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We often hear or have faced money being automatically deducted or transferred from bank accounts or e-wallets; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media accounts getting hacked; obscene content going viral over the internet; or an account's password getting changed or hacked and the account becomes inaccessible; fraud calls stating our credit or debit cards are blocked and demanding for a pin code and card numbers; fake offers or messages from different online shopping sites or apps claiming that the receiver got expensive rewards. All these crimes fall under the ambit of cyber crime.


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 What is Cyber Crime?

A criminal activity that revolves around doing unlawful actions either by targeting a computer or by using its networked devices in cyberspace (widespread interconnections of various digital technologies) is referred to as a ‘cyber crime’. In simple words, computer-oriented crimes mainly involve computers and networked devices to threaten an individual, or organization or even break down a nation's security or financial mechanisms. These are mainly done by extremely talented and technically developed human brains in the pursuit of making money, either illegally or for political purposes.

 Types of Cyber Crime

  1. Theft of financial or card transaction data.
  2. Cyber extortion (ransomed ware attacks).
  3. Email or internet fraud.
  4. Online Cheating.
  5. Crypto Jacking - Hackers mine cryptocurrencies using disowned resources.
  6. Cyber Espionage - Hacking government data.
  7. Social media-based crimes - Cyber Harassment, Cyber Matrimonial fraud, Cyber Defamation, etc.
  8. Cyber Vandalism - As to deliberately destroy or damage the data when a network is disrupted.
  9. Cyber Terrorisms - The terrorist attacks taking place on the internet by denial of service attacks, hate websites and emails, etc.
  10. Cyber Stalking - Fear/threat is created by using computer technology.
  11. Hacking.
  12. Cybersquatting - The claiming of two people for the same domain name by arguing that either of them had registered first and the other has copied it.
  13. Forgery - Deceiving a large number of people by sending threatening emails related to online businesses or payments or anything over a computer network to get their credentials.
  14. Cracking - Breaking into someone else's computer without his consent by a cyber-criminal.
  15. Child Pornography - The use of computer networks to create and distribute materials that exploit underage children.

 How to Advance Towards Filing Cyber Crime Complaints in India?

The widespread and enormous use of the Internet in the last decade has given birth to a bulk of cyber crimes and online frauds. It can often be challenging and confusing for a cybercrime victim with disruptive mental health to go and report a Cybercrime FIR during his adversity. However, with the entry of a major "Digital India '' vision project in addition to making cell phones affordable and high-speed data connection in a minimum amount, more and more citizens even from the remotest corners give a cordial welcome to the digital frenzy. The procedure to file a cyber crime complaint in India is as follows:

  1. The first step is to register a written complaint in the cyber cell of the current city, it is also clearly instructed by the Indian INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY (IT) ACT that cyber crimes fall under the ambit of global jurisdiction hence can be filed in any cyber cell of India (online or offline) irrespective of the place where the crime was committed.
  2. Provide the correct name, contact details, residential details, and identity proof and address to the head of the cyber cell in the written complaint or Email while filling a complaint in the cyber crime cell.
  3. Provided that the victim falls prey to online harassment then he/she should take the suggestion of a legal practitioner to file an FIR.
  4. If the victim or his family does not have access to or an idea about any of the Cyber cells of India then he/she can file a first information report(FIR) at the local police station. If by any chance the complaint doesn't get accepted in the local police station, then he/she can approach the commissioner or the city's judicial magistrate.
  5. The Cyber Cell officials or the local police will start the investigation process.

Indian penal code covers certain Cyber crime offenses, which are classified under cognizable offenses which means a warrant is not required for an arrest or investigation. It is compulsory under section 134(code of criminal procedure) for every local police officer to record the information of a cyber crime offense irrespective of the jurisdiction in which the crime had occurred.

In a cognizable offense the police are bound to offer a zero FIR from the complainant, he also should forward the zero FIR to the respected police station having jurisdiction over the place where the crime was committed. A zero FIR offers the victim some solace in cases that require immediate attention or investigation.

Documents Required for Filing Various Complaints

 For Email Based Complaints

  1. A written statement briefing about the offense
  2. A copy of the spam of the suspected email received by the original receiver
  3. The complete heading of the suspected email
  4. Hard and soft copies of the alleged emails along with headers
  5. The soft copy should be a copy in a CD-R format

 Thefts Regarding Social Media Complaints

  1. A screenshot or copy of the alleged content
  2. A screenshot or copy of the link of the URL of the alleged content
  3. Both hard and soft copies (CD-R) of the alleged content

 Business Email-Based Complaints

  1. A written brief about the offense
  2. Originating of the name and location
  3. Originating bank name and account number
  4. Recipient name provided in the bank records
  5. Recipient's original bank account number
  6. Date and amount of transaction
  7. Swift number

 For Online CHeating Complaints

  1. A printout of the alleged email with a complete header same as the original receiver received
  2. Victims’ bank’s last statement
  3. Details of the suspected transaction
  4. The soft copies of all the documents mentioned above in the complaint.

For Internet/Lottery Scam/Fake Call

  1.  Bank statement for the respected bank of the last six month
  2. 2.  Copies of SMS received related to the suspected transaction
  3. 3.  Copy of the victim's ID card and address proof as in bank records

 For Ransome ( Malware ) Complaints

  1. The phone number, email id, or any form of evidence through which the ransom was made
  2. Screenshots of the e-mail with a complete header of the original receiver in case the malware was sent as an e-mail attachment.  

 For Data Theft Complaints

  1. A duplicate copy of the stolen data
  2. Copyrights certificate of the allegedly stolen data
  3. Particulars of the suspected employees

 About the Suspected Employee

  1. Appointment letter
  2. Agreement on Non-disclosure
  3. List of assignments
  4. The names of the clients that the suspect handled
  5. The proof of breaking breach of copyright data
  6. Electronic Devices used by the accused during his terms of services


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Examples of Cyber Crime

Malware attacks, Phishing, and Distributed DoS attacks are the major cybercrime occurring in widespread India famous examples are:

  1. Major Malware attacks were the WannaCry ransomware attack, a global cybercrime committed in 2007.
  2. Ransomware is the major concern of the Indian government as digital transformations have gained Pace and India has become the epicenter of cyber-attacks executed by cybercriminals, hackers, and anti-social.
  3. The Indian railway catering and tourism corporation (IRCTC) website which is the Indian largest government site was attacked by cybercriminals and around 10 million customer records were hacked from its server.
  4. A cybercriminal defaced the website of Canara Bank by giving a jam to the bank's transaction services by adding a malicious page and various redirecting notifications.
  5. The CEO of Flip-kart had his email account spoofed by cybercriminals which resulted in sending emails to the chief financial officer demanding a transfer of $ 80,000.

From 2015-1016 India ranked the highest in the world in the share of users attacked with ransomware.  In 2016, India ranked 5th in the world affected by business e-mail compromise (BEC).

Provision of Cyber Crime in the Act 2000

Some important provisions and their penalties include:-

Section 43 - Penalty destroying computer systems or computer source codes.

Punishment: Compensation not exceeding 1cr rupees to the affected person.

Section 65 - Altering or damaging computer source code documents with malicious intentions.

Punishment: Imprisonment up to 3 yrs and fine up to 2 lakh rupees, or even both.

Section 66 - Hacking a computer system

Punishment:  Imprisonment for up to a period of 3yrs and a fine of up to 2 lakh rupees or both.

Section 67 - Publishing or transmitting obscene information or content via electronic media.

Punishment: Imprisonment for about 5 years and a fine of 1 lakh rupees. But subsequent convictions can lead to punishment of up to 10 years and a fine of 2 lakh rupees.

Section 71- Misrepresentation.

Punishment:   Imprisonment up to 2 years or a fine of up to 1 lakh rupees or even both

Section 72- Breach of privacy or confidential documents

Punishment:   Imprisonment up to 2 years and fine up to 1 lakh or even both.

Section 73- Publishing incorrect details in a digital certificate

Punishment:   Imprisonment up to 2 years or fine up to 1 lakh or even both.

Section 74- Publication with the intention of fraud.

Punishment:   Imprisonment up to 2 years or a fine of 1 lakh rupees or even both.

An accused can be charged with Article 21 or other IPC or CrPc Acts because the ambit of Article 21 and other acts is expanded as it includes in itself the right to privacy and a prescribed remedy can be issued against the accused.

How to Protect Yourself Against Cyber Crime?

So, as we have understood the cybercrime threats and their impacts we can protect our devices and personal data by:

  1. Keeping operating systems and software updated from time to time.
  2. Using updated reputed and smart antivirus software or compressive internet security solutions.
  3. Using strong passwords to protect accounts and other important data
  4. Not opening attachments in spam or suspected e-mails.
  5. Not entering into unauthenticated websites or clicking unwanted popup links.
  6. Not logging in to various apps or web pages by giving personal information unless they are secure.
  7. Contacting companies directly, after receiving suspicious messages or requests
  8. Being fully conscious about website URLs entered.
  9. Keeping a thorough check on the bank statements or online banking transactions and not scanning QR codes of UPI IDs unless authenticated.
  10. Avoiding incoming calls with other country codes unless known