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Coming soon: Six state-of-the-art cyber crime labs, social media lab to help Mumbai police tackle cyber crime

To crack down on growing number of cases of cyber crime in the city with the help of advanced technological tools and expertise, Mumbai Police has decided to set up six state-of-the-art cyber crime investigation and forensic laboratories along with a first-of-its-kind Social Media Analytics lab and a Cyber Crime Analytics lab.

Mahajan and Dhillon are not the only two victims of phishing, with cases growing at a concerning rate in Chandigarh.

To crack down on growing number of cases of cyber crime in the city with the help of advanced technological tools and expertise, Mumbai Police has decided to set up six state-of-the-art cyber crime investigation and forensic laboratories along with a first-of-its-kind Social Media Analytics lab and a Cyber Crime Analytics lab.

The cyber laboratories will be set up at all five region of the city — South, Central, East, West and North along with the Mumbai police headquarters’ crime branch and will work on the lines of Forensic Science Laboratories, allowing the police to collect digital evidences, store them and use them to crack difficult cyber crime cases.

The Social Media Analytical Lab will be set up to monitor the activities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social media applications, helping the police keep an eye on issues being discussed among youth on the Internet and identify threats, including those on the dark web, officials said.

The Social Media Lab will work 24×7 and make use of modern tools to keep records of recent trends in cybercrime across the world along with the latest modus operandi being used by the cyber criminals, they added.

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It will create database of cyber attacks, share the knowledge repository with various stakeholders and design SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for all the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA).

The lab will be set up at the special branch headquarters of the Mumbai police in South Mumbai and the police will be outsourcing the tools and technology used in the lab, an official said.

Even as the city has been hit by a surge in cyber crime cases, much like other parts of the world, the detection rate has been low.

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While around 2,883 cyber crime cases were registered in the city in 2021, only 455 were detected and 767 people were arrested with a detection rate of only 16 per cent.

In the past two months itself, 534 cases have been registered with the police of which only 35 cases have been solved with the arrest of 52 persons.

Besides, there have been numerous complaints regarding cases, including several related to crime against women, not even being registered by the police.

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Recently, after being unable to crack it even after three years, Mumbai Police closed a major cyber attack case in which fraudsters had hacked into the SWIFT system of State Bank of Mauritius (SBM), Mumbai branch, in 2018, and had transferred Rs 147 crore.

In order to enhance Mumbai police’s investigation capacity and the detection rate of cyber crime cases, tools related to Social Media Analysis, Mobile Device Analysis, Computer Forensics (acquisition/processing/recovery) software, CDR analysis tools, encryption handling tools, Deep web and Dark web, Crime data analytics, CCTV and audio/video analysis have been proposed to be procured and used at cyber police stations across the city.

Training will also be imparted to the police personnel through these laboratories to investigate the cases.

According to the police, the initiative is a part of Safe City – Nirbhaya Project, a project of Union home ministry and state government aimed at strengthening cyber security and investigation. Police said cyber crime against women has been on a rise in the city and advanced cyber forensic tools are needed to solve such cases.

“The laboratories will be helping the police in digital and physical crime scene management, forensic examination of digital evidence, analysis and monitoring of data acquired through social media, including dark web, to identify threats, investigation of advanced cyber attacks, such as malware attacks, APT, ransomware, embedded crimes, and internet investigations, Blockchain technology and its allied domains (crypto-mining, cryptocurrency, crypto-wallets, etc.),” said a senior police officer.

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The labs will assist in collection and analysis of evidence in targeted attacks against financial systems of banks, insurance companies and stock exchanges.

The labs will also coordinate with various other law enforcement agencies such as Income Tax, Excise, Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Joint Cipher Bureau, and Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO).

First published on: 20-03-2022 at 23:48 IST
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