Cyberspace can be defined as an intricate environment that involves interactions between people, software, and services. It is maintained by the worldwide distribution of information and communication technology devices and networks.
With the benefits carried by the technological advancements, the cyberspace today has become a common pool used by citizens, businesses, critical information infrastructure, military and governments in a fashion that makes it hard to induce clear boundaries among these different groups. The cyberspace is anticipated to become even more complex in the upcoming years, with the increase in networks and devices connected to it.
Cybersecurity denotes the technologies and procedures intended to safeguard computers, networks, and data from unlawful admittance, weaknesses, and attacks transported through the Internet by cyber delinquents.
ISO 27001 (ISO27001) is the international Cybersecurity Standard that delivers a model for creating, applying, functioning, monitoring, reviewing, preserving, and improving an Information Security Management System.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology under the government of India provides a strategy outline called the National Cybersecurity Policy. The purpose of this government body is to protect the public and private infrastructure from cyber-attacks.
The cybersecurity policy is a developing mission that caters to the entire field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) users and providers. It includes −
It serves as an authority framework that defines and guides the activities associated with the security of cyberspace. It allows all sectors and organizations in designing suitable cybersecurity policies to meet their requirements. The policy provides an outline to effectively protect information, information systems and networks.
It gives an understanding into the Government’s approach and strategy for security of cyber space in the country. It also sketches some pointers to allow collaborative working across the public and private sectors to safeguard information and information systems. Therefore, the aim of this policy is to create a cybersecurity framework, which leads to detailed actions and programs to increase the security carriage of cyberspace.
The Information Technology Act 2000 or any legislation in the Country does not describe or mention the term Cyber Crime. It can be globally considered as the gloomier face of technology. The only difference between a traditional crime and a cyber-crime is that the cyber-crime involves in a crime related to computers. Let us see the following example to understand it better −
Traditional Theft − A thief breaks into Ram’s house and steals an object kept in the house.
Hacking − A Cyber Criminal/Hacker sitting in his own house, through his computer, hacks the computer of Ram and steals the data saved in Ram’s computer without physically touching the computer or entering in Ram’s house.
The I.T. Act, 2000 defines the terms −
access in computer network in section 2(a)
computer in section 2(i)
computer network in section (2j)
data in section 2(0)
information in section 2(v).
To understand the concept of Cyber Crime, you should know these laws. The object of offence or target in a cyber-crime are either the computer or the data stored in the computer.
Among the most serious challenges of the 21st century are the prevailing and possible threats in the sphere of cybersecurity. Threats originate from all kinds of sources, and mark themselves in disruptive activities that target individuals, businesses, national infrastructures, and governments alike. The effects of these threats transmit significant risk for the following −
Malicious use of information technology can easily be concealed. It is difficult to determine the origin or the identity of the criminal. Even the motivation for the disruption is not an easy task to find out. Criminals of these activities can only be worked out from the target, the effect, or other circumstantial evidence. Threat actors can operate with considerable freedom from virtually anywhere. The motives for disruption can be anything such as −
Criminals, terrorists, and sometimes the State themselves act as the source of these threats. Criminals and hackers use different kinds of malicious tools and approaches. With the criminal activities taking new shapes every day, the possibility for harmful actions propagates.
The lack of information security awareness among users, who could be a simple school going kid, a system administrator, a developer, or even a CEO of a company, leads to a variety of cyber vulnerabilities. The awareness policy classifies the following actions and initiatives for the purpose of user awareness, education, and training −
A complete awareness program to be promoted on a national level.
A comprehensive training program that can cater to the needs of the national information security (Programs on IT security in schools, colleges, and universities).
Enhance the effectiveness of the prevailing information security training programs. Plan domain-specific training programs (e.g., Law Enforcement, Judiciary, E-Governance, etc.)
Endorse private-sector support for professional information security certifications.
The Government of India enacted The Information Technology Act with some major objectives which are as follows −
To deliver lawful recognition for transactions through electronic data interchange (EDI) and other means of electronic communication, commonly referred to as electronic commerce or E-Commerce. The aim was to use replacements of paper-based methods of communication and storage of information.
To facilitate electronic filing of documents with the Government agencies and further to amend the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Bankers' Books Evidence Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The Information Technology Act, 2000, was thus passed as the Act No.21 of 2000. The I. T. Act got the President’s assent on June 9, 2000 and it was made effective from October 17, 2000. By adopting this Cyber Legislation, India became the 12th nation in the world to adopt a Cyber Law regime.
The following mission caters to cybersecurity −
To safeguard information and information infrastructure in cyberspace.
To build capabilities to prevent and respond to cyber threats.
To reduce vulnerabilities and minimize damage from cyber incidents through a combination of institutional structures, people, processes, technology, and cooperation.
To build a secure and resilient cyberspace for citizens, businesses, and Government.
The recent Edward Snowden revelations on the US surveillance program PRISM have demonstrated how a legal entity network and computer system outside a particular jurisdiction is subject to surveillance without the knowledge of such legal entities. Cyber cases related to interception and snooping are increasing at an alarming rate. To curb such crimes, cyber laws are being amended quite regularly.
Reports reveal that upcoming years will experience more cyber-attacks. So organizations are advised to strengthen their data supply chains with better inspection methods.
Some of the emerging trends of cyber law are listed below −
Stringent regulatory rules are put in place by many countries to prevent unauthorized access to networks. Such acts are declared as penal offences.
Stakeholders of the mobile companies will call upon the governments of the world to reinforce cyber-legal systems and administrations to regulate the emerging mobile threats and crimes.
The growing awareness on privacy is another upcoming trend. Google’s chief internet expert Vint Cerf has stated that privacy may actually be an anomaly.
Cloud computing is another major growing trend. With more advancements in the technology, huge volumes of data will flow into the cloud which is not completely immune to cyber-crimes.
The growth of Bitcoins and other virtual currency is yet another trend to watch out for. Bitcoin crimes are likely to multiply in the near future.
The arrival and acceptance of data analytics, which is another major trend to be followed, requires that appropriate attention is given to issues concerning Big Data.
While the U.S. government has declared October as the National Cybersecurity Awareness month, India is following the trend to implement some stringent awareness scheme for the general public.
The general public is partially aware of the crimes related to virus transfer. However, they are unaware of the bigger picture of the threats that could affect their cyber-lives. There is a huge lack of knowledge on e-commerce and online banking cyber-crimes among most of the internet users.
Be vigilant and follow the tips given below while you participate in online activities −
Filter the visibility of personal information in social sites.
Do not keep the "remember password" button active for any email address and passwords
Make sure your online banking platform is secure.
Keep a watchful eye while shopping online.
Do not save passwords on mobile devices.
Secure the login details for mobile devices and computers, etc.
The "Cyberlaw Trends in India 2013" and "Cyber law Developments in India in 2014" are two prominent and trustworthy cyber-law related research works provided by Perry4Law Organization (P4LO) for the years 2013 and 2014.
There are some grave cyber law related issues that deserve immediate consideration by the government of India. The issues were put forward by the Indian cyber law roundup of 2014 provided by P4LO and Cyber Crimes Investigation Centre of India (CCICI). Following are some major issues −
With the formation of cyber-law compulsions, the obligation of banks for cyber-thefts and cyber-crimes would considerably increase in the near future. Indian banks would require to keep a dedicated team of cyber law experts or seek help of external experts in this regard.
The transactions of cyber-insurance should be increased by the Indian insurance sector as a consequence of the increasing cyber-attacks and cyber-crimes.
To create an international network on cybersecurity, a conference was held in March 2014 in New Delhi, India.
The objectives set in the International Conference on Cyberlaw & Cybercrime are as follows −
To recognize the developing trends in Cyberlaw and the legislation impacting cyberspace in the current situation.
To generate better awareness to battle the latest kinds of cybercrimes impacting all investors in the digital and mobile network.
To recognize the areas for stakeholders of digital and mobile network where Cyberlaw needs to be further evolved.
To work in the direction of creating an international network of cybercrimes. Legal authorities could then be a significant voice in the further expansion of cyber-crimes and cyber law legislations throughout the globe.
Intellectual property rights are the legal rights that cover the privileges given to individuals who are the owners and inventors of a work, and have created something with their intellectual creativity. Individuals related to areas such as literature, music, invention, etc., can be granted such rights, which can then be used in the business practices by them.
The creator/inventor gets exclusive rights against any misuse or use of work without his/her prior information. However, the rights are granted for a limited period of time to maintain equilibrium.
The following list of activities which are covered by the intellectual property rights are laid down by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) −
Intellectual Property Rights can be further classified into the following categories −
Intellectual property rights are advantageous in the following ways −
Provides exclusive rights to the creators or inventors.
Encourages individuals to distribute and share information and data instead of keeping it confidential.
Provides legal defense and offers the creators the incentive of their work.
Helps in social and financial development.
To protect the intellectual property rights in the Indian territory, India has defined the formation of constitutional, administrative and jurisdictive outline whether they imply the copyright, patent, trademark, industrial designs, or any other parts of the intellectual property rights.
Back in the year 1999, the government passed an important legislation based on international practices to safeguard the intellectual property rights. Let us have a glimpse of the same −
The Patents (Amendment) Act, 1999, facilitates the establishment of the mail box system for filing patents. It offers exclusive marketing rights for a time period of five years.
The Trade Marks Bill, 1999, replaced the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958
The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1999, was signed by the President of India.
The sui generis legislation was approved and named as the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Bill, 1999.
The Industrial Designs Bill, 1999, replaced the Designs Act, 1911.
The Patents (Second Amendment) Bill, 1999, for further amending the Patents Act of 1970 in compliance with the TRIPS.
Every new invention in the field of technology experiences a variety of threats. Internet is one such threat, which has captured the physical marketplace and have converted it into a virtual marketplace.
To safeguard the business interest, it is vital to create an effective property management and protection mechanism keeping in mind the considerable amount of business and commerce taking place in the Cyber Space.
Today it is critical for every business to develop an effective and collaborative IP management mechanism and protection strategy. The ever-looming threats in the cybernetic world can thus be monitored and confined.
Various approaches and legislations have been designed by the law-makers to up the ante in delivering a secure configuration against such cyber-threats. However it is the duty of the intellectual property right (IPR) owner to invalidate and reduce such mala fide acts of criminals by taking proactive measures.
To design and implement a secure cyberspace, some stringent strategies have been put in place. This chapter explains the major strategies employed to ensure cybersecurity, which include the following −
The cyber ecosystem involves a wide range of varied entities like devices (communication technologies and computers), individuals, governments, private organizations, etc., which interact with each other for numerous reasons.
This strategy explores the idea of having a strong and robust cyber-ecosystem where the cyber-devices can work with each other in the future to prevent cyber-attacks, reduce their effectiveness, or find solutions to recover from a cyber-attack.
Such a cyber-ecosystem would have the ability built into its cyber devices to permit secured ways of action to be organized within and among groups of devices. This cyber-ecosystem can be supervised by present monitoring techniques where software products are used to detect and report security weaknesses.
A strong cyber-ecosystem has three symbiotic structures − Automation, Interoperability, and Authentication.
Automation − It eases the implementation of advanced security measures, enhances the swiftness, and optimizes the decision-making processes.
Interoperability − It toughens the collaborative actions, improves awareness, and accelerates the learning procedure. There are three types of interoperability −
Authentication − It improves the identification and verification technologies that work in order to provide −
The following table shows the Comparison of Attack Categories against Desired Cyber Ecosystem Capabilities −
The following diagram was prepared by Guilbert Gates for The New York Times, which shows how an Iranian plant was hacked through the internet.
Explanation − A program was designed to automatically run the Iranian nuclear plant. Unfortunately, a worker who was unaware of the threats introduced the program into the controller. The program collected all the data related to the plant and sent the information to the intelligence agencies who then developed and inserted a worm into the plant. Using the worm, the plant was controlled by miscreants which led to the generation of more worms and as a result, the plant failed completely.
The following table describes the attack categories −
|Attack Category||Description of Attack|
Methods used to damage networks and systems. It includes the following −
|Malware||Any malicious software used to interrupt normal computer operation and harm information assets without the owner’s consent. Any execution from a removable device can enhance the threat of a malware.|
An attempt to intentionally exploit weaknesses to get unethical access, usually conducted remotely. It may include −
Using social tactics such as deception and manipulation to acquire access to data, systems or controls. It includes −
|Improper Usage (Insider Threat)||
Misuse of rights to data and controls by an individual in an organization that would violate the organization’s policies. It includes −
|Physical Action/Loss or Theft of Equipment||
Human-Driven attacks such as −
|Multiple Component||Single attach techniques which contains several advanced attack techniques and components.|
Attacks such as −
The objective of this strategy is to design an outline in compliance with the global security standards through traditional products, processes, people, and technology.
To cater to the national security requirements, a national framework known as the Cybersecurity Assurance Framework was developed. It accommodates critical infrastructure organizations and the governments through "Enabling and Endorsing" actions.
Enabling actions are performed by government entities that are autonomous bodies free from commercial interests. The publication of "National Security Policy Compliance Requirements" and IT security guidelines and documents to enable IT security implementation and compliance are done by these authorities.
Endorsing actions are involved in profitable services after meeting the obligatory qualification standards and they include the following −
ISO 27001/BS 7799 ISMS certification, IS system audits etc., which are essentially the compliance certifications.
'Common Criteria' standard ISO 15408 and Crypto module verification standards, which are the IT Security product evaluation and certification.
Services to assist consumers in implementation of IT security such as IT security manpower training.
Indian IT/ITES/BPOs need to comply with the international standards and best practices on security and privacy with the development of the outsourcing market. ISO 9000, CMM, Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, ISO 27001 etc., are some of the certifications.
Existing models such as SEI CMM levels are exclusively meant for software development processes and do not address security issues. Therefore, several efforts are made to create a model based on self-certification concept and on the lines of Software Capability Maturity Model (SW-CMM) of CMU, USA.
The structure that has been produced through such association between industry and government, comprises of the following −
These parameters help the owners and operators of critical infrastructure to manage cybersecurity-related risks.
Standards play a significant role in defining how we approach information security related issues across geographical regions and societies. Open standards are encouraged to −
Standards such as ISO 27001 encourage the implementation of a standard organization structure, where customers can understand processes, and reduce the costs of auditing.
The objective of this strategy is to create a secure cyberspace ecosystem and strengthen the regulatory framework. A 24X7 mechanism has been envisioned to deal with cyber threats through National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC). The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has been designated to act as a nodal agency for crisis management.
Some highlights of this strategy are as follows −
Promotion of research and development in cybersecurity.
Developing human resource through education and training programs.
Encouraging all organizations, whether public or private, to designate a person to serve as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) who will be responsible for cybersecurity initiatives.
Indian Armed Forces are in the process of establishing a cyber-command as a part of strengthening the cybersecurity of defense network and installations.
Effective implementation of public-private partnership is in pipeline that will go a long way in creating solutions to the ever-changing threat landscape.
Some basic mechanisms that are in place for ensuring IT security are − link-oriented security measures, end-to-end security measures, association-oriented measures, and data encryption. These methods differ in their internal application features and also in the attributes of the security they provide. Let us discuss them in brief.
It delivers security while transferring data between two nodes, irrespective of the eventual source and destination of the data.
It is a medium for transporting Protocol Data Units (PDUs) in a protected manner from source to destination in such a way that disruption of any of their communication links does not violate security.
Association-oriented measures are a modified set of end-to-end measures that protect every association individually.
It defines some general features of conventional ciphers and the recently developed class of public-key ciphers. It encodes information in a way that only the authorized personnel can decrypt them.
Electronic governance (e-governance) is the most treasured instrument with the government to provide public services in an accountable manner. Unfortunately, in the current scenario, there is no devoted legal structure for e-governance in India.
Similarly, there is no law for obligatory e-delivery of public services in India. And nothing is more hazardous and troublesome than executing e-governance projects without sufficient cybersecurity. Hence, securing the e-governance services has become a crucial task, especially when the nation is making daily transactions through cards.
Fortunately, the Reserve Bank of India has implemented security and risk mitigation measures for card transactions in India enforceable from 1st October, 2013. It has put the responsibility of ensuring secured card transactions upon banks rather than on customers.
"E-government" or electronic government refers to the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by government bodies for the following −
Critical information infrastructure is the backbone of a country’s national and economic security. It includes power plants, highways, bridges, chemical plants, networks, as well as the buildings where millions of people work every day. These can be secured with stringent collaboration plans and disciplined implementations.
Safeguarding critical infrastructure against developing cyber-threats needs a structured approach. It is required that the government aggressively collaborates with public and private sectors on a regular basis to prevent, respond to, and coordinate mitigation efforts against attempted disruptions and adverse impacts to the nation’s critical infrastructure.
It is in demand that the government works with business owners and operators to reinforce their services and groups by sharing cyber and other threat information.
A common platform should be shared with the users to submit comments and ideas, which can be worked together to build a tougher foundation for securing and protecting critical infrastructures.
The government of USA has passed an executive order "Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity" in 2013 that prioritizes the management of cybersecurity risk involved in the delivery of critical infrastructure services. This Framework provides a common classification and mechanism for organizations to −
This chapter takes you through the various policies laid to minimize cyber risk. It is only with well-defined policies that the threats generated in the cyberspace can be reduced.
Due to the ever-increasing dependence on the Internet, the biggest challenge we face today is the security of information from miscreants. Therefore, it is essential to promote research and development in cybersecurity so that we can come up with robust solutions to mitigate cyber risks.
Cybersecurity Research is the area that is concerned with preparing solutions to deal with cyber criminals. With increasing amount of internet attacks, advanced persistent threats and phishing, lots of research and technological developments are required in the future.
In the recent years, India has witnessed an enormous growth in cyber technologies. Hence it calls for an investment in the research and development activities of cybersecurity. India has also seen many successful research outcomes that were translated into businesses, through the advent of local cybersecurity companies.
Research work to mitigate cyber-threats is already being commenced in India. There is a proactive response mechanism in place to deal with cyber threats. Research and Development activities are already underway at various research organizations in India to fight threats in cyberspace.
Multi-identity based expertise such as Next Generation Firewall that offers security intelligence to enterprises and enable them to apply best suited security controls at the network perimeter are also being worked on.
Research in protocols and algorithms is a significant phase for the consolidation of cybersecurity at a technical level. It defines the rules for information sharing and processing over cyberspace. In India, protocol and algorithm level research includes −
Authentication techniques such as Key Management, Two Factor Authentication, and Automated key Management provide the ability to encrypt and decrypt without a centralized key management system and file protection. There is continuous research happening to strengthen these authentication techniques.
With the adoption of varied types of mobile devices, the research on the security and privacy related tasks on mobile devices has increased. Mobile security testing, Cloud Security, and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) risk mitigation are some of the areas where a lot of research is being done.
Cyber Forensics is the application of analysis techniques to collect and recover data from a system or a digital storage media. Some of the specific areas where research is being done in India are −
Formally, supply chain risk can be defined as −
Any risk that an opponent may damage, write some malicious function to it, deconstruct the design, installation, procedure, or maintenance of a supply item or a system so that the entire function can be degraded.
Supply chain is a global issue and there is a requirement to find out the interdependencies among the customers and suppliers. In today’s scenario it is important to know − What are the SCRM problems? and How to address the problems?
An effective SCRM (Supply Chain Risk Management) approach requires a strong public-private partnership. Government should have strong authorities to handle supply chain issues. Even private sectors can play a key role in a number of areas.
We cannot provide a one-size-fits-all resolution for managing supply chain risks. Depending on the product and the sector, the costs for reducing risks will weigh differently. Public Private Partnerships should be encouraged to resolve risks associated with supply chain management.
Cybersecurity policies of an organization can be effective, provided all its employees understand their value and exhibit a strong commitment towards implementing them. Human resource directors can play a key role in keeping organizations safe in cyberspace by applying the following few points.
As most of the employees do not take the risk factor seriously, hackers find it easy to target organizations. In this regard, HR plays a key role in educating employees about the impact their attitudes and behavior have on the organization’s security.
Policies of a company must be in sync with the way employees think and behave. For example, saving passwords on systems is a threat, however continuous monitoring can prevent it. The HR team is best placed to advise whether policies are likely to work and whether they are appropriate.
It also happens that cyber-criminals take the help of insiders in a company to hack their network. Therefore it is essential to identify employees who may present a particular risk and have stringent HR policies for them.
Cybersecurity in India is still in its evolution stage. This is the best time to create awareness on issues related to cyber security. It would be easy to create awareness from the grass-root level like schools where users can be made aware how Internet works and what are its potential threats.
Every cyber café, home/personal computers, and office computers should be protected through firewalls. Users should be instructed through their service providers or gateways not to breach unauthorized networks. The threats should be described in bold and the impacts should be highlighted.
Subjects on cybersecurity awareness should be introduced in schools and colleges to make it an ongoing process.
The government must formulate strong laws to enforce cybersecurity and create sufficient awareness by broadcasting the same through television/radio/internet advertisements.
United States proposed a law called Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014 (CISA) to improve cybersecurity in the country through enhanced sharing of information about cybersecurity threats. Such laws are required in every country to share threat information among citizens.
The recent malware named Uroburos/Snake is an example of growing cyber-espionage and cyber-warfare. Stealing of sensitive information is the new trend. However, it is unfortunate that the telecom companies/internet service providers (ISPs) are not sharing information pertaining to cyber-attacks against their networks. As a result, a robust cybersecurity strategy to counter cyber-attacks cannot be formulated.
This problem can be addressed by formulating a good cybersecurity law that can establish a regulatory regime for obligatory cybersecurity breach notifications on the part of telecom companies/ISPs.
Infrastructures such as automated power grids, thermal plants, satellites, etc., are vulnerable to diverse forms of cyber-attacks and hence a breach notification program would alert the agencies to work on them.
Despite the fact that companies are spending on cybersecurity initiatives, data breaches continue to occur. According to The Wall Street Journal, "Global cybersecurity spending by critical infrastructure industries was expected to hit $46 billion in 2013, up 10% from a year earlier according to Allied Business Intelligence Inc." This calls for the effective implementation of the cybersecurity framework.
The Framework comprises of three main components −
The Framework Core is a set of cybersecurity activities and applicable references that having five simultaneous and constant functions − Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. The framework core has methods to ensure the following −
The Framework Implementation Tiers define the level of sophistication and consistency an organization employs in applying its cybersecurity practices. It has the following four levels.
Tier 1 (Partial) − In this level, the organization’s cyber-risk management profiles are not defined. There is a partial consciousness of the organization’s cybersecurity risk at the organization level. Organization-wide methodology to managing cybersecurity risk has not been recognized.
Tier 2 (Risk Informed) − In this level, organizations establish a cyber-risk management policy that is directly approved by the senior management. The senior management makes efforts to establish risk management objectives related to cybersecurity and implements them.
Tier 3 (Repeatable) − In this level, the organization runs with formal cybersecurity measures, which are regularly updated based on requirement. The organization recognizes its dependencies and partners. It also receives information from them, which helps in taking risk-based management decisions.
Tier 4 (Adaptive) − In this level, the organization adapts its cybersecurity practices "in real-time" derived from previous and current cybersecurity activities. Through a process of incessant development in combining advanced cybersecurity technologies, real-time collaboration with partners, and continuous monitoring of activities on their systems, the organization’s cybersecurity practices can quickly respond to sophisticated threats.
The Framework Profile is a tool that provides organizations a platform for storing information concerning their cybersecurity program. A profile allows organizations to clearly express the goals of their cybersecurity program.
The senior management including the directors should first get acquainted with the Framework. After which, the directors should have a detailed discussion with the management about the organization’s Implementation Tiers.
Educating the managers and staff on the Framework will ensure that everyone understands its importance. This is an important step towards the successful implementation of a vigorous cybersecurity program. The information about existing Framework Implementations may help organizations with their own approaches.
Network security is the security provided to a network from unauthorized access and risks. It is the duty of network administrators to adopt preventive measures to protect their networks from potential security threats.
Computer networks that are involved in regular transactions and communication within the government, individuals, or business require security. The most common and simple way of protecting a network resource is by assigning it a unique name and a corresponding password.
These security devices block the surplus traffic. Firewalls, antivirus scanning devices, and content filtering devices are the examples of such devices.
These devices identify and report on unwanted traffic, for example, intrusion detection appliances.
These devices scan the networks and identify potential security problems. For example, penetration testing devices and vulnerability assessment appliances.
These devices serve as all-in-one security devices. Examples include firewalls, content filtering, web caching, etc.
A firewall is a network security system that manages and regulates the network traffic based on some protocols. A firewall establishes a barrier between a trusted internal network and the internet.
Firewalls exist both as software that run on a hardware and as hardware appliances. Firewalls that are hardware-based also provide other functions like acting as a DHCP server for that network.
Most personal computers use software-based firewalls to secure data from threats from the internet. Many routers that pass data between networks contain firewall components and conversely, many firewalls can perform basic routing functions.
Firewalls are commonly used in private networks or intranets to prevent unauthorized access from the internet. Every message entering or leaving the intranet goes through the firewall to be examined for security measures.
An ideal firewall configuration consists of both hardware and software based devices. A firewall also helps in providing remote access to a private network through secure authentication certificates and logins.
Hardware firewalls are standalone products. These are also found in broadband routers. Most hardware firewalls provide a minimum of four network ports to connect other computers. For larger networks − e.g., for business purpose − business networking firewall solutions are available.
Software firewalls are installed on your computers. A software firewall protects your computer from internet threats.
An antivirus is a tool that is used to detect and remove malicious software. It was originally designed to detect and remove viruses from computers.
Modern antivirus software provide protection not only from virus, but also from worms, Trojan-horses, adwares, spywares, keyloggers, etc. Some products also provide protection from malicious URLs, spam, phishing attacks, botnets, DDoS attacks, etc.
Content filtering devices screen unpleasant and offensive emails or webpages. These are used as a part of firewalls in corporations as well as in personal computers. These devices generate the message "Access Denied" when someone tries to access any unauthorized web page or email.
Content is usually screened for pornographic content and also for violence- or hate-oriented content. Organizations also exclude shopping and job related contents.
Content filtering can be divided into the following categories −
Intrusion Detection Systems, also known as Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems, are the appliances that monitor malicious activities in a network, log information about such activities, take steps to stop them, and finally report them.
Intrusion detection systems help in sending an alarm against any malicious activity in the network, drop the packets, and reset the connection to save the IP address from any blockage. Intrusion detection systems can also perform the following actions −
As discussed in the first chapter, the Government of India enacted the Information Technology (I.T.) Act with some major objectives to deliver and facilitate lawful electronic, digital, and online transactions, and mitigate cyber-crimes.
The salient features of the I.T Act are as follows −
Digital signature has been replaced with electronic signature to make it a more technology neutral act.
It elaborates on offenses, penalties, and breaches.
It outlines the Justice Dispensation Systems for cyber-crimes.
It defines in a new section that cyber café is any facility from where the access to the internet is offered by any person in the ordinary course of business to the members of the public.
It provides for the constitution of the Cyber Regulations Advisory Committee.
It is based on The Indian Penal Code, 1860, The Indian Evidence Act, 1872, The Bankers' Books Evidence Act, 1891, The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, etc.
It adds a provision to Section 81, which states that the provisions of the Act shall have overriding effect. The provision states that nothing contained in the Act shall restrict any person from exercising any right conferred under the Copyright Act, 1957.
The following points define the scheme of the I.T. Act −
The I.T. Act contains 13 chapters and 90 sections.
The last four sections namely sections 91 to 94 in the I.T. Act 2000 deals with the amendments to the Indian Penal Code 1860, The Indian Evidence Act 1872, The Bankers’ Books Evidence Act 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act 1934 were deleted.
It commences with Preliminary aspect in Chapter 1, which deals with the short, title, extent, commencement and application of the Act in Section 1. Section 2 provides Definition.
Chapter 2 deals with the authentication of electronic records, digital signatures, electronic signatures, etc.
Chapter 11 deals with offences and penalties. A series of offences have been provided along with punishment in this part of The Act.
Thereafter the provisions about due diligence, role of intermediaries and some miscellaneous provisions are been stated.
The Act is embedded with two schedules. The First Schedule deals with Documents or Transactions to which the Act shall not apply. The Second Schedule deals with electronic signature or electronic authentication technique and procedure. The Third and Fourth Schedule are omitted.
As per the sub clause (4) of Section 1, nothing in this Act shall apply to documents or transactions specified in First Schedule. Following are the documents or transactions to which the Act shall not apply −
Negotiable Instrument (Other than a cheque) as defined in section 13 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881;
A power-of-attorney as defined in section 1A of the Powers-of-Attorney Act, 1882;
A trust as defined in section 3 of the Indian Trusts Act, 1882;
A will as defined in clause (h) of section 2 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 including any other testamentary disposition;
Any contract for the sale or conveyance of immovable property or any interest in such property;
Any such class of documents or transactions as may be notified by the Central Government.
The I.T. Act has brought amendment in four statutes vide section 91-94. These changes have been provided in schedule 1-4.
The first schedule contains the amendments in the Penal Code. It has widened the scope of the term "document" to bring within its ambit electronic documents.
The second schedule deals with amendments to the India Evidence Act. It pertains to the inclusion of electronic document in the definition of evidence.
The third schedule amends the Banker's Books Evidence Act. This amendment brings about change in the definition of "Banker's-book". It includes printouts of data stored in a floppy, disc, tape or any other form of electromagnetic data storage device. Similar change has been brought about in the expression "Certified-copy" to include such printouts within its purview.
The fourth schedule amends the Reserve Bank of India Act. It pertains to the regulation of fund transfer through electronic means between the banks or between the banks and other financial institution.
Intermediary, dealing with any specific electronic records, is a person who on behalf of another person accepts, stores or transmits that record or provides any service with respect to that record.
According to the above mentioned definition, it includes the following −
The newly amended act came with following highlights −
A digital signature is a technique to validate the legitimacy of a digital message or a document. A valid digital signature provides the surety to the recipient that the message was generated by a known sender, such that the sender cannot deny having sent the message. Digital signatures are mostly used for software distribution, financial transactions, and in other cases where there is a risk of forgery.
An electronic signature or e-signature, indicates either that a person who demands to have created a message is the one who created it.
A signature can be defined as a schematic script related with a person. A signature on a document is a sign that the person accepts the purposes recorded in the document. In many engineering companies digital seals are also required for another layer of authentication and security. Digital seals and signatures are same as handwritten signatures and stamped seals.
Digital Signature was the term defined in the old I.T. Act, 2000. Electronic Signature is the term defined by the amended act (I.T. Act, 2008). The concept of Electronic Signature is broader than Digital Signature. Section 3 of the Act delivers for the verification of Electronic Records by affixing Digital Signature.
As per the amendment, verification of electronic record by electronic signature or electronic authentication technique shall be considered reliable.
According to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), electronic authentication and signature methods may be classified into the following categories −
Those based on the knowledge of the user or the recipient, i.e., passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs), etc.
Those bases on the physical features of the user, i.e., biometrics.
Those based on the possession of an object by the user, i.e., codes or other information stored on a magnetic card.
Types of authentication and signature methods that, without falling under any of the above categories might also be used to indicate the originator of an electronic communication (Such as a facsimile of a handwritten signature, or a name typed at the bottom of an electronic message).
According to the UNCITRAL MODEL LAW on Electronic Signatures, the following technologies are presently in use −
The faster world-wide connectivity has developed numerous online crimes and these increased offences led to the need of laws for protection. In order to keep in stride with the changing generation, the Indian Parliament passed the Information Technology Act 2000 that has been conceptualized on the United Nations Commissions on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law.
The law defines the offenses in a detailed manner along with the penalties for each category of offence.
Cyber offences are the illegitimate actions, which are carried out in a classy manner where either the computer is the tool or target or both.
Cyber-crime usually includes the following −
The offences included in the I.T. Act 2000 are as follows −
Offences Under The It Act 2000
Section 65. Tampering with computer source documents
Whoever knowingly or intentionally conceals, destroys or alters or intentionally or knowingly causes another to conceal, destroy or alter any computer source code used for a computer, computer program, computer system or computer network, when the computer source code is required to be kept or maintained by law for the being time in force, shall be punishable with imprisonment up to three year, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both.
Explanation − For the purpose of this section “computer source code” means the listing of programs, computer commands, design and layout and program analysis of computer resource in any form.
Object − The object of the section is to protect the “intellectual property” invested in the computer. It is an attempt to protect the computer source documents (codes) beyond what is available under the Copyright Law
Essential ingredients of the section
knowingly or intentionally concealing
knowingly or intentionally destroying
knowingly or intentionally altering
knowingly or intentionally causing others to conceal
knowingly or intentionally causing another to destroy
knowingly or intentionally causing another to alter.
This section extends towards the Copyright Act and helps the companies to protect their source code of their programs.
Penalties − Section 65 is tried by any magistrate.
This is cognizable and non-bailable offence.
Penalties − Imprisonment up to 3 years and / or
Fine − Two lakh rupees.
The following table shows the offence and penalties against all the mentioned sections of the I.T. Act −
|Section||Offence||Punishment||Bailability and Congizability|
|65||Tampering with Computer Source Code||Imprisonment up to 3 years or fine up to Rs 2 lakhs||Offence is Bailable, Cognizable and triable by Court of JMFC.|
|66||Computer Related Offences||Imprisonment up to 3 years or fine up to Rs 5 lakhs||Offence is Bailable, Cognizable and|
|66-A||Sending offensive messages through Communication service, etc...||Imprisonment up to 3 years and fine||Offence is Bailable, Cognizable and triable by Court of JMFC|
|66-B||Dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication device||Imprisonment up to 3 years and/or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh||Offence is Bailable, Cognizable and triable by Court of JMFC|
|66-C||Identity Theft||Imprisonment of either description up to 3 years and/or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh||Offence is Bailable, Cognizable and triable by Court of JMFC|
|66-D||Cheating by Personation by using computer resource||Imprisonment of either description up to 3 years and /or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh||Offence is Bailable, Cognizable and triable by Court of JMFC|
|66-E||Violation of Privacy||Imprisonment up to 3 years and /or fine up to Rs. 2 lakh||Offence is Bailable, Cognizable and triable by Court of JMFC|
|66-F||Cyber Terrorism||Imprisonment extend to imprisonment for Life||Offence is Non-Bailable, Cognizable and triable by Court of Sessions|
|67||Publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form||On first Conviction, imprisonment up to 3 years and/or fine up to Rs. 5 lakh On Subsequent Conviction imprisonment up to 5 years and/or fine up to Rs. 10 lakh||Offence is Bailable, Cognizable and triable by Court of JMFC|
|67-A||Publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc... in electronic form||On first Conviction imprisonment up to 5 years and/or fine up to Rs. 10 lakh On Subsequent Conviction imprisonment up to 7 years and/or fine up to Rs. 10 lakh||Offence is Non-Bailable, Cognizable and triable by Court of JMFC|
|67-B||Publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually explicit act etc., in electronic form||On first Conviction imprisonment of either description up to 5 years and/or fine up to Rs. 10 lakh On Subsequent Conviction imprisonment of either description up to 7 years and/or fine up to Rs. 10 lakh||Offence is Non Bailable, Cognizable and triable by Court of JMFC|
|67-C||Intermediary intentionally or knowingly contravening the directions about Preservation and retention of information||Imprisonment up to 3 years and fine||Offence is Bailable, Cognizable.|
|68||Failure to comply with the directions given by Controller||Imprisonment up to 2 years and/or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh||Offence is Bailable, Non-Cognizable.|
|69||Failure to assist the agency referred to in sub section (3) in regard interception or monitoring or decryption of any information through any computer resource||Imprisonment up to 7 years and fine||Offence is Non-Bailable, Cognizable.|
|69-A||Failure of the intermediary to comply with the direction issued for blocking for public access of any information through any computer resource||Imprisonment up to 7 years and fine||Offence is Non-Bailable, Cognizable.|
|69-B||Intermediary who intentionally or knowingly contravenes the provisions of sub-section (2) in regard monitor and collect traffic data or information through any computer resource for cybersecurity||Imprisonment up to 3 years and fine||Offence is Bailable, Cognizable.|
|70||Any person who secures access or attempts to secure access to the protected system in contravention of provision of Sec. 70||Imprisonment of either description up to 10 years and fine||Offence is Non-Bailable, Cognizable.|
|70-B||Indian Computer Emergency Response Team to serve as national agency for incident response. Any service provider, intermediaries, data centres, etc., who fails to prove the information called for or comply with the direction issued by the ICERT.||Imprisonment up to 1 year and/or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh||Offence is Bailable, Non-Cognizable|
|71||Misrepresentation to the Controller to the Certifying Authority||Imprisonment up to 2 years and/ or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh.||Offence is Bailable, Non-Cognizable.|
|72||Breach of Confidentiality and privacy||Imprisonment up to 2 years and/or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh.||Offence is Bailable, Non-Cognizable.|
|72-A||Disclosure of information in breach of lawful contract||Imprisonment up to 3 years and/or fine up to Rs. 5 lakh.||Offence is Cognizable, Bailable|
|73||Publishing electronic Signature Certificate false in certain particulars||Imprisonment up to 2 years and/or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh||Offence is Bailable, Non-Cognizable.|
|74||Publication for fraudulent purpose||Imprisonment up to 2 years and/or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh||Offence is Bailable, Non-Cognizable.|
As per Section 77-A of the I. T. Act, any Court of competent jurisdiction may compound offences, other than offences for which the punishment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding three years has been provided under the Act.
No offence shall be compounded if −
The accused is, by reason of his previous conviction, is liable to either enhanced punishment or to the punishment of different kind; OR
Offence affects the socio economic conditions of the country; OR
Offence has been committed against a child below the age of 18 years; OR
Offence has been committed against a woman.
The person alleged of an offence under this Act may file an application for compounding in the Court. The offence will then be pending for trial and the provisions of Sections 265-B and 265-C of Cr. P.C. shall apply.
Cyber Laws are the sole savior to combat cyber-crime. It is only through stringent laws that unbreakable security could be provided to the nation’s information. The I.T. Act of India came up as a special act to tackle the problem of Cyber Crime. The Act was sharpened by the Amendment Act of 2008.
Cyber Crime is committed every now and then, but is still hardly reported. The cases of cyber-crime that reaches to the Court of Law are therefore very few. There are practical difficulties in collecting, storing and appreciating Digital Evidence. Thus the Act has miles to go before it can be truly effective.
In this tutorial, we have tried to cover all the current and major topics related to Cyber Laws and IT Security. We would like to quote the words of a noted cyber law expert and Supreme Court advocate Mr Pavan Duggal to conclude this tutorial.
While the lawmakers have to be complemented for their admirable work removing various deficiencies in the Indian Cyberlaw and making it technologically neutral, yet it appears that there has been a major mismatch between the expectation of the nation and the resultant effect of the amended legislation. The most bizarre and startling aspect of the new amendments is that these amendments seek to make the Indian cyberlaw a cyber-crime friendly legislation; − a legislation that goes extremely soft on cyber criminals, with a soft heart; a legislation that chooses to encourage cyber criminals by lessening the quantum of punishment accorded to them under the existing law; .... a legislation which makes a majority of cybercrimes stipulated under the IT Act as bailable offences; a legislation that is likely to pave way for India to become the potential cyber-crime capital of the world.
1. What is Cybercrime?
A. Cybercrime refers to all the activities done with criminal intent in cyberspace. Because of the anonymous nature of the internet, miscreants engage in a variety of criminal activities. The field of cybercrime is just emerging and new forms of criminal activities in cyberspace are coming to the forefront with each passing day.
2. Do we have an exhaustive definition of Cybercrime?
A. No, unfortunately we don’t have an exhaustive definition of cybercrime. However, any online activity which basically offends human sensibilities can be regarded as a cybercrime.
3. What are the various categories of Cybercrimes?
A. Cybercrimes can be basically divided into three major categories −
4. Tell us more about Cybercrimes against persons.
A. Cybercrimes committed against persons include various crimes like transmission of child pornography, harassment using e-mails and cyber-stalking. Posting and distributing obscene material is one of the most important Cybercrimes known today.
5. Is Cyber harassment also a Cybercrime?
A. Cyber harassment is a distinct cybercrime. Various kinds of harassment does occur in cyberspace. Harassment can be sexual, racial, religious, or other. Cyber harassment as a crime also brings us to another related area of violation of privacy of netizens. Violation of privacy of online citizens is a Cybercrime of a grave nature.
6. What are Cybercrimes against property?
A. Cybercrimes against all forms of property include unauthorized computer trespassing through cyberspace, computer vandalism, transmission of harmful programs, and unauthorized possession of computerized information.
7. Is hacking a Cybercrime?
A. Hacking is amongst the gravest Cybercrimes known till date. It is a dreadful feeling to know that a stranger has broken into your computer system without your knowledge and has tampered with precious confidential data.
The bitter truth is that no computer system in the world is hacking proof. It is unanimously agreed that any system, however secure it might look, can be hacked. The recent denial of service attacks seen over the popular commercial sites like E-bay, Yahoo, and Amazon are a new category of Cybercrimes which are slowly emerging as being extremely dangerous.
Using one's own programming abilities to gain unauthorized access to a computer or network is a very serious crime. Similarly, the creation and dissemination of harmful computer programs which do irreparable damage to computer systems is another kind of Cybercrime.
8. What is Cybercrime against Government?
A. Cyber Terrorism is one distinct example of cybercrime against government. The growth of Internet has shown that the medium of cyberspace is being used by individuals and groups to threaten the governments as also to terrorize the citizens of a country. This crime manifests itself into terrorism when an individual hacks into a government or military maintained website.
9. Is there any comprehensive law on Cybercrime today?
A. As of now, we don’t have any comprehensive laws on cybercrime anywhere in the world. This is the reason that the investigating agencies like FBI are finding the Cyberspace to be an extremely difficult terrain. Cybercrimes fall into that grey area of Internet law which is neither fully nor partially covered by the existing laws. However, countries are taking crucial measures to establish stringent laws on cybercrime.
10. Is there any recent case which demonstrates the importance of having a cyber law on cybercrime within the national jurisdictions of countries?
A. The most recent case of the virus "I love you" demonstrates the need for having cyber laws concerning cybercrimes in different national jurisdictions. At the time of the web publication of this feature, Reuters has reported that "The Philippines has yet to arrest the suspected creator of the 'Love Bug' computer virus because it lacks laws that deal with computer crime, a senior police officer said". The fact of the matter is that there are no laws relating to cybercrime in the Philippines.
11. What is Vishing?
A. Vishing is the criminal practice of using social influence over the telephone system, most often using features facilitated by Voice over IP (VoIP), to gain access to sensitive information such as credit card details from the public. The term is a combination of "Voice" and phishing.
12. What is Mail Fraud?
A. Mail fraud is an offense under United States federal law, which includes any scheme that attempts to unlawfully obtain money or valuables in which the postal system is used at any point in the commission of a criminal offense.
13. What is ID Spoofing?
A. It is the practice of using the telephone network to display a number on the recipient's Caller ID display which is not that of the actual originating station.
14. What is Cyber espionage?
A. It is the act or practice of obtaining secrets from individuals, competitors, rivals, groups, governments, and enemies for military, political, or economic advantage using illegal exploitation methods on the internet.
15. What is the meaning of Sabotage?
A. Sabotage literally means willful damage to any machinery or materials or disruption of work. In the context of cyberspace, it is a threat to the existence of computers and satellites used by military activities
16. Name the democratic country in which The Cyber Defamation law was first introduced.
A. South Korea is the first democratic country in which this law was introduced first.
17. What are Bots?
A. Bots are one of the most sophisticated types of crime-ware facing the internet today. Bots earn their unique name by performing a wide variety of automated tasks on behalf of the cyber criminals. They play a part in "denial of service" attack in internet.
18. What are Trojans and Spyware?
A. Trojans and spyware are the tools a cyber-criminal might use to obtain unauthorized access and steal information from a victim as part of an attack.
19. What are Phishing and Pharming?
A. Phishing and Pharming are the most common ways to perform identity theft which is a form of cyber-crime in which criminals use the internet to steal personal information from others.
20. Mention some tips to prevent cyber-crimes.
Read the latest ways hackers create phishing scams to gain access to your personal information.
Install a firewall on your computer to keep unwanted threats and attacks to a minimum.
Use caution while opening emails and clicking links. You should read carefully while downloading content from unverified sources.
Create strong passwords for any websites where personal information is stored.