Cybercrime on the rise in Mumbai, but experts still not geared up
Lack of manpower and expertise to deal with the menace is responsible for the gradual rise of cybercrime in the city, and also the fall in detection rate, revealed data from Maharastra Police.
According to the statistics, 10,419 cases were registered under the Information Technology (IT) Act between January 2012 and June 2017. These include the ones registered under additional sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Of the 10, 419 cases, 3,167 have been detected, putting the average detection rate for six years at 30%. Alarmingly, 72% of the 10,419 cases are cases under the IT Act read with the IPC. In these cases, the detection rate has decreased from 57% in 2012 to 25% in 2017.
Incidentally, Mumbai comprised 38% of the cybercrime in Maharashtra in 2016. Statistics procured from Mumbai Police shows that 928 cases were registered in 2016 and 203 were detected — 21.8 % detection rate. In Maharashtra, in 2016, a total of 2,417 cases were registered.
Cyber expert Vijay Mukhi said, “Our cops are not trained well. Secondly, I blame the government for not having special courts for cybercrime. The cyber -security industry is not trained and there is dire need for a cyber-security eco-system. Corporates do not file an FIR and spend money individually to improve their systems when they should file cases so that the accused are convicted.”
Cyber-crime expert and high court lawyer Prashant Mali said, “There is lack of coordination between the police department of different states. There is poor or no cyber intelligence. They lack training and understanding in handling electronic evidence. Often, finding IP addresses in a different country involves the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), which is a lengthy process. Technically trained officers are transferred to physical security postings. Due to several reasons, there are instances where the police refused to file an FIR, which is unfortunate as these crimes go unreported.”
Another expert, Ritesh Bhatia said, “We need a separate cyber force where transfers take place within the department. Frequent transfers is also an issue. Most of the cases are of vishing and card cloning (ATM card frauds) where accused are Indians from other states, but many of them are not detected.”
Cops look at ways to curb cyber menace
Maharashtra police are looking at three ways to curb cybercrime. It plans to have a cyber police station in all districts, cyber labs in all districts and implement the Cyber Security Project (CSP) in the next four years.
Deputy commissioner of police (cyber), Balsing Rajput, confirmed that the four-pronged project was underway from last year and is aimed to be completed in the next four years. In India, only Maharashtra has a cyber-police station in each district. Further, Mumbai will have five cyber police stations soon. The officials will be trained to investigate complicated cases.
This is followed by cyberlaboratories, equipped with high-end hardware and software tools, in each of the districts for digital forensic analysis. These labs will help collect evidence from mobile phones, CDs, Call Data Records (CDR) and social media.
The first component of CSP is a Central Processing Laboratory, a special dedicated network, which will coordinate with the district-level labs and handle the complicated cases.
The second component is a predictive police unit, which will gather all information related to cybercrime from police stations and all social media platforms to predict and take measures to prevent cybercrime.
The third component is to build a Maharashtra Cyber security centre of excellence where police officials, government officials like prosecutors and public will be apprised on cyber security and awareness.
The fourth component will be education where high-end academic knowledge will be provided to government officials, police and students. This will be an academic education which may be like a six month or one year course.
Former Maharashtra DGP D. Sivanandhan said, “This cybercrime statistics with the state is just the tip of the ice berg. The actual cases are much more in number. People, corporates and banks are not coming forward to file FIRs. The police must try to ensure that all cases are reported to them. Cyber-crime will increase even more in future and hence it is going to cost us a lot if we are not able to quickly prepare ourselves to face it. Immediate need would be to train our men to investigate the cases by best in the country. There is a need for all agencies dealing with cyber-crimes to upgrade their capabilities and infrastructure.”