Cyber crime is slowly turning out to be a major challenge for the Mumbai police.
It has seen a steep rise since 2014, with 70 per cent of the crime going undetected and a huge number of cases pending in courts.
The number of cyber crimes will only increase with the number of Internet users in India increasing by the day, said a senior police officer.
About 604 cyber crimes were registered in 2014, while 912 cases were registered in 2015. The money lost in these crimes runs into several crores and the money recovered is less than 20 percent.
What is worrying is that 317 cases were registered between 2011 and 2013. But in 2015, almost thrice of it (912) were registered.
A cyber police officer said, “More youngsters are being arrested for cyber offences. About 45 per cent of men arrested for cyber offences fall in the age group of 18-30 years. This includes educated youngsters as well. Another 47 percent are aged between 30 and 45 years. About 2 percent of cyber criminals are minors.”
According to a 2013 discussion draft on national cyber security policy made by the department of information technology, ministry of communications and information technology, – a 24-hour website was to be made where cyber-related complaints from across India could be lodged. The plan is pending.
In most cases, the victims who approach the nearest police station to lodge a complaint are made to run to the BKC cyber police station. However, now with cyber crimes being taken seriously, the police are asking the victims to come forward to file FIRs.
Kalpana Gadekar, a senior inspector with the cyber police, told HT, “A victim can approach the nearest police station to file an FIR or the police station in whose jurisdiction the crime has occurred.”
Not only do cyber crimes go unreported, there is also less coordination among police, telecom and banks, claim experts.
Cyber expert Vicky Shah said, “The police, telecom industry and banks need to work together to effectively prevent the crime. Many cases go unreported as the amount of money involved is less --- anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000.”
He added that the process of registering an FIR then pursuing the case in court is time, money and energy consuming and there is no certainty that they will get the money back. “Hence, victims refrain from coming forward. But I appeal to the people to give written complaints to the police because this may result in preventing the conmen from victimising more people,” said Shah.
Experts feel there was not just the need for cooperation at local but also at the international level.
D. Sivanandhan, a former Maharashtra DGP, told HT, “All future crimes would be cyber crimes only. Cyber murder is possible today. Banks all over the world are suffering losses to the tune of billions of dollars. Indian banks are at the receiving end too. Many cyber crimes are not being reported and registered with the police because of fear of loss of reputation. Planes can be hijacked, so can be latest cars. All medical equipment can be manipulated and, thus, the danger is growing rapidly. We should have strong and quick mechanism of sharing information within the international community.”
To solve cyber crimes promptly, the expert said, the police need to be equipped with the state-of-the-art hardware and software.
“For this, we can implement a private-public partnership policy. Today, it is cheaper to use technology by cyber criminals. Various countries have trained a band of talented hackers to attack the vital assets of their enemy nations,” he added.