With the advancement in technology, the lives of people have transformed and have become more reliant on the world of cyberspace, which has led to the rise in virtual crimes called cybercrime. Cybercrime is a crime that has become common in the virtual world, and countless people in cyberspace are being targeted and attacked by cybercriminals. Cybercrime is not only limited to cyber stalking, pornography, and promoting prohibited content, but crimes including phishing scams, website spoofing, ransomware attacks, cloud attacks, and IoT hacking have the potential to destruct the cyber security in India. Today, all the transactions are executed online which accounts for storing data.
These unlawful attacks are not only a threat to the nation but the bulk of data is stolen and used for illegal purposes that can further lead to cyber terrorism. As the world is heading towards technological advancement, government and law enforcement authorities have to keep themselves updated with the latest changes involving technical matters to examine the actual problem and take stringent initiatives and measures accordingly to trace the culprit and prevent cyber attacks.
The National Cyber Security Policy 2013 established by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), was the first step taken toward cyber security that aims at preventing cyber-attacks, reduce vulnerabilities, build a strong infrastructure in safeguarding the data and information in cyberspace, create technology, institutional structure, processes, and cooperation to minimize the amount of damage caused by cyber-attacks. The Indian Cyber Centre Coordination Centre (I4C) scheme is an initiative taken by the government, which was approved in October 2018 to fight against cybercrimes. It aims to identify the cyber problems and takes up Research & Development activities for developing new and advanced technology and forensic tools in collaboration with research institutes in India and abroad, and provides a framework to the law enforcement agencies to handle and deal with cybercrime situations in a comprehensive manner. On August 30, 2019, Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (www.cybercrime.gov.in) was launched by the government for the citizen to report cybercrime incidents, mainly focusing on cybercrimes against women and children, and all the law enforcement agencies in respective states and union territories have to access the complaints related to cybercrime. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) of the Government of India is yet another initiative taken to respond to cyber security threats in India and promote effective security practices throughout India. It has helped to spread awareness by teaching cyber security awareness regarding the dangers of phishing attacks. Recently (CERT-in) has issued new directions under the Information Technology At, 2000 that direct the service providers, data centres, intermediaries, and the body corporate to report cyber attacks within six hours of witnessing the attacks to the authorities who are dealing with cybercrimes. To spread awareness on cybercrime prevention, The Ministry of Home Affairs has launched the @Cyber Twitter handle and tweeted 1066 safety tips concerning cyber incidents with the help of images and short videos, and garnered over 3.64 followers. To create a robust cyber security structure in India, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has launched the Cyber Surakshit Bharat scheme, which aligns with the vision for a ‘Digital India’. At the 12th India Security Summit, the government launched Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre), which is a part of Digital India launched by the Government of India, which aims to create secure cyberspace in India by detecting botnet infections and enabling the users to clean and secure their systems to prevent further infections. In addition, a National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) has been set up in the Cyber Swachhta Kendra focused on assisting situational awareness concerning the arising cyber threats. Under the section 70A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, the government has created an organisation named National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) through a gazette notification which is responsible for taking measures to protect the nation’s Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) and deliver advice aiming to reduce the cyber terrorism, cyber warfare and other cyber security threats.
In 2020, the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) headed by Lt. General Rajesh Pant, conceptualised the National Cyber Security Strategy focusing on the detailed coverage of 21 areas that will ensure a safe, secured, and resilient cyberspace in India. However, due to the surge in cyber attacks, the Centre is in the process of implementing the proposed strategy to cater for a period of (2020-2025).
On analysing the situation and the initiative taken by the Government of India, we can conclude that over the years the government has taken a feasible approach to curb cybercrime cases and protecting the citizen, and to aware them of their rights in case of witnessing a cyber attack, but it is a fact that several loopholes still exist in the legal framework as we can see in the Information Technology Act, that needs to addressed by the government. Moreover, lengthy procedures are being followed from reporting the cybercrime to the final execution of the case, and this entire situation has made India the favourite hub for cybercriminals, and this is the reason for the surge in the number of cyber crimes cases over the past years. To tackle the situation effectively proper guidelines must be constructed and more reformed investigating procedures must be implemented for law enforcement agencies; so that they are not stuck in old ways of investigation and ensure that the accused is successfully prosecuted in the cybercrime case. Proper and special training pertaining to computer networks and technology has to be provided to law enforcement personnel, judicial officers, and prosecution for the speedy delivery of justice to cybercrime victims. Due to the increasing number of cyber attacks, the government must appoint audit personnel for auditing the government’s online applications and websites for cyber security checks. The government must appoint a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), a senior-level executive responsible for implementing cyber security programs, and reviewing and updating the cyber security policy. The government has to work diligently by implementing stringent measures and strict penalties to keep check cybercrimes. Lastly, any new provisions should be framed and constructed in such a way to cater to the needs of cyber security in India.
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This article is written by Arpita Sengupta of Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri Law College.