Cyber Crime and Cyber Law

“Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts on one side and it stabs you in the back on the other. As the technology advances, risk too advances.”

In short and simple words every coin has two sides, and importantly both faces are opposite to each other. No doubt that our technological power increase but multiple side effects and hazards also escalate.

Someone has withdrew 1000 rupees from his PNB ATM card today, but balance deducted was 6000 buck, how is this possible? On enquiry, it was informed that he is a victim of a cyber crime.

What is Cyber Crime?

Cyber Crime is the outcome of our high dependence on the Cyberspace or so called the Internet world. Cyber Crimes are unlawful/illegal acts where the computer is used either as a tool or a target or both. First cyber crime reported was in the year 1820.The enormous growth in electronic commerce (e-commerce) and online share trading has led to a phenomenal spurt in incidents of cyber crime.

As per 2015 CBS  report the statistics are a look into hell it will make you to think again about security over internet, it has been determined to have 1.5 million Cyber Attacks per year, which means there are over 4000 cyber Attacks every day,170 attacks every hour or nearly three attacks every minute. IBM estimates there are an average of 16,856 times a year Businesses are getting targeted. That means 46 attacks a Business has to deal every day –or nearly two attacks in an hour.

The actual or major cause of Cyber Crime is WE ourselves. We are not that much careful as it is required and hackers do get the benefit from our careless behavior. We ignore to keep security software, we do not logout after every session, we are unaware about our security and privacy settings and keep on sharing our personal photos and other details in public network or open unknown E- mails click on the links given in those emails, which throws us to the web of hackers, viruses, Trojans etc.

How it is done?

General Threats

Normal or General Threats are those which are not been recognized proactively and they silently come to our organization and affect it. It can further categorized as below-

  • Unauthorized Access
  • Data Theft
  • Hacking

Unauthorized Access

In this case the attacker mostly an outsider, is linked to a different network and then the Organization’s network and then breached the security and can access the information stored in the Organization’s network.

It can have huge impact on Company’s reputation moreover the confidential information can be misused in many ways.

Data Theft

Here an attacker illegally tries to obtain or steal the user’s credentials to get access of the Organization’s information by authenticating himself as a privileged user to the Organization’s server. The credentials of a user can be stolen by internals users, friends and colleagues and by using various applications such as malware installed on the system. These applications are designed in such a way that they can gather the information from the machine where it is installed and then send back that information to the attacker.

Hacking

A hacking is technique by which someone usually called as Hacker seeks and exploits the weakness of a computer system. Hacker uses various techniques like Brute force attack, Password Cracking, Packet analyzing, Phishing etc. Hackers are technically sound and skilled programmers and they use these techniques for malicious reasons.

Social Engineering

As we know that 100% security is a myth, different security policies and vulnerability checks can provide protection only up to certain limits. The most critical part of security of any system is its users, they trust each other and share their personal data and often adopts a careless approach. An attacker takes the benefit of this tendency of users and collects valuable information.

Various communication Medias are used here like telephone, Emails, Internet.

Telephone is the cheapest way to manipulate people. Suppose somebody got a call from a person and that person pretends himself to be a banker and asks for customer’s secret information like ATM number, Pin code etc. to verify the details in the system. The customer who is not proactive and unaware of these things will share these details and can become a victim of Cyber Crime.

In Case Of Emails, suppose a social engineer broadcasted an invitation email to multiple users to participate in a contest to get prizes where users need to fill a form asking for their personal information including user name and password. The user who will not understand their trick may become victim of Cyber Crime.

Same trick can be used by creating a website where user needs to fill a form which asks about their personal information.

Network Level Threat

Above were the Normal level threats but there are Network level attacks too where attacker breaches the Network Security and gains access to the information of the Organization. It can be done in following ways-

IP Spoofing Attack-Here the attacker tries to breach the security by a fake IP address and gets access to the target machine it enables hacker to access the confidential information.

Denial Of Service Attack (DoS)- Here attacker send various Spam emails to the servers so that it stops responding after a certain time period even to the legitimate requests because of high bandwidth consumption , in this way this attack disables the system which provides the service.

Man in Middle Attack- Here the attacker tries to access the network between two legitimate machines and gains the information from first user and sends the tampered information to the receiver. In this way he gets control on the communication of both sides of legitimate users.

Precautions and Countermeasures-

We can adopt a proactive approach and can reduce the possibility of getting hacked.

  1. Being alert is the first step to be secure and keep an eye on all the undesired or uncommon activities happening around.
  2. A password policy should be there in the organization, our passwords should be difficult and hard to guess and it should be changed monthly or quarterly.
  3. Always use updated version of firewall, antivirus software and regular updates and patches should be present for OS.
  4. Be alert and aware while opening any link or attachment provided in the email, first make sure that the email is legitimate and coming from a trusted source.
  5. To prevent network security attack always use the authentication method based on key exchange between the machines it can reduce the chances of IP spoofing.
  6. Proper configuration should be done on your Router and switches to avoid acceptance of any packet or data coming from outside of the network also encryption sessions should be present on your routers and switches so that trusted outside source can securely communicate with your local host.
  7. Network traffic filter should be properly configured to all inbound and outbound traffics.
  8. All the software which is getting used should be downloaded from trusted websites.
  9. Proper security policy and security controls should be implemented within the organization by expert security professionals in order to counter security breaches.

Cyber Law

Information Technology Act, 2000 is the principal legislation dealing with rules and provisions relating to cyber world; it provides a step forward in the field law with the modernized changing dimension of the crime world. The primary purpose of the Act is to provide legal recognition to electronic commerce and to facilitate filing of electronic records with the Government. The IT Act also penalizes various Cyber Crimes and provides strict punishments (imprisonment terms up to 10 years and compensation up to Rupees 1 crore).

The IT Act has also brought many amendments in the other legislations to enhance their scope and applicability, likewise:-                 

  • The Indian Penal Code (as amended by the IT Act) penalizes several Cyber Crimes. These include forgery of electronic records, cyber frauds, destroying electronic evidence etc.
  • Digital Evidence is to be collected and proven in court as per the provisions of the Indian Evidence Act (as amended by the IT Act).
  • The provisions of the Bankers’ Book Evidence Act (as amended by the IT Act) are relevant.
  • Investigation and adjudication of Cyber Crimes is done in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the IT Act.

Concluding it could be said that computer crime is a multi-billion dollar problem. Law enforcement must seek ways to keep the drawbacks from overshadowing the great promise of the computer age. Cybercrime is a menace that has to be tackled effectively not only by the official but also by the users by cooperating with the law.

“Law provides Rules Rights and Remedies but Prevention and Protection still lies with YOU”

Authored by Parul Mehrotra

TCS Enterprise Security and Risk Management

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There is 1 Comment

Outstanding article.  And yes the 'User' is the weakest link.  Being on line is a 24 x 7 discipline, alas it's part of the continuum of modern living.  So all Users must Read, Learn, Implement and Review, in order to reduce their Risk.