Date: 20 December, 2020
by Sampada Kapoor
We live in a world where technology has overpowered every aspect of our lives. Internet has become such an important tool that even in a pandemic situation, people have been able to carry on their businesses through it. Our physical world requirements have intertwined with the cyber world. Although this cyber-physical world has given us a lot of comforts it has at the same time exposing us to many threats. As the technology is advancing so are these crimes and the criminals. They not only steal a common man’s identity but have also started exploiting the government data centres. It is believed that the next war on this planet will not be fought by weapons but by technology.
Cybercrime has been defined ‘to mean any unlawful act where a computer or communication device or computer network is used to commit or facilitate the commission of a crime’. These crimes can be traditional crimes like theft, stalking, bullying, harassment committed in cyberspace or they can be entirely new like Denial of Service (DoS) Attack, Phishing, Cyber Espionage or warfare. It is believed that about 75% of cybercrimes are targeted at women, adolescents and children. Besides the IT Act, The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) provides for criminal liability for these offences and The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 allows electronic evidence to be admissible in the Court of law. Every state in India has a cyber crime Investigating Cell where such matters can be reported. The government has also created a national portal which provides information about cybersecurity and reports of such crimes.
SECURITY AND AWARENESS
Under the IT Act, ‘cybersecurity’ means protecting information, equipment, devices, computers, computer resources, communication devices and information stored therein from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification or destruction. Therefore, every device you use to store information needs protection.
So the first step to your cyber safety is awareness. Being aware that the cyberspace you work on can be exposed to a number of risks makes you cautious. It makes you keep track of your activities and tread carefully on the internet.
Next step will be to monitor your accounts. This will help you detect any irregular activity on your account and stop the intruder at the entry-level. Most of the time we link our google accounts to several websites without paying attention to what content we are giving access to. It is advised to check whether the website is secured or not. This is indicated in the website’s link by “https://”. If the “s” at the end of “http” is missing, then the site you are logging into is not secure and is prone to more risks. It is also advised to not use your work account to link your shopping carts and non-work-related websites. By creating two separate accounts you can divert traffic as well as avoid the hacker.
You should never share your passwords or bank details, enable privacy settings, install an antivirus and firewall protection, and never add strangers even on social media, these are the basics of cyber safety. The main point here to notice is to keep updating your protection and systems. This keeps you in touch with the latest bug fixes and provides better security.
It is rightly said, “It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are.” Cybersecurity is the need of the hour and India needs a powerful and more robust internet infrastructure and regardless to say new legislation dealing specifically in cybersecurity.
Tiwari, Garima-Understanding Cyber Laws and Cyber Crime, Lexis Nexis, 2015