Cybercrimes double, but police fall short of know-how to get criminals

Cybercrimes double, but police fall short of know-how to get criminals

Cybercrimes double, but police fall short of know-how to get criminals

Cybercrimes have virtually doubled in the city as against conventional crimes like dacoity, robbery, housebreaking and pickpocketing, indicating the increasing sophistication of criminals.

Data available for the past six months revealed that at least 350 to 380 online fraud cases were registered on an average, while conventional crimes accounted for just 150.

From August 2017 to January 2018, 1,951 online fraud cases have been filed with the Bengaluru cybercrime police station, located at the commissioner's office on Infantry Road, opened exclusively to handle frauds happening in the virtual space.

The statistics agree with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, which Bengaluru on top of the cities with maximum cybercrimes in 2016.

Station understaffed  

The city police, however, seems lackadaisical in their response to the alarming rise in online frauds. The horribly understaffed cybercrime police station is saddle with at least 10 to 15 cases a day.

The 10-member cybercrime police have an inspector, two sub-inspectors and seven constables. As complaints begin to pour in, the staff has time only to receive them and cannot conduct probes.

City police commissioner T Suneel Kumar pointed out that most victims of online frauds are educated people. The only solution is for the users to exercise extreme caution while sharing their bank account details and passwords with strangers.

The cyber crime police station is equipped with technology and trained staff to handle online fraud cases, Kumar said.

A senior police officer belonging to the cyber crime cell of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) admitted that he personally stopped using net banking. "Having investigated various complaints, I can say that it is harder to trace online fraudsters," he said.

In 2001, the state government issued a notification establishing the cybercrime head office with the direction that it should investigate all crimes falling under the Information Technology Act.

As the number of cybercrime cases increased over the years and the head office found it harder to handle all of them, the DG&IGP issued a standing order, restricting the cyber crime police station to handle complaints of credit and debit card cheating if the frauds exceeded Rs 1 lakh.

They also allowed the police station to handle cases of fraudulent money transfers through online banking, lottery frauds and similar offences if the amount involved is Rs 5 lakh or above.

While cybercrime stations are restricted to just two types of fraud cases, the police top brass said all other cybercrimes should be handled by the jurisdictional police stations.

A dedicated cybercrime police station in Bengaluru city was inaugurated last year as the law and order police were found to have difficulties in handling cybercrime-related cases.

In the past decade-and-a-half, the CID cybercrime cell registered 586 cases and filed charge sheets in 156 of them. None of them ended in a conviction. The NCRB also notes that only 40 of the 14,000 cases until 2012 had ended up in a conviction.

Public prosecutor Venkatagiri, who handles cybercrime cases before the court, said lack of training for the police to track the accused often results in their acquittal.

Though the police are trained in modern technology to handle criminals, lack of frequent updates means they fall woefully short of technical skills and lag behind the criminals.

According to Venkatagiri, the police should be trained frequently so that they keep abreast with the emerging technology.  


Cybercrime in various avatars

Hacking: When a fraudster breaks into a computer or network to obtain data

Phishing: When cybercriminals impersonate official channels to get sensitive information from users, such as credit card numbers and passwords

Spoofing: When criminals masquerade as a trusted source to deceive someone into divulging information or transferring money

Pharming: When website traffic is redirected to a bogus website

Phreaking: When phone networks are hacked into to make free calls or have calls charged to a different account

Malware: Malicious software designed to secretly access your computer

Virus: Malware that self-replicates and infects your computer, files

Worm: Malware that self-replicates and sends itself to other computers in your network

Trojan horse: Software that pretends to be useful, but is really malware


Use strong passwords

Protect your computer with activate firewalls  

Secure your mobile devices, wireless network  

(Source: Cyber Cell, CID)


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