Cyber Delinquency: World behind Passwords

Representational Photo

During my field study I met a class 10th delinquent student from a prominent school. He had put his reference books for sale on OLX marketing site without the knowledge of his parents. To bring desirable modification in my sample respondent  I went to his home as a tutor, discovered a good human being hidden in him which needed parental acceptance and approval to sprout.  Various types of cyber-crimes  by juvenile are cyber frauds, cyber bullying, cyber stalking, identity theft, drug trafficking, digital piracy, cyber suicides, cyber theft, hacking. Apart from these known cyber-crimes new crimes are committed by means of technology each day.

Cyber bullying is bullying with the use of digital technologies. It can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms and mobile phones. It is a repeated behavior, aimed at scaring, angering or shaming those who are targeted. Examples include: spreading lies about or posting embarrassing photos of someone on social media, sending hurtful messages or threats via messaging platforms, impersonating someone and sending mean messages to others on their behalf. If someone thinks he is being bullied, the first step is to seek help from someone he trusts, such as his parents, or some trusted adult.For bullying to stop, it needs to be identified and reported.

The Bois Locker Room case shows how a large number of teenagers are involved in making fake profiles and playing pranks or “testing” people around them. The case also exposes how school students have access to obscene content and morphed visuals that are exchanged on private chats. BOIS Locker room was an instagram group which had 100 members. The group contained toxic messages in which underage girls were bullied, sexually harassed and threatened of gang rape on social media. The matter got exposed when one girl posted and shared the screen shots of frightful chats from this instragam group . It exposed the moral pandemic in our society. Cyber experts are of the opinion that this is a manifestation of defective law, which is being inadequately implemented in our country. Information Technology Act 2000 needs to be amended, need of the hour is to formulate strong legal regime on cyber crimes. Researchers should focus on analysis of cyber crime ramifications of lockdown. Juvenile Justice ecosystem should create a niche for accommodating the victims of cyber crime.

During COVID pandemic our youth mostly stay indoors, indiscriminate use of technology coupled with sedentary life style has resulted in  degeneracy. Minors are consuming content meant for adults. We have outsourced parenting. In our ghost bungalows we play hide and seek. We have to resort back to active parenting by engaging, communicating and remaining connected with our kids. Especially during night we need to check the internet usage of our kids. Sex education beyond reproduction should be discussed with children frankly without any feeling of shame or guilt.  Recently, taking advantage of online classes during the nationwide lockdown, two Class X students of a private school became members of a WhatsApp group meant for Class XII students by posing as girls of the same class. Soon after the teacher added them to the WhatsApp group, the two boys started posting porn clips and made obscene comments about the teacher. During research I scanned several chat groups on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Telegram that are continuously sharing morphed and obscene images. These accounts are made using fake SIM cards. One should not  share  personal details such as address, telephone number, phone number, photographs with strangers on whatsApp and other sharing tools. One should learn about the privacy settings of social media apps.

For the sake of awareness I shall share few case studies related to cyber crimes. (a) Victim complains that Rs.4.25 lacs have been fraudulently stolen from his/her account online via some online Transactions in 2 days using NET BANKING (Bank Fraud)  (b) Victim complaints that his Debit/Credit card is safe with him still somebody has done shopping/ ATM transactions on his card (Identity Theft) (c) Victim complains that somebody has created a Fake Profile on Facebook and defaming her character with abusive comments and pictures(Cyber Stalking) (d) Somebody sent an Email from Income Tax Department and asked for all the bank information and after that 40,000/- has been fraudulently taken away from her account (Phishing Mail) (e) Got an email that you are a lucky winner for a big amount of prize money and asked to deposit amount to claim that prize (Lottery Scam) (f) Received a Email for a JOB Notification for a very big organization  and ask to deposit X amount and come for the interview with the Pay Slip(Job Fraud) A malware attack is done by cyber delinquents where a computer system or network is infected with a computer virus These include stealing confidential data, using the computer to carry out other criminal acts, or causing damage to data. A phishing campaign is when spam emails, or other forms of communication, are sent en masse, with the intention of tricking recipients into doing something that undermines their security or the security of the organization they work for. Phishing campaign messages may contain infected attachments or links to malicious sites. Or they may ask the receiver to respond with confidential information. A famous example of a phishing scam from 2018 was one which took place over the World Cup. According to reports by Inc, the World Cup phishing scam involved emails that were sent to football fans. These spam emails tried to entice fans with fake free trips to Moscow, where the World Cup was being hosted. People who opened and clicked on the links contained in these emails had their personal data stolen. The world of internet is flooded with fake profiles that are used for stalking, blackmailing, making threats and other illegal activities. Similarly, morphed or edited images and videos are becoming nuisances that are extremely difficult to track. The real challenge before law enforcement agencies is to check the rising menace of crime on social media platforms and minors becoming part of it.  To protect against cybercrime we need to :Keep software and operating system updated,  Use anti-virus software and keep it updated,  Never open attachments in spam emails, Use strong passwords, not to click on links in spam emails or untrusted websites, not to give out personal information unless secure, Contact companies directly about suspicious requests,  Be mindful of which website URLs we  visit, Keep an eye on our bank statements.

Showkat Rashid Wani Coordinator (Education) Directorate of Distance Education, University of Kashmir