Cyber Laws: Information Technology Act – Cyber Security and Cyber Crime – difficulties in determining competent jurisdiction of courts in case of cyber-crimes

Challenges to Internal security through communication networks

  • Communication networks are a part of our critical information infrastructure. Communication networks refer to an interconnection of communicating entitiessuch as computers, laptops, mobiles, telephones etc. via which provides the basis for information exchange for all other sectors including voice, data, video, and Internet connectivity.


  • Communication network should not be confused with the computer networkssuch as LAN, WAN etc. because they are merely one form of the Communication networks. Various communication networks are the backbone of much of the critical infrastructure in many sectors today such as civil aviation, shipping, railways, power, nuclear, oil and gas, finance, banking, IT, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, space, defence, and government networks. As such, communications systems serve part in parcel with other key internal and external security and emergency preparedness. Moreover, the communication networks are very much dependent on each other in a very complex way. The collapse of one communication network can affect adversely many sectors.


  • There numerous network threats that can have adverse impact on communication network:
Network Packet Sniffers

When large information is sent via a network, it is broken into smaller pieces, which are called network packets. Generally these network packets are sent as clear text over the networks i.e. information sent across the network is not encrypted.


Social Engineering Attacks

Social engineering refers to psychological tricks used to persuade people to undermine their own online security. This can include opening an email attachment, clicking a button, following a link, or filling in a form with sensitive personal information.

IP Spoofing

When an attacker situated outside the targeted network pretends to be a trusted computer then the mode of attack is termed as IP spoofing. IP spoofing can be done either by using an IP address of targeted network pool or by using an authorized & trusted external IP address.



Phishing refers to a technique used to gain personal information for the purpose of identity theft, using fraudulent e-mail messages that appear to come from legitimate organizations such as banks.


Denial of Service

Most popular form of attack, denial of service (DoS) attacks are also among the most difficult to completely eliminate. Among the hacker community, DoS attacks are regarded as trivial and considered bad form because they require so little effort to execute.

When this type of attack is launched from many different systems at the same time, it is often referred to as a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS). DDoS is not actually hacking the website but is a common technique used to temporarily bring down websites.

Password Attacks

Password attacks usually refer to repeated attempts to identify a user account and/or password; these repeated attempts are called brute-force attacks. If this account has sufficient privileges, the attacker can create a back door for future access.

Password attacks can easily be eliminated by not relying on plaintext passwords in the first place. Using OTP or cryptographic authentication can virtually eliminate the threat of password attacks.


Distribution of Sensitive Information

Most of the computer break-ins that organizations suffer are at the hands of troublesome present or former employees.


Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

Man-in-the-middle attacks refer to access to network packets that come across the networks. An ISP can gain access to all network packets transferred between one network and any other network. It can launch such an attack.

Application Layer Attacks

Application layer attacks are performed by identifying the well-known weaknesses in software that are commonly found on servers, such as sendmail, Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), and FTP etc.


Virus and Trojan Horse Applications

Viruses and Trojan horse applications are the primary vulnerabilities for end-user computers. Viruses refer to malicious software that is attached to another program to execute a particular unwanted function on a user’s workstation.



Scareware is fake/rogue security software. There are millions of different versions of malware, with hundreds more being created and used every day.



As spam expands into other areas online, traditional email spam still remains a significant problem, especially in business. Workers still need to keep their inboxes clear of junk, and advanced mail filtering systems are a necessity in any business hoping to use email efficiently.



Ransomware is a class of malware which restricts access to the computer system that it infects, and demands a ransom paid to the creator of the malware in order for the restriction to be removed.



Role of media and Social networking sites in internal security Challenges.


  • Social Media can be defined as any web or mobile based platform that enables an individual or agency to communicate interactively and enables exchange of user generated content and it is explained by a number of tools, which includes blogs, Wikis, discussion forums, micro-blogs, twitter and social networking sites. Internet has become a platform for coordination of plans of attack, communication with cells, or propaganda and information and spread of hate campaign or messages that can hurt the sentiments of people.


  • Social Media in recent times has become synonymous with Social Networking sites such as Facebook or Micro Blogging sites such as Twitter.


  • The advantages of Social media are so many but they are posing threat to Internal Security in various forms like Cyber Terrorism, Fraud, crime, spreading violence, etc.


  • According to the Cisco 2013 Annual Security Report, the highest concentration of online security threats are on mass audience sites, including social media.


  • The rapid spread of false information through social media is among the emerging risks identified by the World Economic Forum in its Global Risks 2013 Report.


  • National Security is of prime importance for any nation to maintain peace and harmony. Nations face numerous internal security challenges and Social Media act as the platform for that. Social media is not security threat in itself but the users of these services can pose the threats by their anti-social endeavours.


  • With limited government oversight, industry standards or incentives to educate users on security, privacy and identity protection, users are exposed to identity theft and fraud. Additionally, these platforms have huge confidential user information, and are likely vulnerable to outside or inside attack which is detrimental to Internal Security.


Different Internal Security threats due to Social Media are:



  • Cyber Terrorism:


The biggest challenge for internal security of nation through social networking site is cyber terrorism.


Today terrorists select Social Media as a practical alternative to disturb the function of nations and other business activities because this technique has potential to cause huge damage. It poses enormous threat in international system and attracts the mass media, the security community, and the information technology corporation.


At the same time, due to the convenience, affordability and broad reach of social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, terrorist groups have increasingly used social media to further their goals and spread their message.


Social Media became a platform for coordination of plans of attack, communication with cells, or propaganda and information and spread of hate campaign or messages that can hurt the sentiments of people.

These groups now have their own websites where they can convey their propaganda and, for most of them, they advise their readers and followers not to trust the media which are seen as the enemy.


The chat service like Skype, which includes voice and video capabilities, has become particularly popular with terrorist cells. Chat rooms and electronic forums enable the insurgent and extremists groups to communicate with members and supporters all over the world, to recruit new followers and to share information at little risk of identification by authorities.


Youths are especially targeted for propaganda, incitement and recruitment purposes by terrorist groups.


  • Fraud: 


Social networking sites also invite fraudsters to take excellent opportunity to become wealthy by applying deceiver schemes.


  • Criminal Activity and Money laundering:


Internet Media is a major resource for developing serious crime. As Internet is growing explosively, online criminals try to present fraudulent plans in many ways. Social networking sites also pose major challenge in financial and organized crime which destabilizes the system. It creates threat to a company’s security because of what employees might disclose and they are on prime target for cyber criminals.


  • International users:


The other national and international users such as the political parties, NGO’s, hackers pose a serious threat using the social media. For example, during the civil turmoil in the Arab Spring Uprising, the various governments were threatened through the social media.


  • To Bring Revolution: 


Some countries in the world feel threatened by the fact that social media can bring the people together and thus, create a revolution. This in turn can cause political instability


  • Communal Violence and Fanning Tensions: 


Importantly, social media also seems to be playing a significant role in polarising different communities in India and compounding India’s Security challenges. The viral videos and false updates of communal clashes, riots and terrorists attack have created a massive impact in the life of public.


The power of media and the process of public opinion formation in a free society had undergone radical change due to Internet and faster means of communications like SMS, whats app, viber and simplified mobile internet. The chain of events beginning with the clashes in our North-east and which caused very serious and mass exodus of North-east population from several Indian cities has revealed the fragility of our national Cohesion.


  • Virtual Community: 


Popular social networking websites are another means of attracting potential members and followers. These types of virtual communities are growing increasingly popular all over the world, especially among younger demographics. This can build Anti-national Sentiments among Society.


  • Hacking:


Hackers write or use ready-made computer programs to attack the target computer. By using Social Media hackers breach the national security and steal important data of defence or other strategic sectors. This can kneel the whole country without using Arms and Ammunition.

Although social media has the potential to be a threat to national security, it also has the opportunity to strengthen National Security and to be used to benefit the Government.


One of the fastest growing ways that Governments are using social media is as a warning or trend prevention tool. As a monitoring tool, the government is able to recognize the first signs of any hostile or potentially dangerous activity by collecting and analyzing messages in order to try to predict events that could be a danger to National Security.

Another important use of social media by the government is as an institutional Communication Tool. Social Media provides a medium that creates cohesion between federal agencies by increasing both communication and transparency.



Basics of cyber security

  • Cyber security is a process, technique or procedure to ensure information security goals.

Aim of Information Security is to provide CIA i.e.

  1. Confidentiality of information
  2. Integrity of information
  3. Availability of information


These 3 parameters (CIA) are called security goals/security services.

The other security objectives also include such other parameters as authenticity, authorisation, accounting and non-repudiation.


  • Cyber Security is the security of information and its communicating channels as applied to computing devices such as computers and smartphones, as well as computer networks such as private and public networks, including the Internet as a whole. The field covers all the processes and mechanisms by which computer-based equipment, information and services are protected from unintended or unauthorized access, change or destruction. Computer security also includes protection from unplanned events and natural disasters. Cyber security is a complex issue that cuts across multiple domains and calls for multi-dimensional, multilayered initiatives and responses.


  • The act of protecting ICT systems and their contents has come to be known as cyber security. A broad and debatable concept, cyber security can be a constructive term. It generally refers to a set of activities and other measures intended to protect from attack, disruption, or other threats to computers, computer networks, related hardware and devices software, and the information they hold and communicate, including software and data, as well as other elements of cyberspace.


  • Cyber security is also associated with the technical term, information security, which is explained in federal law as protecting information and information systems from illegal access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or damage in order to provide integrity, confidentiality and availability.


  • Integrity denotes to guarding against improper information modification or destruction, and includes ensuring information non repudiation and authenticity.


  • Confidentiality signifies preserving authorized restrictions on access and disclosure, including ways of protecting personal privacy and proprietary information.


  • Availability indicates ensuring timely and reliable access to and use of information. Cyber security concentrates on protecting computers, networks, programs and data from unintended or unauthorized access, change or destruction. Governments, military, corporations, financial institutions, hospitals and other businesses gather process and store huge confidential information on computers and pass on that data across networks to other computers. With the growing volume and complexity of cyber attacks, more attention is necessary to protect sensitive business and personal information, as well as protect national security.


Role of biometric devices in security

  • Biometric devices measure biological elements (like human features) in order to perform functions, such as logging health/fitness data and authenticating users. There are many different uses for the technology and a variety of methods for its implementation. Types of biometric data include visual, audio, spatial and behavioral.

According to these characteristics, the sub-divided groups are:

  • Chemical biometric devices: Analyses the segments of the DNA to grant access to the users.
  • Visual biometric devices: Analyses the visual features of the humans to grant access which includes IRIS recognition, Face recognition, Finger recognition and Retina Recognition.
  • Behavioural biometric devices: Analyses the Walking Ability and Signatures (velocity of sign, width of sign, pressure of sign) distinct to every human.
  • Olfactory biometric devices: Analyses the odour to distinguish between varied users.
  • Auditory biometric devices: Analyses the voice to determine the identity of a speaker for accessing control.


Roles and uses of Biometric devices



IRIS and Fingerprint recognition at New delhi Terminal 4

Biometrics are being used to establish better and accessible records of the hours employee’s work.




As the demand for air travel grows and more people travel, modern day airports have to implement technology in such a way that there are no long queues.


Handheld and personal devices

Thumbprint recognition become accessible to millions with the iPhone 5S. The fingerprint sensor, also called Touch ID is used to unlock the phone, authorise payments and buy app store applications.

  • Passwords can be forgotten and recovering them can take time, whereas Biometric devices rely on biometric data which tends to be unique to a person, hence there is no risk of forgetting the authentication data.



IT Act (2000)

  • The Government of India enacted the Information Technology (I.T.) Act with some major objectives to deliver and facilitate lawful electronic, digital, and online transactions, and mitigate cyber-crimes.
  • The original Act contained 94 sections, divided in 13 chapters and 4 schedules. The laws apply to the whole of India. Persons of other nationalities can also be indicted under the law, if the crime involves a computer or network located in India.

Salient Features of I.T Act

The salient features of the I.T Act are as follows −

  • Digital signature has been replaced with electronic signature to make it a more technology neutral act.
  • The formations of Controller of Certifying Authorities was directed by the Act, to regulate issuing of digital signatures
  • It elaborates on offenses, penalties, and breaches.
  • It outlines the Justice Dispensation Systems for cyber-crimes.
  • It defines in a new section that cyber café is any facility from where the access to the internet is offered by any person in the ordinary course of business to the members of the public.
  • The Act also amended various sections of Indian Penal Code, 1860, Indian Evidence Act, 1872, Banker’s Book Evidence Act, 1891, and Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 to make them compliant with new technologies.


           Highlights of the Amended Act

The newly amended act came with following highlights −

  • It stresses on privacy issues and highlights information security.
  • It elaborates Digital Signature.
  • It clarifies rational security practices for corporate.
  • It focuses on the role of Intermediaries.
  • New faces of Cyber Crime were added.


Section 66A –  Section 66A prescribes the punishment for sending “offensive’ messages through computers or any other communication device such as a mobile phone or a tablet, and a conviction can fetch a maximum of three years in jail.


In India, cyber laws are contained in the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”) which came into force on October 17, 2000. The main purpose of the Act is to provide legal recognition to electronic commerce and to facilitate filing of electronic records with the Government.

Cyber Crime is not defined in Information Technology Act 2000 nor in the I.T. Amendment Act 2008 nor in any other legislation in India.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 essentially deals with the following issues:

? Legal Recognition of Electronic Documents

? Legal Recognition of Digital Signatures

? Offenses and Contraventions

? Justice Dispensation Systems for cyber crimes.

Main Provisions of IT Act 2000

Digital signature and Electronic signature:-Digital Signatures provide a viable solution for creating legally enforceable electronic records, closing the gap in going fully paperless by completely eliminating the need to print documents for signing. Digital signatures enable the replacement of slow and expensive paper-based approval processes with fast, low-cost, and fully digital ones. The purpose of a digital signature is the same as that of a handwritten signature. Instead of using pen and paper, a digital signature uses digital keys (public-key cryptography).Digital signature provides Authentication, Integrity and Non Repudiation.

E-Governance: Chapter III discusses Electronic governance issues and procedures and the legal recognition to electronic records is dealt with in detail in Section 4 followed by description of procedures on electronic records, storage and maintenance and according recognition to the validity of contracts formed through electronic means.

Section 66A :-Sending offensive messages thro communication service, causing annoyance etc through an electronic communication or sending an email to mislead or deceive the recipient about the origin of such messages (commonly known as IP or email spoofing) are all covered here. Punishment for these acts is imprisonment upto three years or fine.

According to Sec.1(2) of Information Technology Act, 2000, the Act extends to the whole of India and also applies to any offence or contravention committed outside India by any person. Further, Sec.75 of the IT Act, 2000 also mentions about the applicability of the Act for any offence or contravention committed outside India. According to this section, the Act will apply to an offence or contravention committed outside India by any person, if the act or conduct constituting the offence or contravention involves a computer, computer system or computer network located in India.

Common types of Cyber Crimes may be broadly classified in the following groups:- Against Individuals: –

? Harassment through e-mail

? Cyber-stalking.

? Dissemination of obscene material on the Internet.

? Defamation.

? Hacking/cracking

? Indecent exposure.

? Computer vandalism.

? Transmitting virus.

? Internet intrusion.

? Unauthorized control over computer system.

? Hacking /cracking.

Against Government, Private Firm, Company, Group of Individuals: –

? Hacking & Cracking.

? Possession of unauthorized information.

? Cyber terrorism against the government organization.

? Distribution of pirated software etc.


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