HOW TO LODGE AND PURSUE A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT IN CYBER OFFENCES.

Updated: Mar 13

INTRODUCTION

Cyber Crime is an unlawful activity that requires the use of a network or networked device or computer as a source to carry out such activity known as cybercrime. It can be deduced that a computer is a primary source that is used as a tool for committing a cybercrime. The techniques which are used for spreading the internet activity are resulting in exploitation and making it vulnerable for transferring the confidential data to commit a criminal offense. It involves activities like striking on Information Centre Data System, Pornography of Child, Cyber terrorism, Online Frauds, and other activities, which are virus, phishing, email scams, and third party abuse. The fundamental outlook of network like internet at every level needs to be recovered from performing any illegal activity all over the globe by imposing firewall settings at different levels within the offline control of every nation to monitor and prevent cybercrimes that are carried in cyberspace. Network security controls are some beneficial ways that are used to prevent the access of hackers in networks which includes firewall, virtual private networks and encryption algorithms. Virtual private network plays an efficient role in preventing the hackers from accessing the networks. It provides users with a way that can be used to access information privately which is available on their network.

The cybercrime may be broadly classified into three groups which are:-

  1. Crime against the Individuals

  2. Crime against Organization.

  3. Crime against Society

To solve and overcome the issue of cybercrime, Criminal Investigation Departments have opened up Cyber Crime Cells in different cities of India. The Informational Technology Act of India clearly mentions that when a cybercrime is committed, it has a global jurisdiction and hence it can be filed at any cyber cell.


CYBERCRIME AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN

Women and children are found to be easily deceived by cybercrimes, which has witnessed a sharp rise over the last couple of years. They are mostly subjected to cyber harassment, cyber defamation, online stalking, cyber pornography, and much more. Mostly teenagers are soft targets for cybercriminals as they manage their online presence without the advice of their parents. As parents, one should take care of their children and should monitor their child’s online activities if they observe restlessness, insomnia, excess addiction to the internet, or other unnatural changes in child’s behavior. There are different forms of cybercrimes which are:-


  • CYBER STALKING: It is defined as a “behavior in which an individual person or a group of persons uses some kind of information to harass one or more individuals”. It is an online threat, and there is no relation between the victim and the cyber stalker. More than 75% of the victims of cyberstalking are female. Under section 354D of the Indian Penal Code, stalking is a criminal offence with a punishment of imprisonment of up to 3 years or fine.

  • CYBER PORNOGRAPHY: This includes websites, magazines produced by computers which are related to pornography. Along with Section 67 of the IT Act of 2000, the perpetrator can be booked under Section 290,292,292A, 293,294, and 509 of Indian Penal Code for the imprisonment of a maximum of 5 years.

  • CYBER BULLYING: It is defined as “a threat or harassment using any electronic form of contact by the use of the internet and is punishable under Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code for the imprisonment of a maximum of two years.”

  • CYBER SEXUAL DEFAMATION: Sexual Defamation is another type of crime against women. It takes place with the help of the internet as someone publishes some defamatory matters about someone or sends an email that contains defamatory matters to others. If the case is found to be true, then the person can be held liable under Section 499 of the Indian Penal code for the imprisonment of two years.

  • HARASSMENT VIA EMAIL: - It includes “threatening, bullying, or cheating someone via email.” Email spoofing is a common technique that is used as “phishing and spam campaigns” because people generally tend to open an email if they think it has been sent by a reliable source.

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STEPS TO LODGE A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT IN CYBER OFFENCES

The first step is to lodge a written complaint with the cybercrime cell of the city against the person who has committed it. There are various departments for investigating cybercrimes that have been established by cybercrime cells. These cells also take charge of getting the crime reported on time. According to the IT Act, “a cybercrime comes under the purview of global jurisdiction, which means that a cybercrime complaint can be registered with any cyber cells in India irrespective of the place where it has been originally committed.” The victim can report the complaint through an online or offline method or can give a call at a cybercrime helpline number.

The complainant must provide their name, contact details, and the address for mailing, and the complainant must address the complaint to the Head of the Cyber Crime Cell of the city where the complaint has been registered.

If the case is of online harassment, a legal counsel can be approached in assisting the report to the police station. Certain documents which can be used as evidence may be asked to submit along with complaint depending on the nature of the crime.

If the person who is reporting the cybercrime does not have access to the cyber cell in the city, the complainant can file a First Information Report (FIR) at the local police station, and if it is not accepted there, one must approach the commissioner or the Judicial Magistrate. It is compulsory for every police officer to record the information or complaint of an offense under Section 154 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

Cyber Crimes which are covered under the Indian Penal Code are cognizable offences which does not require a warrant for an arrest or investigation. Police officer is required to record a Zero First Investigation Report and must forward this report to the concerned jurisdiction of the place where the cybercrime is committed.


DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO FILE A CYBER CRIME COMPLAINT

  • COMPLAINTS RELATED TO EMAILS

  1. - Written brief about the offence

  2. - Copy of the mail as received

  3. - Hard and Soft copies of the email

  • COMPLAINTS RELATED TO SOCIAL MEDIA

  1. - Screenshot of the alleged profile

  2. - Screenshot of the URL of the alleged content

  3. - Hard and Soft copies of the alleged content

  • COMPLAINTS RELATED TO MOBILE APPLICATION

  1. - Screenshot of the alleged app and the location where it was downloaded

  2. - Bank statement of the victim

  • COMPLAINTS RELATED TO BUSINESS EMAIL

  1. - Written Statement about the offence

  2. - Sender’s Bank Name and account number

  3. - Receiver’s bank account number and location

  4. - Date and amount of transaction

  5. - IFSC/SWIFT number

  • COMPLAINTS RELATED TO DATA THEFT

  1. - Copy of the stolen data

  2. - Copyright certificate of the alleged stolen data

  3. - Details of the suspected employees

  4. - Proof of breach of the copyright data

  • FOR RANSOMWARE/MALWARE COMPLAINTS

  1. - Email id, Mobile Number or any other evidence of any means through which the demand was made.

  2. - Screenshot of the email in case the malware was sent as an email attachment


WHAT TO DO IF CYBER CELL REFUSES TO ACCEPT YOUR COMPLAINT?

If the cyber cell refuses to file the cyber complaint, person can approach the nearest judicial magistrate by telling that his/her complaint is not been accepted by the cyber cell.

JURISDICTION: Information Technology Act, 2000 deals with the crimes of computer and internet. As per Section 1 and Section 75 of the Information Technology Act, Cyber Crime Investigation cell has the jurisdiction all over the country. It deals with guiding principles which concerns cyber jurisdiction and has the authority to investigate such crimes. People who do not have cyber cell in their districts can file an online complaint on the Cyber cell of India.


STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST CYBERCRIME

The steps to prevent yourself against cybercrime are followed as-

  • · Buy a premium version of internet security suite which helps to protect the financial information.

  • · One should change their passwords regularly and should not repeat the same passwords on different sites and should make them complex by using different combinations of symbols and numbers.

  • · There are less chances of a cybercrime if the software is updated as cyber criminals are to known use exploits or flaws in the software to gain access in the system.

  • · One should keep their personal and private information safely as cybercriminals often get access to the public information with just few points.

  • · One should use strong encryption password and Virtual Private Network if they are using public Wi-Fi network in cafe, hotel, airport or library.


Submitted by,

Sarthak Arora,

Year II, B.B.A.LL.B.,

National Law University, Orissa.


(Image used for representational purpose only.)

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