Some real life scenarios

April 6, 2010, by | Start Discussion

In this and next few issues we’ll analyzes some of the common cyber related crimes from a legal perspective.

Social networking sites related cases

Social networking sites like Orkut and Facebook are very popular nowadays. Users of such sites can search for and interact with people who share the same hobbies and interests. The profiles of such users are usually publicly viewable.   

Scenario 1:

A fake profile of a woman is created on a social networking site. The profile displays her correct name and contact information (such as address, residential phone number, cell phone number etc). Sometimes it even has her photograph. The problem is that the profile describes her as a prostitute or a woman of “loose character” who wants to have sexual relations with anyone. Other members see this profile and start calling her at all hours of the day asking for sexual favours. This leads to a lot of harassment for the victim and also defames her.


Usual motives: Jealousy or revenge (e.g. the victim may have rejected the advances made by the suspect).

 

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Section 67 of the Information Technology Act and section 509 of Indian Penal Code Sections 66A and 67 of the Information Technology Act and section 509 of Indian Penal Code

 

Scenario 2:

An online hate community is created. This community displays objectionable information against a particular country, religious or ethnic group or even against national leaders and historical figures.

Usual motives: Desire to cause racial hatred and communal discord and disharmony.

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Section 153A & 153B of Indian Penal Code Section 66A of the Information Technology Act and sections 153A & 153B of Indian Penal Code

 

Scenario 3:

A fake profile of a man is created on Orkut/facebook. The profile contains defamatory information about the victim (such as his alleged sexual weakness, alleged immoral character etc).

Usual motives: Hatred (e.g. a school student who has failed may victimize his teachers).

Applicable law

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Section 500 of Indian Penal Code Section 66A of the Information Technology Act and section 500 of Indian Penal Code

Email Account Hacking

Emails are increasingly being used for social interaction, business communication and online transactions. Most email account holders do not take basic precautions to protect their email account passwords. Cases of theft of email passwords and subsequent misuse of email accounts are becoming very common.

Scenario 1:

The victim’s email account password is stolen and the account is then misused for sending out malicious code (virus, worm, Trojan etc) to people in the victim’s address book. The recipients of these viruses believe that the email is coming from a known person and run the attachments. This infects their computers with the malicious code. 

Usual motives: Corporate espionage or a perverse pleasure in being able to destroy valuable information belonging to strangers etc.

 

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Sections 43 and 66 of the Information Technology Act Sections 43, 66, 66A and 66C of the Information Technology Act

Scenario 2:

The victim’s email account password is stolen and the hacker tries to extort money from the victim. The victim is threatened that if he does not pay the money, the information contained in the emails will be misused.

Usual motives: Illegal financial gain.

Applicable law

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Sections 43 and 66 of the Information Technology Act Sections 43, 66, 66A & 66C of the Information Technology Act

 

Scenario 3:

The victim’s email account password is stolen and obscene emails are sent to people in the victim’s address book.

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Sections 43, 66 and 67of the Information Technology Act Section 43, 66, 66A and 67 of the Information Technology Act  

Additionally, depending upon the content, sections 66C and 67B of the Information Technology Act may also apply

Credit Card Fraud


Credit cards are commonly being used for online booking of airline and railway tickets and for other ecommerce transactions. Although most ecommerce websites have implemented strong security measures (such as SSL, secure web servers etc), instances of credit card frauds are increasing.

 

In credit card fraud cases, the victim’s credit card information is stolen and misused for making online purchases (e.g. airline tickets, software, subscription to pornographic websites etc).

 

Modus Operandi 1: The suspect would install keyloggers in public computers (such as cyber cafes, airport lounges etc) or the computer of the victim. Unsuspecting victims would use these infected computers to make online transactions. The credit card information of the victim would be emailed to the suspect.

 

Modus Operandi 2: Petrol pump attendants, workers at retail outlets, hotel waiters etc note down information of the credit cards used for making payment at these establishments. This information is sold to criminal gangs that misuse it for online frauds.

 

Usual motives: Illegal financial gain

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Sections 43 and 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 420 of Indian Penal Code Sections 43, 66, 66C, 66D of the Information Technology Act and section 420 of Indian Penal Code

Online Share Trading Fraud

With the advent of dematerialization of shares in India, it has become mandatory for investors to have demat accounts. In most cases, an online banking account is linked with the share trading account. This has led to a large number of online share trading frauds.

Scenario 1:

The victim’s account passwords are stolen and his accounts are misused for making fraudulent bank transfers.

Usual motives: Illegal financial gain

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Sections 43 and 66 of the Information Technology Act and section 420 of Indian Penal Code Sections 43, 66, 66C & 66D of the Information Technology Act and section 420 of Indian Penal Code

Scenario 2:

The victim’s account passwords are stolen and his share trading accounts are misused for making unauthorised transactions that result in the victim making losses.

Usual motives: Revenge, jealousy, hatred.

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, 66C & 66D of the Information Technology Act and section 426 of Indian Penal Code

 

Modus Operandi:

The suspect would install keyloggers in public computers (such as cyber cafes, airport lounges etc) or the computer of the victim. Unsuspecting victims would use these infected computers to login to their online banking and share trading accounts. The passwords and other information of the victim would be emailed to the suspect.

Tax Evasion and Money Laundering


Many unscrupulous businessmen and money launderers (havala operators) are using virtual as well as physical storage media for hiding information and records of their illicit business.

Scenario 1:

The suspect uses physical storage media for hiding the information e.g. hard drives, floppies, USB drives, mobile phone memory cards, digital camera memory cards, CD ROMs, DVD ROMs, iPods etc.

Usual motives: Illegal financial gain.

Applicable law

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Information Technology Act usually does not apply. Applicable laws are usually the Income Tax Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Information Technology Act usually does not apply. Applicable laws are usually the Income Tax Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Scenario 2:

The suspect uses virtual storage media for hiding the information e.g. email accounts, online briefcases, FTP sites, Gspace etc.

Applicable law

 

Before 27 October, 2009 After 27 October, 2009
Information Technology Act usually does not apply. Applicable laws are usually the Income Tax Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Information Technology Act usually does not apply. Applicable laws are usually the Income Tax Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.


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