INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000

Cyber Crime is not defined officially in IT Act or in any other legislation. In fact, it cannot be too. Offence or crime has been dealt with elaborately listing various acts and the punishments for each, under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and related legislations. Hence, the concept of cyber-crime is just a “combination of crime and computer”.

Cybercrime in a narrow sense (computer crime): Any illegal behavior directed by means of electronic operations that targets the security of computer systems and the data processed by them. Cybercrime in a broader sense (computer-related crime): Any illegal behavior committed by means of, or in relation to, a computer system or network, including such crimes as illegal possession and offering or distributing information by means of a computer system or network.

The Act essentially deals with the following issues:

  • Legal Recognition of Electronic Documents
  • Legal Recognition of Digital Signatures
  • Offenses and Contraventions
  • Justice Dispensation Systems for cyber-crimes.

COMMON CYBER-CRIME SCENARIOS AND APPLICABILITY OF LEGAL SECTIONS-

  • Harassment via fake public profile on social networking site
    A fake profile of a person is created on a social networking site with the correct address, residential information or contact details but he/she is labeled as ‘prostitute’ or a person of ‘loose character’. This leads to harassment of the victim. Provisions Applicable: – Sections 66A, 67 of IT Act and Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • Online Hate Community
    Online hate community is created inciting a religious group to act or pass objectionable remarks against a country, national figures etc. Provisions Applicable: Section 66A of IT Act and 153A & 153B of the Indian Penal Code.
  • Email Account hacking
    if victim’s email account is hacked and obscene emails are sent to people in victim’s address book. Provisions Applicable: – Sections 43, 66, 66A, 66C, 67, 67A and 67B of IT Act.
  • Credit Card Fraud
    Unsuspecting victims would use infected computers to make online transactions. Provisions Applicable: – Sections 43, 66, 66C, 66D of IT Act and section 420 of the IPC.
  • Web Defacement
    The homepage of a website is replaced with a pornographic or defamatory page. Government sites generally face the wrath of hackers on symbolic days. Provisions Applicable:- Sections 43 and 66 of IT Act and Sections 66F, 67 and 70 of IT Act also apply in some cases.
  • Introducing Viruses, Worms, Backdoors, Rootkits, Trojans, Bugs
    all of the above are some sort of malicious programs which are used to destroy or gain access to some electronic information. Provisions Applicable:- Sections 43, 66, 66A of IT Act and Section 426 of Indian Penal Code.
  • Cyber Terrorism
    many terrorists use virtual (GDrive, FTP sites) and physical storage media (USB’s, hard drives) for hiding information and records of their illicit business. Provisions Applicable: Conventional terrorism laws may apply along with Section 69 of IT Act.
  • Online sale of illegal Articles
    where sale of narcotics, drugs weapons and wildlife is facilitated by the Internet Provisions Applicable: – Generally conventional laws apply in these cases.
  • Cyber Pornography
    Among the largest businesses on Internet. Pornography may not be illegal in many countries, but child pornography is. Provisions Applicable:- Sections 67, 67A and 67B of the IT Act.
  • Phishing and Email Scams
    Phishing involves fraudulently acquiring sensitive information through masquerading a site as a trusted entity. (E.g. Passwords, credit card information) Provisions Applicable:- Section 66, 66A and 66D of IT Act and Section 420 of IPC
  • Theft of Confidential Information
    many business organizations store their confidential information in computer systems. This information is targeted by rivals, criminals and disgruntled employees. Provisions Applicable:- Sections 43, 66, 66B of IT Act and Section 426 of Indian Penal Code.
  • Source Code Theft
    A Source code generally is the most coveted and important “crown jewel” asset of a company. Provisions applicable: – Sections 43, 66, 66B of IT Act and Section 63 of Copyright Act.
  • Tax Evasion and Money Laundering
    Money launderers and people doing illegal business activities hide their information in virtual as well as physical activities. Provisions Applicable: Income Tax Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act. IT Act may apply case-wise.
  • Online Share Trading Fraud
    It has become mandatory for investors to have their accounts linked with their online banking accounts which are generally accessed unauthorized, thereby leading to share trading frauds. Provisions Applicable: Sections 43, 66, 66C, 66D of IT Act and Section 420 of IPC.

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