India’s major information technology hubs are grappling with a rapid rise in crime which threatens their glow. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics tabled recently in the Rajya Sabha incidents of cognisable offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) have shown a staggering increase over the last few years especially in the Cyber cities. The more worrying fact is out of 1,522 persons arrested in 2012 for cyber crime related offences, 928 of them were college students while 65 of them were below the age of 18. According to the PwC Economic Crime Survey India Report 2011, Cyber Crime constitutes 24 per cent of the total economic offences. The number of cases registered under the IT Act has gradually increased as visible in the table.
Cases Registered under
IT Act 2000
Year Number of Cases
Source: NCRB Report 2013
Crime in Faridabad of Haryana increased by 22 percent, the posh suburb of Gurgaon recorded a minor rise of five percent in crime incidents. According to a report by Cyber Security Major Symantec, as cyber criminals are using more sophisticated means like ransomware and spear-phishing, such Internet frauds have cost India a whopping $4 billion (about Rs 24,630 crore) this year. These statistics show that criminals have changed their strategy in the globalised information age, where processing of funds through illegal means like financial scams, money laundering, supply of fake currencies, hawala transactions and credit card frauds have become easier.
Cyber Attacks Intensified against India
Besides the recently reported secret surveillance by National Security Agency (NSA) of America, there are many non-state actors who are attacking India through cyber space. According to confidential CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) reports, 4,191 Indian websites were defaced or hacked in August, 2,380 in July, 2,858 in June and 1,808 in May. A majority of these attacks happened on .in domains, whose servers are located in India, 80 per cent in June and over 60 per cent thereafter. The .in domain appears the most vulnerable to attacks, the report said. As per another claim on hackingly .org almost 20,000 websites of India were defaced by Pakistani hackers named Fire Dr@cul@ & Muhammad Bilal.
SA3D HaCk3D, h4x0r HuSsY, SanFour2S, BD GREY HAT HACKERS, Suwario, Spy-Dy, hasnain haxor and CouCouM are the main defacers and hackers against India.
Despite the country reputation for being an IT and software powerhouse, India has reported 13,301 cyber security breaches in 2011. However, the biggest cyber attack that the country has faced occurred on July 12, 2012 where hackers penetrated the email accounts of 12,000 people, which include high officials from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Ministry of External Affairs.
Both public and private sector websites have been victims to these attacks but in view of national security, attacks on public sector companies are more dangerous as they involve major national infrastructures.
In July last year India’s first National Cyber Security Policy was released, with an aim to defend national assets against cyber attacks and seek to provide for protection of citizen’s information. It is high time the Government realise the seriousness of digital attacks and develop a counter strategy.
In the information age, while sovereignty and territoriality are under severe strain, the responsibility of policing cyber space within its own territory is placed on every national government. Therefore, adequate legal measures to manage the Information and Communication Revolution, enhancing cooperation between the public and private sector, widening the concept of intelligence and protecting the information infrastructure by upgrading security standards are necessary measures to counter the threats. Most importantly, the changing dimensions of crime need to be taken into consideration while formulating and implementing laws. Most importantly with growing vulnerability, India needs to develop its offensive mechanism of cyber soldiers to defend its information infrastructure.