AP Police believe in ingenuity of cyber offenders

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Hacking
Hyderabad, Feb 24: The Andhra Praesh police have roped in information technology experts to provide proper training for officials to curb cyber crimes. Authorities believe that Investigating Officers (IOs) lack the expertise to deal with cyber offenders.

"Insufficient expertise with the IOs was a big hurdle in probing such cases. Although, these officers were not adequately trained in investigation of cyber offences and collection of electronic evidence," Additional Superintendent of Police (Cyber Crime) U Rama Mohan told PTI here.

"Cyber crime inquiry requires tracking the offender who sends a particular e-mail or fraudulent bank transaction over the Internet. If the IO does not have the proper skill, he will find it difficult to track and nab the criminal," he said.

"Crime scene preservation, search and seizure of electronic evidence require a different approach than that of conventional method," Mohan added.

"The police have taken up various training programmes with the help of experts in IT law. However, there still are practical problems in the enforcement of cyber law due to issues like jurisdiction, collection of evidence and inadequate knowledge about cyber laws," he said.

"Besides training police personnel to deal with the new age crime, there was a need for orienting judicial magistracy and prosecutors to appreciate the special conditions and technical aspects of evidence relating to cyber law," he said.

"There is a need to be sensitised to appreciate the 'electronic evidence' presented in the courts. Some legal officers may not have proper knowledge of computer jargons like IP address, full header, hacking or e-banking," he said.

"Certain offences like phishing (a practice of using fraudulent e-mails and copies of legitimate websites to extract financial data from computer users for purposes of identity theft) and cyber stalking may appear relatively new to some investigators, who need to be trained to deal with such cases," the officer said.

On the issue of jurisdiction, Mohan said that the police operate within local boundaries, focusing on crime occurring within their area. But the global nature of Internet and cyber space brings together the offenders, victims and targets, who were otherwise situated in different countries.

He also added that often the cyber offences span beyond national boundaries, making it difficult for investigators to collect evidence and apprehend the culprit.

"CRPC provides for writing Letter Rogatory (LR) and seek information from abroad and also process requests coming from other countries. But the process of securing evidence through LR was lengthy and time-consuming. This delay allows the offender to repeat his offences with impunity," he said.

The Government should have Mutual Legal Assistance treaties with a large number of countries to ensure speedy probe of cyber crime, said Mohan, who was a forensic expert.

At present three cyber crime police stations are functional in Andhra Pradesh, an IT hub with Hyderabad as the main centre. While CID cyber crime station was set up in 2002, one in Hyderabad and another under jurisdiction of Cyberabad Commissionerate were working since last year.

The CID cyber crime station, which has jurisdiction of the entire state, has so far registered 169 cases under various Sections of IPC and Information Technology (IT) Act.

"It has arrested 41 persons, including Nigerians, during the last four years in various cases including hacking, source code alteration and theft, debit card and ATM card fraud, publishing pornography and obscene text in the form of electronic photo," Mohan told PTI.

"Of the 41 persons, 12 persons belonged to other states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Orissa and Karnataka," he said.

PTI

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