In today's era, many are trapped under the vicious circle of cyber-crime where cybercriminals are targeting the network for their purpose of benefit. The whole cybercrime activity involves a computer, network or networked device used to harm someone. While most of such activities are carried out to make some monetary profit, some cybercrimes are executed to damage or disable the devices, posing as a threat to the primary user.
According to a report, India has witnessed a significant spike in the number of cases related to cyber-crime in recent years. In 2019, India reported 3,94,499 instances, increasing further to nearly 11 lakhs in 2020. The 2021 year witnessed around 14 lakh cases, and in the first two months of 2022, over 2 lakh cases have already been registered.
The numbers above signify that year on year, there is a sharp rise in cybercrime activities in India, which is a threat to society. Broadly, the cyber world is the most significant invention of India in the technological world, but it also comes with specific challenges, which we call 'Cybercrime.' The intentional attack through a networked device might hamper someone's data or identity, which remains another darker side of the cyber world.
In an effort to inform and educate the people to prevent them from being the target of cybercriminal activities, Pathik Muni and Kamaljeet Kaur Muni penned down their research-based thoughts in a book titled, 'The Good The Bad The Cyber Buddha' which is not made only for techies as it explains the problems of cybercrime world in the story-based format, easy enough to be understood by people from a non-tech background.
Being an easy read for everyone, the book aims to explain the problems through relatable characters who demonstrate the concepts and mitigation through their fun and lively conversations. In an exclusive conversation with The Logical Indian, the author of the book, Pathik Muni, has shared the insightful experiences that he learned being a cyber expert.
Some Serious Forms Of Cybercrime
As a lawyer, I would always term a crime as anti-social, which is serious for society. Cybercrime comes with an added layer of complexity of technology that is developed to simplify our lives. We should not forget that we are not dealing with the stereotyped criminal here; in the cyber world, the criminals are trained and driven to achieve targets.
As in traditional crimes, a lot of criminals come from between us, they are people we know, and most of them don't even realise that they are committing a crime that can hurt someone in digital life, but the impact will be on physical life. To give you an example, recording any sexually explicit content of a woman is a crime in the physical world, but with ease of access to recording devices like your phone, a lot of people commit this crime just for fun in the digital world, even with their loved ones.
Now think of this person holding the recording with malicious intent about you, or he is simply getting compromised by some scamster. In either situation, you are paying the price.
Are Women A Soft Target Of Cybercrime?
Everyone is prone to be victims in the digital world; however, women tend to be more targeted. Scamsters are looking for newer means to make money or offer a service that also includes revenge, by the way. You would be surprised, but many services are available that can be bought off a website to take revenge on someone.
Women should be extra careful in cyberspace as they tend to be victimised way more in proportion than men; however, the bad people in digital life do not discriminate.
Cyber Laws In India
The law that regulates cyberspace predominantly in India is the Information Technology Act, which came into force in 2000 and the only significant amendment to this Act was done in 2008. Of course, some rules and minor amendments were made later, but nothing major.
Now think of this 2008 era, it was the time when the founder of Flipkart was doing deliveries himself, and there was no existence of companies like Zomato, Uber, OLA or OYO. The government is soon working towards a new integrated Data and Privacy regulation; however, the crimes currently are booked under the IT Act.
Online Portal To Report Cybercrime
Irrespective of the nature and intensity of the crime, my wife and I always advise people to report any cybercrime on https://cybercrime.gov.in. This portal is easy to work on and is one of the best ways to report a crime in minutes. The Authorities are responsive, and the site also has some great resources for the basics of cyber safety.
How's The Book Effective For Society?
I'm pretty sure that each of us tech-savvy individuals would have faced or at least know of someone who has encountered one or the other form of digital loss, whether it be OTP/wallet fraud or hacking of digital profiles or e-commerce fraud. The bad of the digital world has undoubtedly touched some part of everyone's lives, and if you are not part of this list, consider yourself lucky.
In my career as a Cyberspace expert, I have seen many people falling prey to these. It made me wonder why these crimes occurred, and on further pondering, I concluded that most of these bad events in the digital space occurred due to some very peculiar habits. The Good The Bad, The Cyber Buddha, focuses on these habits and gives simple, straightforward, easy-to-adopt solutions that can make everyone more cyber safe.
The other objective of this book is to clear the misconceptions about safety and security in cyberspace. Cyber Security may sound complex, and we all tend to relate this to the expertise of an IT professional. But truth be told, this is because the security industry always advertises the fear of loss, just like any insurance company, requiring high-tech interventions and specialist services. But it's not always that complicated.
Let me break it down for you. While Cyber Security is at the network level and managed by an organisation, Cyber Safety is in the hands of every user. Some of the most prominent cyber breaches known to the public, including Stuxnet or the Sony hack, have happened at the user device level, not at the network level.
Through this book, 'The Good The Bad The Cyber Buddha,' I highlight certain habits, which we are all guilty of, that can leave us vulnerable in cyberspace and discuss possible ways to correct them without disrupting our everyday life. And don't worry, this book is an easy read for everyone and not just the techies. We have omitted the technical jargon and tried to explain the problems in story format to the best of our abilities. Through their fun and lively conversations, you will also find interesting and relatable characters who explain the concepts and mitigation.
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