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Cyber crime a new challenge for CBI

With bytes replacing bullets in the crime world, the Central Bureau of Investigation has started importing latest machineries to curb the growth of cyber crime.

Fortunately the seriousness of cyber crime in India is not like that in the west, but still the CBI does not want to be left out in their race against the law-breakers. Speaking to the media on Tuesday, CBI Director P C Sharma said his officers were being sent abroad for specialised training.

India's top police officials and IT experts recently held a meeting organised by the CBI in New Delhi to discuss ways of countering cyber crime.

Computer crimes mainly involve unauthorized access, data alteration and destruction and theft of intellectual property.

"Fortunately till now there are no bank frauds in India. But mostly hacking and e-mail frauds exist," he said.

Sharma also warned that cyber crimes could take on a far more serious dimension in the near future. Experts believe a new breed of criminals could damage telecommunication or rail links, disrupt power supplies and harm other important parts of India's infrastructure.

The CBI has been inviting senior police officials from across India, and IT and law experts to work out effective ways of fighting cyber offences, he said.

In fact, FBI experts visited India and trained policemen in dealing with such offences. The CBI has now set up its own special cyber crime unit, he added.

Parliament recently passed a law dealing with computer crimes, but experts say police and security agencies need to be more pro-active in dealing with the growing threat.

Unlike conventional communities though, there are no policemen patrolling the information super-highway, leaving it open to viruses and cyber stalking, trademark counterfeiting and cyber terrorism.

While the worldwide scenario on cyber crime looks bleak, the situation in India isn't any better. There are no concrete statistics but reports say that Indian corporate and government sites have been attacked or defaced more than 780 times between February 2000 and December 2002.

"Whatever expertise we have developed in fighting cyber crime, we are sharing them with the state police forces to fight crime better. Our resources are limited but still we want to make the optimum use of that," Sharma said.

He, however, regretted that the level of cooperation from the state in fighting cyber crime has not been completely satisfactory and warned that though ''cyber crime has not yet reached the sophisticated level, but it will one day.''

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