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Maharashtra saw a steep increase in the number of cyber crimes last year, as per data provided in the annual crime report published by the Maharashtra Crime Investigation Department. Interestingly, the spike has been seen in cyber crimes which fall under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, and not those which are booked under the Information Technology Act, 2000.
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As compared to the numbers in 2014, cyber crimes registered under IPC have increased by 37 per cent, but the percentage of people arrested has actually come down by 12 per cent. In 2014, the total number of cyber cases registered was 1,347, which went up to 1,841 in 2015, showed the report. A majority of these cases — 671 — pertained to online fraud and cheating. The majority of accused — 238 — were arrested on charges of cheating.
On the other hand, crimes registered under IT Act of 2000 have declined from 511 in 2014 to 348 in 2015. The number of arrests, however, has remained largely unchanged, with 236 arrests in 2015 and 235 arrests in 2014.
As per the revised definition, any crime that involves unauthorised access in a computer system causing failure, damage, alteration or theft of important information or intellectual property stored in the computer by launching attacks, is considered a cyber crime.
The data reveals that Mumbai tops the list of cyber crime cases, with as many as 979 cases registered in 2015, followed by Thane (166), Aurangabad (148) and Pune (85). An overwhelming majority of the arrested accused — 97 per cent — are in the 18-45 age group.
Cases pertaining to publication and transmission of obscene material in electronic form has also seen a significant increase, as 44 offences were registered in 2015 as against 17 in the previous year.
Cases of cyber crime have been increasing and police need to update their system and mechanisms frequently, said a senior officer with the Cyber Security Cell of Pune Police.
“It is fortunate that Pune doesn’t witness as many cases of cyber crimes as Mumbai or Thane. Even second-tier cities like Aurangabad have a higher number of cases. However, we have to remain prepared as the intensity of attacks, especially pertaining to economic offences, has gone up,” said the officer, who didn’t wish to be named.