Some real life scenarios

May 8, 2010, by | Start Discussion


Continued from last issue, we are analyzing some of the common cyber related crimes from a legal perspective.

6. Source Code Theft

Computer source code is the most important asset of software companies. Simply put, source code is the programming instructions that are compiled into the executable files that are sold by software development companies.

As is expected, most source code thefts take place in software companies. Some cases are also reported in banks, manufacturing companies and other organizations that get original software developed for their use.

 

Scenario 1:

The suspect (usually an employee of the victim) steals the source code and sells it to a business rival of the victim.

 

Modus Operandi: If the suspect is an employee of the victim, he would usually have direct or indirect access to the source code. He would steal a copy of the source code and hide it using a virtual or physical storage device. If the suspect is not an employee of the victim, he would hack into the victim’s servers to steal the source code. Or he would use social engineering to get unauthorised access to the code. He would then contact potential buyers to make the sale.

 

Usual motives: Illegal financial gain.

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Sections 43, 65 & 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 63 of Copyright Act Sections 43, 65, 66 & 66B of the Information Technology Act and section 63 of Copyright Act

 

Scenario 2:

The suspect (usually an employee of the victim) steals the source code and uses it as a base to make and sell his own version of the software.

 

Modus Operandi: If the suspect is an employee of the victim, he would usually have direct or indirect access to the source code. He would steal a copy of the source code and hide it using a virtual or physical storage device. If the suspect is not an employee of the victim, he would hack into the victim’s servers to steal the source code. Or he would use social engineering to get unauthorised access to the code.

 

He would then modify the source code (either himself or in association with other programmers) and launch his own software.

 

Usual motives: Illegal financial gain.

 

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Sections 43, 65 & 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 63 of Copyright Act Sections 43, 65, 66 & 66B of the Information Technology Act and section 63 of Copyright Act

7. Theft of Confidential Information

Most business organizations store their sensitive information in computer systems. This information is targeted by rivals, criminals and sometimes disgruntled employees.

 

Scenario 1:

A business rival obtains the information (e.g. tender quotations, business plans etc) using hacking or social engineering. He then uses the information for the benefit of his own business (e.g. quoting lower rates for the tender).

 

Usual motives: Illegal financial gain.

 

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Sections 43 & 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 426 of Indian Penal Code Sections 43, 66 & 66B of the Information Technology Act and section 426 of Indian Penal Code

 

Scenario 2:

A criminal obtains the information by hacking or social engineering and threatens to make the information public unless the victim pays him some money.

 

Usual motives: Illegal financial gain.

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Sections 43 & 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 384 of Indian Penal Code Sections 43, 66 & 66B of the Information Technology Act and section 384 of Indian Penal Code

 

Scenario 3:

A disgruntled employee steals the information and mass mails it to the victim’s rivals and also posts it to numerous websites and newsgroups.

 

Usual motives: Revenge.

 

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Sections 43 and 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 426 of Indian Penal Code Sections 43, 66, 66B of the Information Technology Act and section 426 of Indian Penal Code

8. Software Piracy

Many people do not consider software piracy to be theft. They would never steal a rupee from someone but would not think twice before using pirated software. There is a common perception amongst normal computer users to not consider software as “property”.  This has led to software piracy becoming a flourishing business.

 

Scenario 1:

The software pirate sells the pirated software in physical media (usually CD ROMs) through a close network of dealers.

Modus Operandi: The suspect uses high speed CD duplication equipment to create multiple copies of the pirated software. This software is sold through a network of computer hardware and software vendors.

Usual motives: Illegal financial gain.

 

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Section 43 & 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 63 of Copyright Act Section 43 & 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 63 of Copyright Act

 

Scenario 2:

The software pirate sells the pirated software through electronic downloads through websites, bulletin boards, newsgroups, spam etc.

Modus Operandi: The suspect registers a domain name using a fictitious name and then hosts his website using a service provider that is based in a country that does not have cyber laws. Such service providers do not divulge client information to law enforcement officials of other countries.

Usual motives: Illegal financial gain.

 

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Section 43 & 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 63 of Copyright Act Section 43 & 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 63 of Copyright Act

9. Music Piracy

Many people do not consider music piracy to be theft. They would never steal a rupee from someone but would not think twice before buying or using pirated music. There is a common perception amongst people that music is not “property”. There is a huge business in music piracy. Thousands of unscrupulous businessmen sell pirated music at throw away prices.

 

Scenario 1:

The music pirate sells the pirated music in physical media (usually CD ROMs) through a close network of dealers.

Modus Operandi: The suspect uses high speed CD duplication equipment to create multiple copies of the pirated music. This music is sold through a network of dealers.

Usual motives: Illegal financial gain.

 

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Section 43 & 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 63 of Copyright Act Section 43 & 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 63 of Copyright Act

 

Scenario 2:

The music pirate sells the pirated music through electronic downloads through websites, bulletin boards, newsgroups, spam emails etc.

Modus Operandi: The suspect registers a domain name using a fictitious name and then hosts his website using a service provider that is based in a country that does not have cyber laws. Such service providers do not divulge client information to law enforcement officials of other countries.

Usual motives: Illegal financial gain.

 

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Section 43 & 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 63 of Copyright Act Section 43 & 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 63 of Copyright Act

10. Email Scams

Emails are fast emerging as one of the most common methods of communication in the modern world. As can be expected, criminals are also using emails extensively for their illicit activities.

 

In the first step, the suspect convinces the victim that the victim is going to get a lot of money (by way of winning a lottery or from a corrupt African bureaucrat who wants to transfer his ill gotten gains out of his home country). In order to convince the victim, the suspect sends emails (some having official looking documents as attachments).

 

Once the victim believes this story, the suspect asks for a small fee to cover legal expenses or courier charges. If the victim pays up the money, the suspect stops all contact.

 

Usual motive: Illegal financial gain.

 

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Section 420 of Indian Penal Code Sections 66A and 66D of the Information Technology Act and section 420 of Indian Penal Code

Rohas Nagpal
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Author bio not avialable

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