In technology driven society, internet has huge contribution for the growth of humans. Many investigators explained that cyberspace is a physical space but actually were a computer-generated construction representing abstract data. It is a virtual medium. It has no boundaries, no geographical mass, or gravity. Numerous advancements are done due to cyber activities but the major question is that whether it should be regulated or not. Cyber Law is the law that controls cyber space. Cyber space is a very broad term and includes computers, networks, software, and data storage devices such as hard disks, USB disks, the Internet, websites, emails and even electronic devices such as cell phones, ATM machines. The increased dependence of individuals and organizations on cyberspace has resulted in many cybercrimes.
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Cyber crimes are illegal acts where the computer is used either as a tool or a target or both. The massive growth in electronic commerce (e-commerce) and online share trading has led to an unusual erupt in incidents of cybercrime. Although, there is system to protect devices from infected with computer virus to the data and computer networks such as firewalls, antivirus software, and other technological solutions, but in India efforts must be done towards effective use of these technologies to protect the valuable data and to combat cyber-crime. Even expert users of IT tools may not be aware of cyber victimization. Along with the progression in technology it is similarly important to be aware of cyber-crime and other related issues thereof. The cyber safety depends on the knowledge of the technology and the care taken while using internet and that of the defensive measures adopted by user and servers systems. Cyber law portrays the legal issues associated with the use of communications technology, mainly "cyberspace", i.e. the Internet. It is a junction of numerous legal fields, including intellectual property, privacy, freedom of expression, and jurisdiction. It is established that cyber law applies to regulations designed for the physical world, to human activity on the Internet. Cyber law basically deals with almost all aspects of transaction and activities concerning Internet, World Wide Web and Cyberspace in India.
The law for cyberspace is to control the man and the machine. The fundamental goal of cyber laws is to legalize human behaviour and not technology. Cyber laws are technology intensive laws, advocating the use but not the mishandling of technology. Cyber law comprises of all the cases, statutes and legal provisions that affect persons and institutions who control the entry to cyberspace, provide access to cyberspace, create the hardware and software which enable people to access cyberspace or use their own devices to go 'online' and enter cyberspace. Law covers the rules of conduct that have been accepted by the government, and which are in force over a certain region, and which must be followed by all people on that region. Breach of these rules could lead to government action such as captivity or fine or an order to pay compensation. Cyber law encompasses laws relating to Cyber Crimes, Electronic and Digital Signatures, Intellectual Property, and Data Protection and Privacy.
Requirement of Cyber Law
There are many grounds why it is difficult for conventional law to manage with cyberspace. The first reason is that Cyberspace is an intangible dimension that is unfeasible to govern and regulate using conventional law. Secondly, cyberspace has complete disregard for jurisdictional boundaries. Another reason is that cyberspace handles huge traffic volumes every second. Billions of emails are crisscrossing the globe even as we read this, millions of websites are being accessed every minute and billions of dollars are electronically transferred around the world by banks every day. Cyberspace is absolutely open to sharing by all. Cyberspace offers enormous potential for secrecy to its members. Readily available encryption software and steganographic tools that flawlessly hide information within image and sound files ensure the confidentiality of information exchanged between cyber-citizens. Electronic information has become the main aim of cyber-crime. It is considered by extreme mobility, which exceeds by far the mobility of persons, goods or other services. International computer networks can transfer huge amounts of data around the globe within seconds. A software source code worth crores of rupees or a movie can be pirated across the globe within hours of their release. Theft of corporeal information such as books, papers, CD ROMs, floppy disks is easily covered by conventional penal provisions. Nevertheless, the difficulty begins when electronic records are copied quickly, inconspicuously and often via telecommunication facilities.
In digital world, most of the areas are affected by cyber law. Approximately all transactions in shares are in demat form. All companies comprehensively depend upon their computer networks and keep their valuable data in electronic form. Government forms including income tax returns, company law forms are filled in electronic form. Consumers are progressively more using credit cards for shopping. Most people are using email, cell phones and SMS messages for communication. Even in "non-cyber crime" cases, important evidence is found in computers / cell. Cyber crime cases such as online banking frauds, online share trading fraud, source code theft, credit card fraud, tax evasion, virus attacks, cyber sabotage, phishing attacks, email hijacking, denial of service, hacking, pornography are very common. Digital signatures and e-contracts have reinstated usual methods of transacting business.
To control cyber-crime, Electronic signatures are used to validate electronic records. Digital signatures are one type of electronic signature. Digital signatures satisfy three major legal requirements – signer authentication, message authentication and message integrity. The technology and efficiency of digital signatures makes them more trustworthy than hand written signatures. Intellectual property refers to the creations of the human mind e.g. a story, a song, a painting, a design etc. The facets of intellectual property that relate to cyber space are covered by cyber law. These include copyright law in relation to computer software, computer source code, websites, cell phone content, software and source code licences, trademark law with relation to domain names, meta tags, mirroring, framing, linking, semiconductor law which relates to the guard of semiconductor integrated circuits design and layouts, patent law in relation to computer hardware and software. Data protection and privacy laws intend to accomplish a fair balance between the privacy rights of the individual and the interests of data controllers such as banks, hospitals, and email service providers. These laws try to address the challenges to privacy caused by collecting, storing and transmitting data using new technologies.
Cyber law is new stream for study of law and is increasing at rapid rate. It is vital that user must be aware of basic building blocks of cyber laws, namely Netizens, Cyberspace, and Technology.
Netizens: Cyber law has initiated notion of netizens. A Netizen is an occupant of the worldwide world. He is the one, who inhabits the Net and uses it as an extension of his day-to-day physical world. He reproduces his physical world actions, such as socializing, buying, and selling through online medium. He goes beyond geographical space and time by a click. He identifies no man-made or geographical boundaries. Netizen could be nameless, nameless and faceless person, if he wants to and yet can indulge in various internet activities.
Cyberspace: Cyber laws are made for cyberspace. Cyberspace incorporates the activities, which have occurred in the physical space just prior to entry into cyberspace. Cyberspace is the significant aspect of cyber law which serves as a link between the physical space and the cyberspace, in order to control interface between man and machine. The presence of cyber laws are an expansion of physical laws in cyberspace. These are 'analogy-seeking' laws.
Technology: Cyber laws are devised according to technology used. They turn around technology and its applications. Cyber laws set up norms of acknowledged human behaviour in cyberspace. Currently, there are two-technology school of laws which include technology Specific School and Technology Neutral School. Technology Specific School states that the law should identify only one given set of technology or technology standard. That is, law treats other standards as unlawful, non-binding and thus not allowable. This School offers a single technology platform for the whole community but it disrupts the process of technological innovations and helps in creating monopolistic business. In Indian condition, people follow a technology specific rule. Under the law (The Information Technology Act, 2000), digital signatures using prescribed asymmetric cryptosystem standard is considered legally valid. Use of any other standards would be digital signature unacceptable. When this Act is introduced, the technology procedure was quite low, but with time technology maturity has increased in India and the new Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2006 advocate migration towards the technology neutral rule.
The following Act, Rules and Regulations are included under cyber laws:
- Information Technology Act, 2000
- Information Technology (Certifying Authorities) Rules, 2000
- Information Technology (Security Procedure) Rules, 2004
- Information Technology (Certifying Authority) Regulations, 2001
Major objectives of the Information Technology Act, 2000 are to provide legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic communication, which is termed as "electronic commerce" and involve the use of alternatives to paper-based methods of communication and storage of information, to facilitate electronic filing of documents with the Government agencies. The aims of the Act make it facilitating Act, an enabling Act, and a regulating Act. The Information Technology Act, 2000 is a facilitating Act because it allows both e-commerce and e-governance. The Information Technology Act, 2000 also considered as enabling Act which allows legal system of electronic records and digital signatures.
Though Internet does not have any geographical limits of a country, one of the United Nations agencies 'United Nations Commission on International Trade Law' (UNCITRAL) recommended a certain level of consistency of laws in all member nations. For this, the Model Law on Electronic Commerce was adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) to control cyber-crime around the world.
Scope of Cyber Laws
Cyber laws have broad scope in current complex situation and eruption of cyber-crime. These laws cover other areas of law having a technology component. Laws related to ecommerce, online contracts, copyright, trademark, business software patenting, e-taxation, e-governance and cyber-crimes fall within the meaning and scope of cyber laws.
To, summarize, cyber laws offers the vital mechanism to impeach any person, who is realistically suspected of having committed or of committing or of being about to carry out any offence using any computer, computer system or computer network. Cyber law is an important field of law which represents all the legal issues linked with the internet, and governs all the aspects of the internet and cyberspace, along with dealing in legal cases regarding software patents, net banking and others. Cyber legal representatives perform regular investigations on the major cyber-crimes that are widespread across the internet. With the growing increase in cyber-crimes against individuals, organizations and the government via the internet today, there is a need for strict cyber laws in the global society. Cyber laws which battles cyber-crimes have a dominant effect on any other laws for the time being in force. In India, it was observed that there is drastic increase in the number of cyber-crimes therefore the field of cyber law in India is gaining huge recognition.
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- Types of Security Threats
- Conventional cyber crimes
- Cyber warfare and its examples
- Cyber terrorism
- Cyber terror: Some Example
- Why we need to regulate Cyber space
- Tool to protect against Cyber Threats
- Cyber Laws in India
- Ongoing efforts in India
- Stakeholder Agencies in India
- Intergovernmental organizations and Initiatives
Cyberspace is such a term, which is not yet completely defined and also has no geographical limitation. It is a term associated with application of the Internet worldwide. It is also called as a virtual space as physical existence of cyberspace is not detectable at all. Cyberspace is “the total interconnectedness of human beings through computers and telecommunication without regard to physical geography.”
Information through computers is transferred in the form of Ones (1) and Zeros (0), which do not inherently carry any separate information along with them for authentication. For authentication purposes, additional information needs to be carried with cyberspace transactions for identity purposes.
Providing extra information in digital communication introduces the possibility for identity theft. Because nothing prevents the transmission of false identity information, or the duplication of another’s identity information.
The seriousness of this problem is highlighted when you consider that future technologies will allow extremely important identifiers, such as a retinal scan or a fingerprint, to be represented digitally. These biometrics characteristics are protected in real space because they are embedded in the physical body of the person. This is lost in cyberspace. Thus, cyberspace needs a system that allows individuals to verify their identities to others without revealing to them the digital representation of their identities.
Types of Security threats
Cybercrimes consist of specific crimes dealing with computers and networks, such as hacking, phishing and the facilitation of traditional crime through the use of computers (child pornography, hate crimes, telemarketing/internet fraud). A brief introduction to some common cyber related violations, or cybercrimes as they are more commonly referred to are discussed below:
Hacking in simple terms means an illegal intrusion into a computer system and/or
network. There is an equivalent term to hacking i.e. cracking, but from Indian legal
perspective there is no difference between the term hacking and cracking. Every act
committed towards breaking into a computer and/or network is hacking. Hackers write
or use ready-made computer programs to attack the target computer.
The Internet is extensively used for sexual abuse of children. As more homes have access to internet, more children are accessing it and this enhances their vulnerability of falling victims to the aggression of paedophiles. Paedophiles (a person who is sexually attracted to children) lure the children by distributing pornographic material and then pursue them for sexual exploitation. Sometimes paedophiles contact children in chat rooms posing as teenagers or a children of similar age, they win the confidence of these children, then induce them into sexually provocative discussions. Then begins the actual exploitation of children.
This term is used to refer to the use of the internet, e-mail, or other electronic communications devices to stalk another person. Cyber stalking can be defined as the repeated acts of harassment or threatening behaviour of the cyber-criminal towards the victim by using internet services.
This is a technology driven cyber intrusion, where by the influencer floods the bandwidth or blocks the user’s mails with spam mails depriving the user, access to the Internet and the services provided therefrom. A DoS Attack (as it is commonly known) can be perpetrated in a number of ways.
- Dissemination of Malicious Software (Malware)
Malware is defined as a software designed to perform an unwanted illegal act via the computer network. It could be also defined as software with malicious intent. Malware can be classified based on how they get executed, how they spread, and/or what they do. Some of them are discussed below.
A virus is a program that can infect other programs by modifying them to include a possible evolved copy of itself. A virus can spread throughout a computer or network using the authorization of every user using it to infect their program. Every program so infected may also act as a virus and thus the infection grows. Viruses normally affect program files, but in some cases they also affect data files disrupting the use of data and destroying them completely.
Worms are also disseminated through computer networks, unlike viruses, computer worms are malicious programs that copy themselves from system to system, rather than infiltrating legitimate files. For example, a mass mailing e-mail worm is a worm that sends copies of itself via e-mail. A network worm, on the other hand makes copies of itself throughout a network, thus disrupting an entire network.
Trojan is another form of Malware, trojans do things other than what is expected by the user. Trojan or trojan horse is a program that generally impairs the security of a system. Trojans are used to create back-doors (a program that allows outside access into a secure network) on computers belonging to a secure network so that a hacker can have access to the secure network.
Unlike viruses, Trojan horses do not replicate themselves but they can be just as destructive. One of the most insidious types of Trojan horse is a program that claims to rid your computer of viruses but instead introduces viruses onto your computer.
Hoax is an e-mail that warns the user of a certain system that is harming the computer. The message thereafter instructs the user to run a procedure (most often in the form of a download) to correct the harming system. When this program is run, it invades the system and deletes an important file.
Spyware invades a computer and, as its name implies, monitors a user’s activities without consent. Spywares are usually forwarded through unsuspecting e-mails with bonafide e-mail i.ds. Spyware continues to infect millions of computers globally.
Phishers lure users to a phony web site, usually by sending them an authentic appearing e-mail. Once at the fake site, users are tricked into divulging a variety of private information, such as passwords and account numbers
Data interception –Hijacking e-mails, interference of an intermediary in the network, may be a prelude to another type of computer crime, typically data modification.
Data diddling: –Usually done in conjunction with data interception, valid data intended for a recipient is hijacked or intercepted and then is replaced with an erroneous one. This could also apply to illegal tapping into database and altering its contents. Basically, any form of alteration without appropriate authorization falls under this category.
Data theft-outright stealing of most commonly classified or proprietary information without authorization. This could be the result of data interception. It might also be the unlawful use or possession of copyrighted works such as songs, pictures, movies or other works of art.
Network interference -any activity that causes the operation of a computer network to be temporarily disrupted. Interference implies something momentarily such as Denial of Service Attacks that causes delays in data transmission by using up all available bandwidth. Distributed denial of service, ping of death and smurf attacks also fall under this category.
Data Security Network sabotage– causing permanent damage to a computer network such as deleting files or records from storage.
Conventional cyber crimes
Defamation comprises of both libel (defamation by means of writing) and slander (defamation by speaking). After the popularity of the printing press, one witnessed the increase in libel. With the advent of information technology and the Internet, libel has become much more common and of course, easier.
In simple words, it implies defamation by anything which can be read, seen or heard with the help of computers/technology. Since the Internet has been described as having some or all of the characteristics of a newspaper, a television station, a magazine, a telephone system, an electronic library and a publishing house, there are certain noticeable differences between online and offline attempt of defamation which makes the online defamation more vigorous and effective.
Corporate Cyber Smear
Harmful and defamatory online message has been termed as corporate cyber smear. It is a false and disparaging rumour about a company, its management or its stock that is posted on the Internet. This kind of criminal activity has been a concern especially in stock market and financial sectors where knowledge and information are the key factors for businessmen.
Forgery is creation of a document which one knows is not genuine and yet projects the same as if it is genuine. Digital forgery implies making use of digital technology to forge a document. Desktop publishing systems, colour laser and ink-jet printers, colour copiers, and image scanners enable crooks to make fakes, with relative ease, of cheques, currency, passports, visas, birth certificates, ID cards, etc.
Gambling is in many countries illegal. Computer is a medium for the purposes of online gambling. The act of gambling is categorised as an offence in some countries and has a legal sanctity in others. The main concern with online gambling is that most virtual casinos are based offshore making them difficult to regulate.
It is in this situation that the Internet helps the gamblers to evade the law. Anyone with access to a personal computer and an Internet connection can purchase lottery tickets or visit gambling sites anywhere in the world. The world of online gambling, due to its anonymity, unfortunately has many other hazards like danger of illegal use of credit card or illegal access to bank account.
Online sale of illegal articles
There are certain articles like drugs, guns, pirated software or music that might not be permitted to be sold under the law of a particular country. However, those who would want to sell such articles find Internet a safe zone to open up online shops. There are specific concerns with regard to increase in online sale of drugs.
The sale of illegal articles on the Internet is also one of those computer crimes where the computer is merely a tool to commit the crime
E-mail spamming/ e-mail bombing
Spam refers to sending of unsolicited messages in bulk. Technically, it overflows the limited-sized memory by excessively large input data. In relation to e-mail accounts, it means bombing an e-mail account with a large number of messages maybe the same or different messages
Spam is an unsolicited message requiring one’s time and effort to get rid off. A regular supply of such spam messages would naturally result in considerable annoyance. It would also directly hamper the interest of the user in his electronic mailbox where he does not expect any interference and encroachment. The result, apart from loss of Internet working hours and thwarting one’s regular e-mail stream, could be one of mental agony and distress.
Cyber Warfare and its example
Cyber warfareis Internet-based conflict involving politically motivated attacks on information and information systems. Cyber warfare attacks can disable official websites and networks, disrupt or disable essential services, steal or alter classified data, and cripple financial systems.
In 2010, Stuxnet, which was designed to attack industrial programmable logic controllers was directed against the Iranian nuclear programme. Since the discovery of the Stuxnet malware, other “cyber weapons” have made their appearance.
The Duqu worm was discovered in September 2011, followed in quick succession by the Mahdi, Gauss and Flame malware. Flame, Duqu and Gauss shared similar digital DNA with Stuxnet with primary purpose seemed to be espionage (spying), with their targets ranging from banking to governmental to energy networks.
Flame’s capabilities ranged from recording Skype conversations and downloading information from smart phones to more mundane activities such as recording audio, screenshots, keystroke and network traffic recording.
The Mahdi Trojan
seemed to have spread via phishing emails even though its purpose was also apparently espionage. Infections were reported from Iran, Israel, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.
Wiper, a new virus
was reported in April 2012 that was much more malicious, and wiped off the data on all computers that it infected. This virus largely affected networks in Iran.
The Shamoon virus
is reported to have wiped off the data from 30,000 computers of the Saudi Arabian State oil company, Aramco, followed a week later by a similar episode on the networks of the second largest LNG company in the world, Ras Gas of Qatar.
In what has become the norm for such cyber-attacks, despite intense investigations by anti-virus companies, the origins of the malware have remained largely in the realm of speculation and inference.
While ownership of the Stuxnet (and by inference, its cousins Duqu, Flame and Gauss) malware was claimed by the Obama Administration for electoral purposes, the Shamoon virus is speculated to be a reverse-engineered version of the Wipe virus unleashed by hackers loyal to the Iranian regime. Tit-for-tat attacks look set to become the norm as the countries of the region secure up their cyber space.
In another incidence, it was reported that the Chinese Intelligence Agencies may have planted Malware in Computers and broken into the Headquarters of 33 Corps, Indian Army formation looking after most of the North-Eastern border with China. The Cyber Intrusion also planted a Trojan Horse to give Chinese Agencies remote access to the computer network at the 33 Corps Headquarters in Sukhna, near Siliguri, West Bengal.
Cyber war would not actually be war because there aren’t loss of human lives, but analyzing these incidents and the continuous discoveries of malicious state-sponsored malware, it is possible to understand the great activities in cyberspace and related unpredictable repercussions on civil and military infrastructures.
‘Cyber terrorism is the convergence of terrorism and cyber space. It is generally understood to mean unlawful attacks and threats of attacks against computers, networks, and information stored therein when done to intimidate or coerce a government or its people in furtherance of political or social objectives.
Further, to qualify as cyber terrorism, an attack should result in violence against persons or property or at least cause enough harm to generate fear. Attacks that lead to death or bodily injury, explosions, plane crashes, water contamination or severe economic loss would be examples. Serious attacks against critical infrastructures could be acts of cyber terrorism depending upon their impact. Attacks that disrupt nonessential services or that are mainly a costly nuisance would not.
Cyber-terrorism can also be understood as “the use of computer network tools to shut down critical national infrastructures (such as energy, transportation, government operations) or to coerce or intimidate a government or civilian population.” A hostile nation or group could exploit these vulnerabilities to penetrate a poorly secured computer network and disrupt or even shut down critical functions.
Cyber terror: Some examples
Middle East Tension Sparks Cyber Attacks
With the Middle East Conflict at a very heated moment between bordering countries Pro-Palestinian and Pro-Israel Cyber Groups have been launching an offensive against websites and mail services used by the political sectors the opposing groups show support for. The attacks had been reported by the NIPC (National Infrastructure Protection Center) in October of 2000 to U.S. Officials. The attacks were a volley of email floods, DoS attacks, and ping flooding of such sites as the Israel Foreign Ministry, Israeli Defense Forces, and in reverse, sites that belonged to groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
As tensions between the neighboring regions of India and Pakistan over Kashmir grew over time, Pro-Pakistan cyber-terrorists and recruited hackers began to target India’s Internet Community. Just prior to and after the September 11 attacks, it is believed that the sympathizers of Pakistan (which also included members of the Al Qaeda Organization) began their spread of propaganda and attacks against Indian Internet based communities. Groups such as G-Force and Doctor Nuker have defaced or disrupted service to several major entities in India such as the Zee TV Network, The India Institue of Science and the Bhabha Atomic Research Center which all have political ties.
Retaliation in China
In May 1999 the accidental bombing of a Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia by U.S. Bombers, led to a massive web site defacement and e-mail bombardment attack on American companies and agencies. Pro-Chinese hackers and political groups executed the attacks to gain sympathy for the Chinese cause.
US Government sites such as the U.S. Departments of Energy and the Interior, and the National Park Service were all hit and had web sites defaced along with the White House web site. The site was downed for three days by continual e-mail bombing. Although the attack was rather random and brief and affected a small number of U.S. sites, the effects could have been worse.
Tamil Tiger Attempt
In 1998, with surges of violence committed in Sri Lankan over several years, attacks in cyber-space were the next area to target. The group known as the Tamil Tigers, a violent guerrilla organization, bombarded Sri Lankan embassies with over 800 e-mails a day. This was carried out over a two week period. The attacked the e-mail message conveyed the message, “We are the Internet Black Tigers and we’re doing this to disrupt your communications.” After the messages created such major disruption the local Intelligence authorities were dispatched to investigate. The authorities declared the attack as the first known attack on the Sri Lankan by the terrorists on any computer system in the nation.
Recent activities of ISIS in Middle East and series of videos released by them are potential cyber terrors. They are using Cyber space for their propaganda and for influencing vulnerable people to join ISIS. It is threat to the world and the way they are growing needs global cooperation to check them before they create havoc.
Why we need to regulate Cyberspace
There has been a rapid increase in the use of the online environment where millions of users have access to internet resources and are providing contents on a daily basis.(For example INSIGHTS 😛 )
The use of internet particularly for the distribution of obscene, indecent and pornographic content. The use of internet for child pornography and child sexual abuse and the relative ease with which the same may be accessed calls for strict regulation.
The increasing business transaction from tangible assets to intangible assets like Intellectual Property has converted Cyberspace from being a mere info space into important commercial space. The attempt to extend and then protect intellectual property rights online will drive much of the regulatory agenda and produce many technical methods of enforcement.
The major area of concern where some sort of regulation is desirable is data protection and data privacy so that industry, public administrators, netizens, and academics can have confidence as on-line user.
Internet has emerged as the ‘media of the people’ as the internet spreads fast there were changes in the press environment that was centered on mass media. Unlike as in the established press, there is no editor in the Internet. People themselves produce and circulate what they want to say and this direct way of communication on internet has caused many social debates. Therefore the future of Cyberspace content demands the reconciliation of the two views of freedom of expression and concern for community standards.
Another concern is that, money laundering, be ‘serious crime’ becomes much simpler through the use of net. The person may use a name and an electronic address, but there are no mechanisms to prove the association of a person with an identity so that a person can be restricted to a single identity or identity can be restricted to a single person. Therefore Cyberspace needs to be regulated to curb this phenomenon.
Tools to protect against cyber threats
Other than the general use of antivirus, firewalls & gateways, strong passwords, secure wi-fi connection, training to netizen, etc. there are few other practise which keeps our data and network safe from cyber threats. Some of them are mentioned below:
A Digital Signature is a technique by which it is possible to secure electronic information in such a way that the originator of the information, as well as the integrity of the information, can be verified. This procedure of guaranteeing the origin and the integrity of the information is also called Authentication.
The authenticity of many legal, financial, and other documents is determined by the presence or absence of an authorized handwritten signature. For a computerised message system to replace the physical transport of paper and ink documents handwritten signatures have to be replaced by Digital Signatures.
A digital signature is only a technique that can be used for different authentication purposes. For an E-record, it comes functionally very close to the traditional handwritten signatures. The user himself/ herself can generate key pair by using specific crypto software. Now Microsoft IE and Netscape, allow the user to create his/ her own key pair. Any person may make an application to the Certifying Authority for issue of Digital Signature Certificate.
One of the most powerful and important methods for security in computer systems is to encrypt sensitive records and messages in transit and in storage. Cryptography has a long and colourful history. Historically, four groups of people have used and contributed to the art of Cryptography, the military, the diplomatic corps, diarists, and lovers. The military has had the most sensitive role and has shaped the field.
At present, information and data security plays a vital role in the security of the country, the security of the corporate sector and also of every individual, working for personal benefit. The message or data to be encrypted, also known as the plaintext, is transformed by a function that is parameterized by a KEY. The output of the encryption process, known as the cipher text, is then transmitted through the insecure communication channel. The art of breaking ciphers is called cryptanalysis. The art of devising ciphers (cryptography) and breaking them (cryptanalysis) is collectively known as cryptology. It is done with the help of algorithms, few of them are- The Secret-Key Algorithm, Data Encryption Standard (DES, Public Key Algorithms, RSA Algorithm, etc.
A security audit is a systematic evaluation of the security of a company’s information system by measuring how well it conforms to a set of established criteria. It is to find out the vulnerabilities that an organization is facing with its IT infrastructure. A thorough audit typically assesses the security of the system’s physical configuration and environment, software, information handling processes, and user practices.
Cyber Forensics is a very important ingredient in the investigation of cyber crimes. Cyber forensics is the discovery, analysis, and reconstruction of evidence extracted from any element of computer systems, computer networks, computer media, and computer peripherals that allow investigators to solve a crime.
Principal concerns with computer forensics involve imaging storage media, recovering deleted files, searching slack and free space, and preserving the collected information for litigation purposes.
The other concern is network forensics, is a more technically challenging aspect of cyber forensics. It gathers digital evidence that is distributed across large-scale, complex networks.
E-discovery investigation includes areas like money laundering, corruption, financial frauds, cyber crimes, serious frauds and white collar crimes investigation, etc. Presently e-discovery services in India are in infancy stage and this is the reason why many cases of corporate frauds and cyber crimes remain unreported.
Cyber Laws in India
The first technology based law in India was the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885. This law was framed with the advent of the telegraph and later covered yet another advance in technology, the telephone.
In the domain of technology driven law falls the Information Technology Act, 2000.While the Information Technology Act is the most significant Act addressing conduct in cyberspace in India, there are a whole lot of other Acts that would apply to govern and regulate conduct and transactions in cyberspace.
Take for instance online contracts. Apart from the relevant provisions of the IT Act, the Indian Contract Act, the Sale of Goods Act, 1930 etc. would be relevant to determine the legality of such contracts.
Further the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 or in case of unfair trade practices, the Consumer Protection Act 1986, would also be relevant.
Protection of intellectual property available on the Internet is one of the greatest challenges of the day. Be it books, films, music, computer software, inventions, formulas, recipes, everything is available on the net. Protection of copyrights trademarks online would entail the invocation of the Indian Copyright Act and, the Trade Marks Act.
As far as illegal activities on the net are concerned, apart from specific provisions in the IT Act that penalizes them, a whole gamut of other Acts would govern them. For instance in case of an Internet fraud, based on the nature of the fraud perpetrated, Acts such as the Companies Act, 1956, the
Thus it can be inferred that while the IT Act is the quintessential Act regulating conduct on the Internet based on the facts of a case or the nature of a transaction, several other Acts may be applicable. Therefore, cyber laws includes the whole set of legislation that can be applied to determine conduct on the Internet.
Information Technology Act, 2000
The Information Technology Act, 2000 intends to give legal recognition to e-commerce and e-governance and facilitate its development as an alternate to paper based traditional methods. The Act has adopted a functional equivalents approach in which paper based requirements such as documents, records and signatures are replaced with their electronic counterparts.
The Act seeks to protect this advancement in technology by defining crimes, prescribing punishments, laying down procedures for investigation and forming regulatory authorities. Many electronic crimes have been bought within the definition of traditional crimes too by means of amendment to the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The Evidence Act, 1872 and the Banker’s Book Evidence Act, 1891 too have been suitably amended in order to facilitate collection of evidence in fighting electronic crimes.
The IT act has been amended in 2008 and its important provisions can be read here- http://cis-india.org/internet-governance/publications/it-act/short-note-on-amendment-act-2008
National Cyber security Policy, 2013
In light of the growth of IT sector in the country, the National Cyber Security Policy of India 2013 was announced by Indian Government in 2013 yet its actual implementation is still missing. As a result fields like e-governance and e-commerce are still risky and may require cyber insurance in the near future. Its important features include:
- To build secure and resilient cyber space.
- Creating a secure cyber ecosystem, generate trust in IT transactions.
- 24 x 7 NATIONAL CRITICAL INFORMATION INFRASCTRUCTURE PROTECTION CENTER (NCIIPC)
- Indigenous technological solutions (Chinese products and reliance on foreign software)
- Testing of ICT products and certifying them. Validated products
- Creating workforce of 500,000 professionals in the field
- Fiscal Benefits for businessman who accepts standard IT practices, etc.
Ongoing efforts in India
The government has conducted several awareness and training programmes on cyber crimes for law enforcement agencies including those on the use of cyber Forensics Software packages and the associated procedures with it to collect digital evidence from the scene of crime.
Special training programmes have also been conducted for the judiciary to train them on the techno-legal aspects of cyber crimes and on the analysis of digital evidence presented before them. Both the CBI and many state police organizations are today geared to tackle cybercrime through specialised cyber crime cells that they have set up.
Cyber security initiatives and projects in India are very less in numbers. Even if some projects have been proposed, they have remained on papers only.
The list is long but sufficient is to talk about the projects like National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIPC) of India, National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) of India, Tri Service Cyber Command for Armed Forces of India, Cyber Attacks Crisis Management Plan Of India, etc. None of them are “Coordinating” with each other and all of them are operating in different and distinct spheres. Recently, the National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) was entrusted with the responsibility to protect the critical ICT infrastructures of India.
India has already launched e-surveillance projects like National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), Central Monitoring System (CMS), Internet Spy System Network and Traffic Analysis System (NETRA) of India, etc. None of them are governed by any Legal Framework and none of them are under Parliamentary Scrutiny. Thus, these projects are violate of Civil Liberties Protection in Cyberspace and provisions of
National Informatics Centre (NIC) has been formed which provides network backbone Manages IT services, E -GOV initiatives to central and state governments.
Stakeholder agencies in India
Countering cyber crimes is a coordinated effort on the part of several agencies in the Ministry of Home Affairs and in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. The law enforcement agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, The Intelligence Bureau, state police organizations and other specialised organizations such as the National Police Academy and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) are the prominent ones who tackle cyber crimes. We will see about of few of them:
1. National Information Board (NIB)
National Information Board is an apex agency with representatives from relevant Departments and agencies that form part of the critical minimum information infrastructure in the country.
2. National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC)
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) is an apex body of Government of India for dealing with major crisis incidents that have serious or national ramifications. It will also deal with national crisis arising out of focused cyber-attacks.
3. National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS)
National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) is the apex agency looking into the political, economic, energy and strategic security concerns of India and acts as the secretariat to the NIB.
4. Department of Information Technology (DIT)
Department of Information Technology (DIT) is under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India. DIT strives to make India a global leading player in Information Technology and at the same time take the benefits of Information Technology to every walk of life for developing an empowered and inclusive society. It is mandated with the task of dealing with all issues related to promotion & policies in electronics & IT.
5. Department of Telecommunications (DoT)
Department of Telecommunications (DoT) under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India, is responsible to coordinate with all ISPs and service providers with respect to cyber security incidents and response actions as deemed necessary by CERT-In and other government agencies. DoT will provide guidelines regarding roles and responsibilities of Private Service Providers and ensure that these Service Providers are able to track the critical optical fiber networks for uninterrupted availability and have arrangements of alternate routing in case of physical attacks on these networks.
6. National Cyber Response Centre – Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERTIn)
CERT-In monitors Indian cyberspace and coordinates alerts and warning of imminent attacks and detection of malicious attacks among public and private cyber users and organizations in the country. It maintains 24×7 operations centre and has working relations/collaborations and contacts with CERTs, all over the world; and Sectoral CERTs, public, private, academia, Internet Service Providers and vendors of Information Technology products in the country.
6. National Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NIIPC)
NIIPC is a designated agency to protect the critical information infrastructure in the country. It gathers intelligence and keeps a watch on emerging and imminent cyber threats in strategic sectors including National Defence. They would prepare threat assessment reports and facilitate sharing of such information and analysis among members of the Intelligence, Defence and Law enforcement agencies with a view to protecting these agencies’ ability to collect, analyze and disseminate intelligence.
7. National Disaster Management of Authority (NDMA)
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is the Apex Body for Disaster Management in India and is responsible for creation of an enabling environment for institutional mechanisms at the State and District levels.
8. Standardization, Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) Directorate
STQC is a part of Department of Information Technology and is an internationally recognized Assurance Service providing organization. It has also established a test/evaluation facility for comprehensive testing of IT security products as per ISO 15408 common criteria security testing standards.
9. The Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal
The Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal has power to entertain the cases of any person aggrieved by the Order made by the Controller of Certifying Authority or the Adjudicating Officer. It has been established by the Central Government in accordance with the provisions contained under Section 48(1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000.The body is quasi-judicial in nature
Intergovernmental organisations and initiatives
Intergovernmental organisations and initiatives. Here we will see in brief, an overview of intergovernmental bodies and initiatives currently addressing cyber security at the policy level.
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe helps protect societies worldwide from the threat of cybercrime through the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, the Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY) and the technical co-operation Programme on Cybercrime. The Budapest Convention on Cybercrime was adopted on 8 November 2001 as the first international treaty addressing crimes committed using or against network and information systems (computers). It entered into force on 1 July 2004.
Internet Governance Forum (IGF)
The IGF was established by the World Summit on the Information Society in 2006 to bring people together from various stakeholder groups in discussions on public policy issues relating to the Internet. While there is no negotiated outcome, the IGF informs and inspires those with policy making power in both the public and private sectors.
The IGF facilitates a common understanding of how to maximise Internet opportunities and address risks and challenges. It is convened under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Its mandate includes the discussion of public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet.
United Nations (UN)
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for Information and Communication Technologies.
ITU deals also with adopting international standards to ensure seamless global communications and interoperability for next generation networks; building confidence and security in the use of ICTs; emergency communications to develop early warning systems and to provide access to communications during and after disasters, etc.
Conferences on Cyberspace
The London Conference on Cyberspace51 (1-2 November 2011) was meant to build on the debate on developing norms of behavior in cyberspace, as a follow-up to the speech given by UK Foreign Minister Hague at the Munich Security Conference in February 2011 which set out a number of “principles” that should underpin acceptable behavior on cyberspace.
The Meridian process aims to provide Governments worldwide with a means by which they can discuss how to work together at the policy level on Critical Information Infrastructure Protection (CIIP). Participation is open to all countries and targets senior level policymakers. An annual conference and interim activities are held each year to help build trust and establish international relations within the membership to facilitate sharing of
In reaction to spying and surveillance activity by National security agency of USA through PRISM, NETmundial – Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance(23 April 2014 – 24 April 2014) was organized in a partnership between the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee and /1Net, a forum that gathers international entities of the various stakeholders involved with Internet governance. This meeting focused on the elaboration of principles of Internet governance and the proposal for a roadmap for future development of this ecosystem.
Community in cyberspace is based on the interaction between people. Cyberspace has an important social aspect to it that must not be overlooked. Cyberspace can be treated as a channel touching portion of real space at key points. Ideas are passed through the channel, and business is transacted through this channel. The cyberspace communities are members of the global community interacting on a different plane than in real space.
With the huge growth in the number of Internet users all over the world, the security of data and its proper management plays a vital role for future prosperity and potentiality. It is concerned with people trying to access remote service is that they are not authorized to use.
Rules for compulsory wearing of helmet for bikers by government authorities, has no benefit for them, it is for our own safety and life. Same we should understand our responsibilities for our own cyber space and should at least take care of safety for our personal devices. These steps include installation of antivirus software and keeping it updated, installing personal firewalls and keeping rules updated. We should monitor and archive all security logs.
We should have backup of important data. Our devices should be protected by passwords and there should be restricted access to sensitive data on our devices. And above all, we should aspire for more computer literacy to understand the safety issues related to our cyber space. At the same time we need to utilise the specialisation of private sector in the field of cyber security and government should promote more PPP projects for the national cyber space