Is India losing the fight against cyber criminals?

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The ratio between detection and convictions in cyber crimes committed in India indicates a very grim picture. There are just 23 cyber crime cells in the country and the statistics put out by the National Crime Records Bureau suggests that 9,600 cases were registered in 2014 alone.

The ratio between the rising number of cyber crimes and the officers present to handle such cases is high in-adequate.

Cyber Crime

In addition to the lack of staff and technical knowledge there are other issues such as foreign countries not cooperating. There are several cases in which the police have sent requests to service providers abroad years back, but have not got any response. [Cyber crime rising: Is India doing enough?]

Cyber crime a ticking bomb:

An intelligence bureau report states that in the following years the number of cyber crimes will increase two fold. Even terrorist organisations will fight the war online and the growing dependance of the world on the internet will only make matters worse.

In such a scenario, India does not appear to be fully prepared to handle the problem. With the statistics relating to cyber crime increasing by the day, it is not sufficient to have just 23 dedicated cyber crime cells in the country.

India would need at least 100 to 150 dedicated cyber crime cells to tackle the problem. In addition to this the cyber crime cells also need to have staff who are trained well to detect and crack such cases.

Shying away from cyber crime cells:

In the ranks of the police department, taking up an assignment at a cyber crime cell is the least preferred. Many cops are trained to fight crime on the ground and lack the technical expertise to handle such cases.

Moreover, it is also a low profile posting and the fact that the cases are extremely hard to crack also makes taking up such an assignment a downer for the police.

There have been debates and discussions galore to include ethical hackers into the police force. These ethical hackers can help a great deal in cracking cyber crime cases. India would need at least 50,000 ethical hackers to ensure that the internet is relatively safe.

However, the other issue is that the police department has complained that there are not enough funds to support the ethical hackers. There are not many would come forward to do it as a social service.

Even to hire ethical hackers on a temporary or case to case basis is expensive and the police force feels that more funds need to be sanctioned by the government.

The other issue that ethical hackers have complained about is the lack of protection. When they go online to secure servers, it looks like they are hacking.

Poor conviction:

Out of the 9,600 cases of cyber crime registered in 2014, so far the police and prosecution have managed to obtain just 72 convictions. This is a very poor ratio and if the conviction rate is this low, it encourages persons to commit more crimes.

There are various issues attached to the poor rate of conviction. Lack of evidence is one such major issue. The problem begins when the cyber criminal is abroad. Although there is an extradition clause for cyber criminals, it hardly ever happens.

Further foreign countries have not been cooperative. Cyber crime can be fought only if there is cooperation. Countries such as the United States of America will have to play a vital role if the menace of cyber crime has to come down.

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