Mumbai''s initiatives on Cyber Safety Week

27 Aug 2004


The cyber safety week has been started in Mumbai on August 23 instant with a mission in collaboration with Mumbai police, says Anirban Biswas

Mumbai police and NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies) jointly ventured into ''Mumbai Cyber Lab (MCL)'', which is celebrating Cyber Safety Week from 23 -28 August, 2004. Talking about cyber safety, first lets understand what is cyber crime.

The Oxford reference online defines cyber crime as a crime committed over the internet. The encyclopedia Britannica defines cyber crime as any crime that is committed by means of special knowledge or expert use of computer technology. There are loads of varieties in cyber crime; starting from threatening e-mails, online frauds, child pornography to software piracy and virus dissemination.

Before going into the cyber crime policies and other related issues, let''s look at a real story of cyber crime in India. There is a company which runs a website which deals as an online payment gateway for credit card processing. First, a website ''A'' signs up with them for their credit card processing. From November 2002 to February 2003, ''A'' receives a payment of Rs3,11,508 from the payment processing company as online sales. When the payment processing company receives charge backs for all the credit card transaction on the website ''A'', they found that ''A'' vanished from all of his contact addresses.

Another website ''B'' signs up with the payment processing company for the same reason like ''A'' and receives Rs9,53,651 as sales. Again when the processing company received charge backs on all transaction, ''B'' was untraceable. Finally, another company signs up as ''C'' and receives Rs1,41,342. This time the processing company became suspicious. They called up the person of ''C'' and had him interrogated by the police.

The outcome of the interrogation is the person who is a second year engineering student from Pune is the same person who came up with the fake websites like ''A'', ''B'' and ''C''.

This is what we call online fraud and which is a cause of concern for the police departments throughout the world. Another major issue in this context is the behaviour of the kids who spend quite a lot of time in cyber space. They easily give not only their passwords to others who pretend to be kids even there were some incidents where they have given the credit card numbers of the their parents. MCL ( has given a section on their website for the cyber kids on what to do and what not.

Another incident happened in the month of July this year where the United States Attorney''s office for the northern district of California announced that FBI agents arrested a Seattle, Washington man Laurent Chavet, for allegedly hacking into the computer system of the internet search engine Alta Vista to obtain source code and for recklessly causing damage to Alta Vista''s computers. This is an example of hacking which is another form of cyber crime.

Now let''s take a look at some other areas of cyber crime, like viruses and worms. There are some viruses, which would destroy the files, and computers in which they reside. Moreover, these viruses can spread themselves by sending automated e-mails to all addresses in the address book. Another form of virus program, called worms, could be more dangerous than the viruses. These worms leave a program, known as back door that could potentially allow an attacker to gain access to infected computers.

Another popular form of cyber crime is called cyber stalking. Cyber stalking can be defined as the repeated acts harassment or threatening behavior of the cyber criminal towards the victim by using internet services.

Stalking can be referred to as the repeated acts of harassment targeting the victim such as…

  • Following the victim
  • Making harassing phone calls
  • Killing the victims pet
  • Vandalising victims property

Cyber stalking refers to the use of the internet, e-mail, or other electronic communications device to stalk another person. It is a relatively new form of harassment, unfortunately, rising to alarming levels especially in big cities like Mumbai and Delhi.

As we understand different areas of cyber crimes, now we need to ponder on how to prevent these crimes to happen in our cyber life. First and foremost, knowledge is the keyword which can help us a lot. We need to know where to use our credit cards, whether that website has digital encryption by some authority or not. If it has, then how reputed this site is for online shopping or transaction. Secondly, we should not open any e-mail message if we don''t know the sender. And last but not least, we must teach our kids on what to do on the cyber space and what not.

The cyber safety week has been started in Mumbai on August 23 instant with a mission in collaboration with Mumbai police, IT industry, academia and concerned citizens. It also helps police force to facilitate cyber crime investigations and to develop technology tools for criminal investigation.

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