‘Cyber crimes UnderreporTed, Delhi city vulnerable’
Records show the city has witnessed a massive spike in online frauds.
Two weeks ago, Delhi witnessed a cybercrime in which a woman doctor was duped of Rs 4.5 crore. The case is said to be the biggest such crime in the national capital.
Records show the city has witnessed a massive spike in online frauds. During the Covid time, the city witnessed a massive 111% rise in cyber crimes in comparison with the previous year with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data citing sexual exploitation to be the motive behind most cases.
The NCRB data shows that most such cases involved online fraud, online harassment and publication of explicit content.
In an interview with Advocate Pawan Duggal, founder and chairman of the International Commission on Cyber Security Law, Jaison Wilson asks him about the alarming rise in cybercrime in Delhi and discusses the solutions. As an advocate for cyber security and a veteran in the field, Duggal, offers valuable insights and suggests measures to combat the menace. He is also the president of Cyberlaws.Net. Excerpts:
We see reports of rising cybercrime cases across Delhi. Would you shed some light on this alarming trend?
The rise in cybercrime in Delhi is a cause for concern. With the arrival of the Covid pandemic, we have entered the age of cybercrime. This ominous trend is expected to persist, making almost everyone vulnerable to cyber threats. Cyber criminals are constantly evolving, adopting innovative techniques such as through ChatGPT to snare their victims. One significant manifestation of this trend is the exploitation of platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram, where unsuspecting individuals fall prey to video call scams resulting in substantial financial losses.
Are there any particular areas or hotspots where these crimes are more prevalent?
Official figures might not accurately reflect the true extent of the problem due to underreporting. Even cases that are reported, their conversion into FIRs remains a challenge. It appears only less than 5% of the total cases are reported.
How can we effectively prevent such crimes? What role can the legal system play in addressing cybercrimes?
While completely eradicating cybercrime is a utopian notion, we can take several steps to minimize its impact. First, it is imperative to establish stringent legal frameworks specifically tailored to address cybercrimes. The recent amendments to the IT Act, which made many cybercrimes bailable offences, must be revisited. Second, the police need to adopt a more citizen-friendly approach, inspiring confidence in individuals to report such incidents. Third, there is a pressing need for extensive capacity-building and awareness programmes to educate users about cybercrimes, ensuring they are not unwittingly complicit in their own victimization.
With artificial intelligence, do you see any potential misuse of the technology?
Absolutely, the misuse of AI is a growing concern. AI is a double-edged sword, providing both opportunities and risks. Cybercriminals are increasingly leveraging AI-powered tools to conduct sophisticated attacks. As AI continues to advance, it is crucial for policymakers to stay one step ahead, developing proactive strategies to mitigate the potential risks associated with AI-driven cybercrimes.