Cybercrime: Notes for UPSC GS-III

Cybercrime is a crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer may have been used to commit the crime and in many cases, it is also the target. Cybercrime may threaten a person or a nation’s security and financial health.

Cybercrime is a topic featured in the GS-III section of the IAS Exam. Candidates attempting the exam will find the details given in the article to be of immense use.

Definition of Cybercrime

Any offenses committed against individuals or groups of individuals to harm the reputation or cause physical or mental trauma through electronic means can be defined as Cybercrime. Electronic means can include but are not limited to, the use of modern telecommunication networks such as the Internet (networks including chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones (Bluetooth/SMS/MMS).

To know more about India’s national cybersecurity policy, visit the linked article.

Why is Cybercrime considered a grave offense?

There are many privacy concerns surrounding cybercrime when sensitive information is intercepted and leaked to the public, legally or otherwise. Some of that information may include data about military deployments, internal government communications, and even private data about high-value individuals. Cybercrime is not confined to individuals alone. Internationally, both governmental and non-state actors engage in cybercrimes, including espionage, financial theft, and other cross-border crimes. Cybercrimes crossing international borders and involving the actions of at least one nation-state is sometimes referred to as cyberwarfare.

In 2018, a study by Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in partnership with McAfee, a leading cybersecurity firm concludes that close to $600 billion, nearly one percent of global GDP, is lost to cybercrime each year.

Laws against Cybercrime in India

Ever since the introduction of cyber laws in India, the Information Technology Act (IT Act) 2000  covers different types of crimes under cyber law in India. The following types of cybercrimes are covered under the IT Act 2000.

  • Identity theft – Identity theft is defined as theft of personnel information of an individual to avail financial services or steal the financial assets themselves.
  • Cyberterrorism – Cyberterrorism is committed with the purpose of causing grievous harm or extortion of any kind subjected towards a person, groups of individuals, or governments.
  • Cyberbullying – Cyberbullying is the act of intimidating, harassment, defaming, or any other form of mental degradation through the use of electronic means or modes such as social media.
  • Hacking – Access of information through fraudulent or unethical means is known as hacking. This is the most common form of cybercrime know to the general public.
  • Defamation – While every individual has his or her right to speech on internet platforms as well, but if their statements cross a line and harm the reputation of any individual or organization, then they can be charged with the Defamation Law.
  • Trade Secrets – Internet organization spends a lot of their time and money in developing software, applications, and tools and rely on Cyber Laws to protect their data and trade secrets against theft; doing which is a punishable offense.
  • Freedom of Speech – When it comes to the internet, there is a very thin line between freedom of speech and being a cyber-offender. As freedom of speech enables individuals to speak their mind, cyber law refrains obscenity and crassness over the web.
  • Harassment and Stalking – Harassment and stalking are prohibited over internet platforms as well. Cyber laws protect the victims and prosecute the offender against this offense.

IT Act, 2000 went through amendments under the Indian Penal Code in the year 2008. These were made in light of the laws on cybercrime – IT Act, 2000 by way of the IT Act, 2008. They were enforced at the beginning of 2009 to strengthen the cybersecurity laws.

Cybercrime – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

For more UPSC- related preparation articles visit the links given in the table below. Candidates can visit the UPSC Syllabus page to get a general idea of the UPSC exams.

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