Cyber Crime

This article was submitted by Syed Zakiyyah Sulthana from Dr.B.R.Ambedkar college of law, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam for National Legal Writing Competition,2016.


The crime that involves a computer and a network is Cyber crime. It is also called as computer crime. Cyber crime, especially through the internet has grown in importance as the computer has become central to commerce, entertainment and government. Most cyber crime is an attack on information about individuals, corporations or governments. Although the attacks do not take place on physical body they do take place on personal or corporate virtual body, which is the set of informational attributes that define people and institutions on the internet.

Internet simply means a global network of computer. It all began in 1969 when America’s department of defense commissioned the construction of a super network called ARPANET. The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was basically as a military network of 40 computers connected by a web of links and lines. This network slowly grew and became known as the internet. By 1981, over 200 computers were connected from all around the world. Today the figure runs into millions.

As technology advances and more people rely on the internet to store sensitive information such as banking or credit card information, criminals are attempting to steal that information. Cyber crime is not only becoming more of a threat to people in India but also people across the world. Law which deals with cyber crimes are cyber laws. The term cyber law is in fact a misnomer. There are no specific laws in relating to cyber world. Cyber law is a term which refers to all the legal and regulatory aspects of internet and World Wide Web.


A Technical definition of Cyber Crime is “All the ways in which computers and other types of portable electronic devices, such as cell phones and PDA’s that are capable of connecting to the internet, are used to break laws and cause harm.”

Cyber crime from the perspective of gender is defined as the cyber crime against women “crimes targeted against women with a motive to intentionally harm the victim psychologically and physically, using modern telecommunication networks such as internet and mobile phones”.


Different countries adopt different modalities of classification depending on the impact of crimes on their society. There are some crimes, which stand out and are rather common, considering their capacity to cause harm to large sections of the society. Some of such crimes are:

1) FINANCIAL CRIME: -Money is common motive behind all such criminals. Of late, more and more cyber crimes are being committed for financial gain rather than for fun or revenue or challenge. With the advent of online and mobile banking, online trading, and online marketing and selling of merchandise, greener pastures have opened up for cyber criminals. Newer and innovative methods of cheating people for their money are being devised every minute.

  • FRAUD AND CHEATING-Fraud and cheating is classified as:

a) Online fraud and cheating

b) Fraud committed taking advantage of security weakness in computer system

c) Forgery

Online fraud and cheating is the most lucrative criminal activity in cyber space. There is dishonesty and intentional misrepresentation of factual data at various stages:-

At the input level, data is falsified and entered in a manner that makes it appear genuine

At the output level, information is altered or destroyed to conceal unauthorized transactions

At the storage level, data is altered or deleted to camouflage the criminal intent

2) INFORMATION THEFT: – Theft of confidential information is for reason ranging from revenge to espionage. All confidential information is vulnerable to theft, whether it is at rest, in transit or is under process. Spyware installed by attackers on desktops and other devices can collect sensitive information when it is being processed or being entered. Hacking is breaking into a computer or network using readymade computer programs or through social engineering technique.

  • CYBER EXTORTION: Cyber Extortion is a crime involving an attack or threat of attack against an enterprise, generally using Denial of service attacks or other kinds of attacks coupled with a demand for money to avert or stop the attack. The criminals operate from remote, countries using fake or forged identities so that the probability of identifying and prosecuting will become difficult.
  • DRUG TRFFICKING: The crimes involving drugs include

            Using internet cafes to arrange illegal deals of drug sale

            Using website to track illegal packages of pills

            Using restricted access chat rooms to swap recipes for amphetamines

  • WEAPONS AND ILLEGAL GOODS / ACTIVITIES: Illegal activities like gambling are increasing on the internet. This is not totally illegal, as some countries have legalized certain forms of online gambling. However, the issue arises when a user from a country, where such sites are illegal, gambles online.

3) HARASSMENT: – Comments directed at someone that can be derogatory or offensive tantamount to harassment. These comments can also be aimed at specific people or groups involving gender, race and religion and so on. Harassment can be

  • VIA MAIL: This is very similar to the traditional method of harassment through letters. The mail can be threatening or emotional blackmail. These defamatory and annoying messages are generally forwarded to the victims through false mail accounts.
  • CYBER STALKING: Cyber stalking means pursuing a person’s movements on the internet and posting mail messages that bombard him or her on the sites he or she frequently visits.
  • DEFAMATION: Lowering a person’s image in others’ estimate so that he or she is shunned or exposed to ridicule using a virtual medium is known as cyber defamation. It can also be called as Cyber Smearing.

4) CYBER TERRORISM: – Cyber terrorism is any act that endangers the integrity of the nation or puts the people in fear or affects the harmony between different groups based on religion, language or anything else. A simple email propagating that there will be a bomb attack can be considered as cyber terrorism.

  • CYBER WARFARE: The information systems and computer networks of a countries army/air force/navy are attacked in such cyber warfare. This kind of attacks is now-a-days becoming very common among the nations.

5) INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY THEFT: -It means the ownership of rights related to software, copyright, trademark, and other such intangible assets. When these rights of an owner are deprived of completely or partially, it is said to be Intellectual Proper Right (IPR) violation.

6) COMPUTER VANDALISM: – Any physical harm done to the computer including theft of a computer, its parts or peripherals or any type of damage caused is called computer vandalism. It is a program that performs malicious functions such as extracting a user’s password or other data or erasing the hard disk.


The only Act regulating some part of the internet is Information Technology Act, 2000. The IT Act has dealt with both civil offences and criminal offences. It has identified the criminal conduct vis-à-vis computer network, computer system or computer. It introduces power to prosecute those that deliberately and without authorization, misuse computer systems.

Syed Asiffuddin and Ors. Vs the State of Andhra Pradesh and Anr 2005 Cri LJ 4314

The question whether the manipulation of electronic 32-bit number (ESN) programmed into Samsung N191 and LG-2030 cell phone instrument exclusively franchised to second respondent amounts to altering source code used by these computer headset i.e., cell point instruments. In the background facts, a question would also arise whether such alteration amounts to hacking with computer system? If the query answered in the affirmative, it is also open to the police to alter the FIR or it is always open to the criminal court to frame a charge specifically with regard to hacking with computer system, which is an offence under section 66of the IT Act. At this stage, we may read sections 65 and 66 of the IT Act.

SMC Pneumatics (India) Pvt. Ltd. Vs Jogesh Kwatra Suit No. 1279/2001 Delhi HC

This order of Delhi High court assumes tremendous significance as this is for the first time that an Indian court assumes jurisdiction in a matter concerning cyber defamation and grants an ex-parte injunction restraining the defendant from defaming the plaintiffs by sending derogatory, defamatory, abusive and obscene emails either to the plaintiffs or their subsidiaries.

Manish kathuria Vs ritu kohli

Ritu kohli case, being India’s first case of cyber stalking. A young Indian girl being cyber stalked by a former colleague of her husband, Ritu kohli’s case took the imagination of India by storm. The case which got cracked however predated the passing of the Indian Cyber law and hence it was just registered as a minor offence under the Indian Penal Code.

The state of Tamil Nadu Vs suhas katti (2004)

The accused was found guilty of offences under section 469,509 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 and under section 67 of Information Technology Act, 2000 for Harassment via mail. The period undergone by the accused will be set off under section 428 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

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