Computer Crime Research Center


Cybercrime threatens national security in India

Date: September 17, 2007
By: Fahim Ahmedi

The issue of escalating cyber crime has once again caught our attention with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil expressing concern over its disastrous effects at the seventh International Cyber Crime Conference held last Wednesday. Patil said that the rising level of cyber crime is an indication of an enormous threat to national security. He further urged law makers and law enforcement agencies to give immediate attention to the matter.

Cyber crime is a rampant evil with its roots firmly planted on the growing dependence on computers in the contemporary scenario. In today’s age when everything from, small gadgets to nuclear plants is being operated through computers, cyber crime has assumed threatening ramifications.

Various kinds of cyber crimes are prevailing in the world today. Hacking, bombing, diddling, spoofing, botnet attacks, salami attacks and viruses are capable of breaching the security in the information systems of vital installations. There have been several instances in the recent past to support the prevalence of these attacks on a large scale. In fact, the first recoded cyber crime dates back to 1820. Joseph-Marie Jacquard, a textile manufacturer in France produced the loom which involved a series of steps. This caused fear among Jacquard’s employees that their traditional employment and livelihood were being threatened. They committed acts of sabotage to discourage Jacquard from further use of the new technology.

Abacus, the earliest form of a computer has been around since 3500BC in India, Japan and China. Off-late anti-Gandhi forums or hate India postings along with war for people who hate India campaigns on Google’s social networking site, Orkut, have been perplexing authorities. Fan clubs of underworld dons like Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Shakeel and other wanted underworld dons are also doing the rounds on Orkut. One such community even asks people if they would like to join the D company.

Arun Kumar, an IT professional from Haryana says, “I feel it is a crime in itself to be part of such ridiculous fan clubs. This is a means to promote crime. If a criminal ends up having a number of fans all across the globe, it is crazy. This throws light on the mindset of the people. As for the anti-India, anti-Pakistan campaigns, we must realize that in the long run these antagonistic feelings can pose an irreversible threat to our very own existence and people behind these acts of notoriety should be penalized as they are somewhere fuelling a sense of hostility in the already estranged relations between the two countries.”

Ajit Mathur, a Computer engineer from Delhi says, “For hackers, it is no longer a matter of disrepute. Now the game is all about money. The players can now be identified, their roles are identified and they can enjoy the returns on their investments. Welcome to the world of new age technology where cybercrime is regarded as a profession. A cyber criminal is no longer the nerd who loves to stay indoors but is now an organized gangster closely associated with drug –trafficking, extortion and money laundering.”

People with comparatively low technical skills can also steal thousands of pounds a day in the world of cyberspace. It is like giving a loaded gun in the hands of a small child. Cybercrime flaunts a large international market for skills, tools and finished products. It even has its own currency. Unlike conventional communities, there are no policemen patrolling the cyber freeways that are open to all kinds of grime including Trojans, Love bugs, cyber stalking and cyber terrorism.

Prateek Bhargava, cyber law expert says, “There is usually a target audience and a means for achieving success when a cyber crime is initiated. The cyber crime scenario in the nation looks grim. It could pose a threat to worldwide security someday. We might be heading towards the destruction of the entire human race if cyber crime is not controlled. It is like making a chemical formula of a lethal weapon public.”

Patil further says, “There is huge potential for damage to national security through cyber attacks. The internet is a means for money laundering and funding terrorist attacks in an organized manner. Online child pornography, trafficking in contrabands and e-commerce frauds are on the rise.”

In the words of Pavan Duggal, Supreme Court Lawyer, “Cyber crime is omnipresent and although cyber crime cells have been set up in major cities, most cases remain unreported due to lack of awareness.”

Duggal further opines,” Information Technology Act of 2000 is completely outdated and not fit to deal with cyber crimes.”

Apurva Tiwari, Lawyer from Lucknow says, “Each one of us needs to take security seriously, only then can we fight this problem as a nation. There needs to be a tightening of international digital legislation and cross-border law enforcement co-ordination.”

An amendment proposed by the government in the Information technology Act of 2000 last December received widespread criticism on account of its many shortcomings. On the one hand when our nation is experiencing an unprecedented boom in technology there are several grey areas in the system. It cannot discard the fact that the recent years have seen a massive increase in cyber crime.

Cyber crime is an issue that needs to be addressed without further delay. If technology takes over an entire race the consequences can be alarming. The entire world is living in the shadow of the constant threat imposed by organized cyber crime. It is high time we do something about it— before it is too late.
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