Like many other organisations that switched to online, crimes also went digital. Data from the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) indicates that cybercrime in India jumped 11 per cent in 2020. As of 2020, over 50,035 cases have been reported under cybercrimes, representing an increase of 11.8% over 2019 (44,735 cases). Crime rates in this category increased from 3.3 in 2019 to 3.7 in 2020.
Among the 50,035 cybercrimes registered in 2020, 60.2% were for the purpose of fraud (30,142 out of 50,035), followed by sexual exploitation with 6.6 per cent (3,293) and extortion with 4.9 per cent (2,440).
As per the NCRB report 'Crime in India, 2019', the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) informed the Home Committee that there were 21,796 cybercrimes reported in 2017; 27,248 in 2018; 44,735 in 2019; and 50,035 in 2020.
60.2% Cyber Crimes Of Online Fraud
The NCRB provides information about the intent behind the cybercrimes committed and registered. Online Fraud was the main 'motive' or intent of 30,142 cybercrimes or 60 % of the online crimes.
It is noted that India has seen an increase in phishing cases over the past year, and phishing via the Aarogya Setu app was also reported in 2020. Online banking fraud was reported 4,047 times, OTP fraud was reported 1,093 times, and credit/debit card fraud was reported 1,194 times. In addition, NCRB figures showed 2,160 ATM-related incidents in 2020.
According to data from the corresponding years, the country recorded 44,735 cases of cybercrime in 2019, compared to 27,248 in 2018.
6.6 % Cases Under Sexual Exploitation
According to the Economic Times report, in the case of cyberstalking and bullying, the conviction rate was only 27.6%, while it was 47.1% for the publication or transmission of sexually explicit content. In 2020, 600 males and 19 females were arrested for the offences committed.
The report also provided information on the intent behind the registered and committed cybercrimes, with "sexual exploitation" coming in second after "fraud". The report says that women have become the victims of digital stalking and bullying at a rate of 872 cases in 2020.
Upon arresting the third suspect in the Bulli Bai app case, the NCRB reported that Uttar Pradesh (2,120) had the highest number of cases of sexually explicit content online, followed by Assam (1,132).
4.9% Cases Under Extortion
As per the NCRB data, Cyber Extortion saw an increase of 4.9%, with 2,440 cases in 2020. Cybercriminals obtain access to crucial files and strategies for companies. Extortionists never use information, but it is used to extort money. It is concerning for cybercrime officials while adding that companies must improve their network security.
More than one thousand cybercrimes involving extortion have been registered in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh since 2020, followed by Assam.
Cause of Concern
Out of many cases, the 'boys locker room' Instagram group made national headlines two years ago, when screenshots showed boys posting inappropriate pictures of teenage girls without their consent and making offensive and violent remarks about them.
In order to address these concerns and prevent cybercrimes, it is crucial to establish adequate legal redress mechanisms and to ensure widespread awareness of online violence, as well as to provide victims with counselling services. As per the NCRB report, some states, such as Punjab, Rajasthan, Goa, and Assam, lack a single cyber crime cell. While in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh, only one or two cybercrime cells have been established.
How To Deal Cyber Crimes?
According to the latest available data, India had 624 million internet users in January 2021, and young people comprise a significant portion of this population.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, further indoor and online activities have been pushed, and schools and other outdoor spaces have become inaccessible. Therefore, educating parents is just as important as educating children.
Rules and practices for internet safety should be incorporated into school curricula and made available to parents. In order to ensure students understand consent and sexuality, the government needs to develop a comprehensive curriculum for sexuality education.
However, according to the NDTV report, MHA may advise states to establish cyber cells in all districts as recommended by the committee. By mapping the cybercrime hotspots, the states will be able to detect crimes quicker and take proactive measures to prevent cybercrime. Along with traditional police recruitment efforts, the committee recommends establishing dark web monitor cells and social media watch cells to combat different types of cybercrime and enhance the existing cyber cells.
On Thursday, Anand Sharma, chairman of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs, presented a detailed report on police training, modernisation, and reforms.
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