“There are crimes of passion and crimes of logic. The boundary between them is not clearly defined,” said Albert Camus, a French-Algerian philosopher, once. The quote finds space in the opening of a booked penned by three officers of the Gujarat Police on tackling challenges associated with cyber crime investigations.
The book, ‘Cyber Crime: Practical Approach towards Cyber Laws and Cyber Crime Investigation’, is co-authored by Additional Commissioner Sharad Singhal (Assistant Commissioner of Police, Crime and Traffic, Surat), IPS officer Sandeep Chaudhary (Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 2, Vadodara city) and Gujarat Police Service officer Chirag Desai (deputy superintendent of police, Ankleshwar, Bharuch). It was released by state home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja and Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) Ashish Bhatia at an event in Gandhinagar on Saturday.
The 279-page book is not just a police manual to deal with various types of cyber crime and investigation process but also offers an insight into the futuristic methods being used by criminals in the cyber world, including usage of the dark web.
The book cites case studies from Gujarat where citizens have fallen into the trap of fraudsters from other states as well as cases where fraudsters were physically present to clone bank details of victims to dupe them of lakhs of rupees.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Sharad Singhal said, “When I was the SP in Jamanagar, we started documenting cases of Cyber Crime Cell to assist the police in dealing with such crimes in future. Then we thought of documenting it into a book to help investigators… It took us three months… A soft copy was made available for all Gujarat Police personnel on the Suraksha Setu app in both English and Gujarati. A hard copy of the book will be given to all police stations and training centres in Gujarat free of cost.”
The book has nine chapters that deal with the sections of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, Indian Penal Code sections related to cyber crime, standard operating procedure for investigations, common types of cyber crime, emerging technologies and future cyber crimes, open source intelligence, as well as forensic science related to bitcoin currencies.
“We noticed that many times police officers were unable to distinguish between IPC and IT Act sections. This book will help them investigate with forensic method, including obtaining chain of custody, securing digital evidence, obtaining a clone of hard disk, as well as contacting social media platforms such as Facebook, Whatsapp or Instagram. The book also has contact details of all the nodal officers in every state in the country,” said Singhal.
The book also provides an insight into the fast rising statistics of cyber crime and says that recent reports have suggested that India is one of the top five countries to have been affected by cyber crime from 2012 to 2017 and in Gujarat, there was an increase of 400% from 2016 to 2018.
The book has divided cyber crime roughly into three aspects — crime against person (cyber stalking, defamation, hacking, phishing, cloning of cards), crime against property (malware, ransomware, unauthorised trespassing) and crime against government, which includes cyber terrorism and cyber warfare.
The book offers an insight into deep web that is not accessible by conventional search engines such as Google and Yahoo. It explores the ‘Dark Web’, where users go to conduct illegal activities such as procuring drugs, weapons, child pornography or even getting assassins hired.
“The laws in India are neither regulating the dark web nor its crimes. This serves as the platform for virtual criminals to grow crooked in the dark web by carrying out illegal activities (sic),” said the authors.
The book also discusses futuristic cyber crimes such as “crypto jacking”, remote access attacks, attacks on cell phones and ransomware attacks. Crypto jacking is a crime where computer systems of victims are hacked and used for crypto mining, a process of maintaining a digital ledger by users of all the crypto currency transactions in the deep web. Similarly, ransomware attack refers to injecting a malware inside the computer system to harm the software and extorting money by threat.
“We have dedicated a chapter on Bitcoin crypto currency and other types of crypto currency after we realised that a large number of illegal transactions are being done through Bitcoins. We have also listed a total of 35-40 types of common cyber crimes prevalent in Gujarat, which includes phishing (illegally obtaining bank details of victims through fraud), one-time password scams, Know Your Customer (KYC) upgradation fraud among others,” said Singhal.
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