Cyber Crimes Against Women and Children

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Cyber Crimes Against Women and Children

Cyber Crimes against Women and Children are on the Rise:
The number of internet users in India, particularly women is on the rise. Even now also 30% of the internet users in India are female. Given the dependence on the virtual world, cyber- crimes in India and abroad has been increasing exponentially. Consider, the result of a survey which says, 1 in 10 women under 30 has been the target of revenge porn and / or sextortion. Similarly, another survey claims that 76% of the women below the age of 30 years have faced online harassment. These statistics itself are quite worrisome.

Similarly, with a dramatic reduction in the prices of smart-phones, the first point of contact with the internet has seen a sharp decline. Ten years before, a working salaried person may not have had a smart-phone. However today, children as young as ten years old are using smart-phones and perhaps even laptops/ desktops to connect to the virtual world. Activities like school projects, sometimes compel a student to reach out for online resources! 

https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/more-children-fall-prey-to-cyber-crime-as-web-users-get-younger/article3509863.ece
A hacker is most likely to target a less tech savvy user than anyone else. Thus, children are the most preferred target for a cyber-criminal especially for sexual abusers and pedophiles.

Common Cybercrime against Women & Children:
Women and children have regularly been the victims of various cyber-crimes including, revenge porn women and pedophiles. Other specific cyber-crimes against women and children include the following:

  • Pornography:It refers to the erotic depiction of a person in any form be it photo, video, sketch etc., usually to stimulate sexual feelings. 
  • Morphing:It means changing image from one form to another by using different tools and techniques, usually to show women or children in poor erotic light.
  • Cyber-stalking:Repeated attempts to contact a person despite the person showing a clear disinterest in the contact, is referred to as cyber-stalking.  
  • Cyber bullying:It is willful harm inflicted through use of various e-gadgets, by sending messages of intimidating or threatening nature.
  • Cyber defamation:Defamation is the injury caused to the reputation of a person in the eyes of a third person. It must have the following three elements – Reference of the victim, statement must be published and statement must be false/ malafied. 
  • Cyber harassment:It includes activities like forcing the women/ children to hear obscene song/ content, read obscene messages etc.
  • Matrimonial scams:These scams involve well trained criminals who approach the victim with a marriage proposal on the various online matrimonial sites. Mostly, divorcee and windows are the target of such scams.   
  • Doxxing:It refers to sharing personal information or documents of a person online without consent, without intention to harm the victim directly or make others harm him/her.
  • Spy cameras:A hidden or spy camera can be used by criminals to record private moments of the victim without consent, with aim to blackmail or harass the person later on. 
  • Online games:Games like Blue Whale and Momos challenge had targeted children across the world. Many of the suicides have also been linked to these games. 
  • Others: These include click bait, pop-up, the blues etc.

Stay Safe – Tips to Prevent Cyber Crimes against Women & Children:
In India, majority of cyber-crimes in India go unreported not only due to lack of awareness on the reporting procedures, but also the inability to even detect the crime. For example, 90% of cyber bullying cases of children in India remain unreported (as per a recent survey). Thus, the children continue to suffer in silence. Following are some of the most important tips one should follow to remain safer in the virtual world: 

Never Share Passwords:
One of biggest reason of breach of account is sharing of passwords. So, never share your login credentials with anyone. You never know when the relations will turn sour, which may result in the misuse of password. 

Never Leave Webcam/ Microphone Connected:
There are several application and vulnerabilities which may allow a hacker to remotely start a webcam or microphone. For example, recently the camera of smart TV of a couple in Surat was switched on remotely. It allowed the hacker to capture the most private moment of their life. Subsequently, the hacker posted their private video on several porn sites, leading to incalculable and irreversible damage. 

Thus, we advise users to disable the camera permissions and close / cover the lens when not in use. For computers, you should apply a small sticker to cover the webcam when you don’t need it. 

Share Personal Data Online Diligently:
Don’t trust an unknown online person blindly. Even if you have known someone for long, don’t share anything more than necessary. Otherwise, one can easily misuse intimate photographs/ videos, online chats for blackmail, revenge etc when the relations run into troubled waters. In other words, follow the principal “need to know basis” in real life.

Never Meet Online Connections Alone:
Many of the mishaps have been reported, when the victim went to meet a malicious person, whom he/ she had befriended on the virtual world. Thus, always keep your loved ones informed when you meet such stranger friends.  

Install Updates and Use Anti-Virus Software:
You must install latest and genuine anti-virus, anti-malwares and update them on regular basis. They provide a decent layer of protection, and make the online adversary move onto some other target. 

Others:

  • Block unwanted people
  • Don’t fall in trap of freebies
  • Never use unsecured sites on free, public Wi-Fi
  • Use strong unbreakable passwords
  • Block trackers using Add-ons
  • Review permission granted to apps time to time
  • Never install apps from unsecured sources
  • Read Terms and Conditions

Measures by Government of India:
National Commission of Women in its report on “Ways and Means to Safeguard Women from Cyber Crimes in India” recommend the following – dedicated helpline numbers, increment cyber cells and forensic labs, stringent laws, technical training of LEAs and judicial officers etc.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 amended 2008 together with Indian Penal Code, Copyright Act etc. have several provisions to deal with Cyber crimes. Besides, several other steps have also been the government listed below:

  • Setting up of State and district level Cyber cells for reporting and investigation of cyber crimes
  • National Cyber-crime Reporting Portal – This portal developed by Ministry of Home Affairs allow citizens to report any type of cyber-crimes for complaint resolution. The URL of the portal is –cybercrime.gov.in
  • Computer Security Policy and Guidelines have been circulated by the government to Ministry/ Departments on taking steps to prevent, detect and mitigate cyber-crimes.
  • Reserve Bank of India issued advisories on Any Desk app, that was being used by malicious element to commit fraudulent transactions through UPI interface - https://cyber-cops.com/whats-new/rbi-warning-about-any-desk-app 
  • Cyber Forensics Training Labs have been setup in north eastern states and several other cities to train LEAs and judiciary in cybercrime detection and evidence collection, preservation of evidences etc. 

To read about Acts and Section related to cyber crimes, navigate to: https://cyber-cops.com/links