news, and entertain ourselves. These technological advancements have also created myriad opportunities for offenders to commit various forms of crime. Online crimes are often referred to as cybercrime.

Merriam-Webster defines cybercrime as,“ criminal activity (such as fraud, theft, or distribution of child pornography) committed using a computer especially to illegally access, transmit, or manipulate data.

Cybercrimes can be classified into different categories, including cyber-trespass (e.g., unauthorized system access), cyber-deception (e.g., identity theft, online fraud, digital piracy), cyber-obscenity (e.g., child sexual exploitation materials), and cyber-violence (e.g., cyberstalking; cyber terrorism). It is nearly impossible to estimate the amount of cybercrime that occurs in most nations across the world because of a lack of standardized legal definitions for these offenses and few valid, reliable official statistics. So to control or keep watch on cyber space there are cyber law. Cyber law touches almost all aspects of transactions and activities and on involving the internet, World Wide Web and cyberspace.


Need and importance of cyber law

As per the National Research Council, United States of America, “Computers at Risk”, 1991, Publication quotes that the “the modern thief can steal much more with a computer than with gun. Tomorrow’s terrorist may be more efficient and to do more damages in a sophisticated way with a keyboard than with a bomb.”


A. Statistics of cyber crimes: National Crime Record Bureau

As per the statistical data provided by the National Crime Record Bureau the number of incidents of cyber crime was increasing drastically. So there is a greater need of the specific laws i.e. cyber laws dealing with such hi-tech crimes.

TABLE 1: STATISTICS OF CYBER CRIME SHOWING INCREASED TREND OF OFFENCES.


Cybercrime cases in India, registered under the Information Act, increased at a rate of 300 percent between 2011 and 2014. In 2015, there were 11,592 cases of cyber crime registered in India.

The survey[1] conducted among 10,063 adults in 10 countries in 2019:-

· Rs 131.2 million is the number of cyber crime victims in India in 2019, compared with 350 million worldwide.

· Rs 1.24 trillion is the amount lost in India in the past 12 months due to cyber crime.



India has seen a 37 per cent increase in cyberattacks in 2020. The report[2] showed that its products detected and blocked 52,820,874 local cyber threats in India between January to March this year.

The data also shows that India now ranks 27th globally in the number of web-threats detected in

2020 as compared to when it ranked on the 32nd position globally in 2019.

B. Cybercrime Statistics: the top methods of attack and related cybersecurity concerns

There are numerous types of cyber attacks that criminals are using to achieve their goals. These types of attacks range include everything from hacking and phishing to distributed denial of service, SIM-swapping, and ransomware attacks.

1. The number of organisation(85% organisations) reported[3] experiencing phishing and social engineering attacks increased 16% over year.

2. The most costly type of attack is malware which cost organisations an average of $2,613,952 in 2018.This is an increase of 11% over the previous year[4].

3. The survey[5] shows 600 organisations indicates that “ 76% of organisations say the biggest and most persistent security threat comes from ‘ the enemy from within’.

4. The 96% of survey respondents report email phishing scams as the top security risk.

As India digitises, cyber crime is becoming an increasingly tangible threat. A combination of digitalisation and relative digital immaturity is making India susceptible to a growing, and increasingly diverse barrage of cyber attacks and hence this scenario cyber laws cover much importance than any other conventional laws.


Importance of cyber laws

The world is becoming more and more digitally sophisticated and so are the crimes. Internet was initially developed as a research and information sharing tool and was in an unregulated manner. As the time passed by it became more transactional with e-business, e-commerce, e-governance and e-procurement etc. All legal issues related to internet crime are dealt with through cyber laws. As the number of internet users is on the rise, the need for cyber laws and their application has also gathered great momentum. The importance of cyber law in current era:-

1. Almost all transactions in shares and all companies extensively depend upon their computer networks and keep their valuable data in electronic form.

2. Government forms including income tax returns, company law forms etc. filled in electronic form.

3. Consumers are increasingly using credit or debit cards for shopping.

4. Most people are using email, phones and SMS messages for communication.

5. Even in a cases, important evidence is found in computers or cell phones e.g.: in cases of tax evasion, terrorist operations, counterfeit currency etc.

6. Cybercrime cases such as online banking frauds, online share trading fraud, source code theft, credit card fraud, tax evasion, virus attacks, cyber sabotage, phishing attacks, email hijacking, denial of service, hacking, pornography etc. Are becoming common.

7. Digital signatures and e-contracts are fast replacing conventional method of transacting business.


Security Continues to become part of Virtual Infrastructure. As more and more organizations add virtualization technologies into their environment , the importance and scope of Cyber law is increasing and will increase as we become more and more dependent on the internet and the related technologies, for our day to day functioning as individuals and as a society.


Cyber laws in India

In India cyber laws are contained in Information Technology Act, 2000 which came into force on October 17, 2000. The main purpose of this act is to provide legal recognition to electronic commerce and to facilitate filing of electronic records with the government.

In SMC Pneumatics (India) Pvt. Ltd. V. Jogesh Kwatra[6], the plaintiff filed a suit for permanent injunction restraining the defendant from sending derogatory emails to the plaintiff. The plaintiff contended that the emails sent by the defendant were distinctly obscene and defamatory in nature and the aim of sending the said emails was to malign the high reputation of the plaintiffs all over India and the world. The Delhi High Court restrained the defendant from sending such abusive emails and from publishing, transmitting or causing to be published any information in the actual world as also in cyberspace to the plaintiffs. This order of Delhi High Court assumes tremendous significance as this is for the first time that an Indian Court assumes jurisdiction in a matter concerning with cyber defamation.


A. Offences

The Act aims to improvise the field of electronic world and other related activities in India. A few cyber crimes or offences are hacking, Cyber Staking, Spamming, Phishing, Software Piracy, Corporate Espionage, Password Sniffers, Web Jacking.


B. Punishments

The Act prescribes very high punishments for such crimes. The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 (Act 10 of 2009), has further enhanced the punishments and fines.

Sections 65-74 of the Act specifically deal with certain offences, which can also be called Cyber Crimes. A few offences along with its punishments are stated below:-

· Tampering with any computer source code is punishable with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both.

· Section 66- Hacking with computer system is to be punished with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to five lakh rupees, or with both.

· Section 66A- Sending offensive or false information through a communicative device is punishable with imprisonment up to three years and with fine.


  • Section 66F- Punishment for Cyber terrorism may extend to imprisonment for life.

State of Tamil Nadu Vs Suhas Katia[7]. The case was related to posting of obscene, defamatory and annoying message about a divorcee woman in the yahoo message group. E-Mails were also forwarded to the victim for information by the accused through a false e-mail account opened by him in the name of the victim. After the crime was conclusively proved, the accused was found guilty of offences under Section 469, Section 509 IPC and Section 67 of Information Technology (punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form. For the offence under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, he has to undergo 2 years of rigorous imprisonment and pay a fine of Rs. 4000/-. All the sentences will run concurrently.


Conclusion

This manuscript will help to the community to secure all the online information and understand the importance of cyber laws. Cyber laws will help them to find out the sufficient means to overcome the situation. Cyber law under the IT Act, 2000 was put forth to protect the bona fide users in the cyber world. The Act offers the much-needed legal framework so that information is not denied legal effect, validity or enforceability, solely on the ground that it is in the form of electronic records. The punishments and penalties mentioned are to curb such crimes. Cyber laws are implemented as an essential legislation in today’s global world for achieving global peace, harmony, development of science and technology and economic growth. Hence, it should be the tenacious efforts of rulers and law makers to ensure that technology grows in a healthy manner and is used for legal and ethical business growth and not for committing crimes.



References

m.economictimes.com

https://ciso.economictimes.indiatimes.com

https://www.consuktancy.in

Bromium and McGuire Report

https://www.thesslstore.com

www.legalserviceIndia.com

kanoon.nearlaw.com

Journal of crime and Justice>volume 42,2019- Issue 5: New Directions in Cybercrime Research.


[1] NortonLifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report, which was conducted online by The Harris Poll for NortonLifeLock [2] Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) report. [3] Florida Accenture Security’s 2019 “ The cost of cybercrime” Annual report. [4] Accenture Security’s 2019 Report. [5] KnowBe4’s 2019 Security Threats and Trends global survey [6] Suit no. 1279/2001 Delhi HC. [7] CC No. 4680 of 2004

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