what is cyber law
Updated on 05th May, 22 140 Views

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What is Cyber Law?

But, what is cyber law? Cyber law deals with the legal aspects of cyberspace, the internet, and computing. In a broader view, cyber law handles the issues of intellectual property, contract, jurisdiction, data protection laws, privacy, and freedom of expression in the digital space.

In addition to regulating the overall internet happenings and crimes, cyber law recognizes popular usages as well; this includes the recognition of e-documents. Earlier, contracts, agreements, or anything of legal nature was done via the paper-and-pen process. With the recognition of e-documents and digital signatures, the world is moving fast toward a paperless future. Since the electronic processes replace the usage of trees, the processes are widely encouraged by several environment enthusiasts as well.

The very first cyber law to exist was the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (1986.) Currently, there are several cyber laws around the world, and the penalties, punishments, and regulations vary to an extent.

Following are the common cyber crimes covered by cyber law around the globe; by understanding the same, you will understand the importance of cyber law.

Types of Cybercrime

  • DDoS and botnet: This is one of the top arenas covered by cyber law, in general. Large websites are usually a target for hackers to steal data or extort money from site owners. Hackers do so by generating traffic beyond the site’s capacity, which, eventually, crashes the site. When the site is not functioning, the hackers steal the data or contact the site owner and demand money to restore the site.

    This type of attack is known as a DDoS attack; it is done via the botnet system.
DDOS and Botnet
  • Identity theft: Identity theft, as per cyber law, is the stealing of someone’s identity and passing it off as your own in an online forum. This is a serious concern in cyber law because hackers steal your private and confidential information and use the same for malicious gains.
Identity Theft
  • Cyberstalking: Cyberstalking, as per cyber law, is the usage of an entity’s social media or online information to threaten, stalk, or extort money from them. The data collected by the attacker is, generally, sensitive and can cause issues such as security breaches, defamation, and more.
Cyberstalking
  • Social engineering: The concept of social engineering in cyber law is stealing via gaining confidence. Through social engineering, criminals usually target people who have considerably less knowledge and understanding of the functioning of banks, social media, and digital operations, in general.

    By posing as a trustworthy person or customer care representative, criminals gain access to people’s banks or social media and proceed to sell the data gained through the same. Sometimes, the accounts can be hacked for extortion as well.
Social Engineering
  • PUPs: It is usually a popular advice by cyber law experts to avoid installing unknown software for the simple reason that malware can be installed into your computer and files can be stolen. Furthermore, spyware can be installed on your computer for malicious purposes as well.

    This mode of gaining access or stealing data via adware, spyware, etc., is known as potentially unwanted programs (PUPs.) This is why it is common to advise cyber law and computer experts to make use of authorized services centers only.
PUPs

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  • Phishing: Phishing is a crime where the hackers gain access to a person’s device via a link; the link, in a simple glance, would look authentic. The link can include gift cards, games, etc. Sometimes, links come via mail claiming that your data is stolen, and by clicking the link you can restore it.
Phishing

The above-mentioned are a few of the many crimes that are identified by cyber law experts around the globe.

Following is the treatment of cyber law in Indian jurisdiction.

Cyber Law in India: A Brief Understanding

Statistically, over 44,000 cybercrimes happen in India every year, and Karnataka leads the list of states with high cybercrime rates. As per the 2020 Statista report on the average cost of data breaches worldwide 2020, India faced a cost of USD two million for crimes related to a data breach. Elaborate statistics can be read here.

Cyber law in India is treated in both the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Following are a few of the various cyber crimes dealt with by Indian cyber laws.

In India, the definition of cyber law is divided into two aspects, hacking systems and using the same to commit crimes of varying degrees. Furthermore, the Indian cyber law is an integrated space of arenas including intellectual property rights, privacy rights, and more.

Cyber law in India deals with the following in general. It is to be noted that this is an inclusive list and not an exhaustive one. The same concepts can be dealt with in other jurisdictions around the globe.

Following are the types of cybercrimes and the types of cyber law protections.

  • Fraud: Cyber law in India identifies the theft of identity, credit cards, and other finance-based crimes as fraud; these cybercrime offenses may lead to fines, imprisonment, or both.
Fraud
  • Copyright: Cyber law in India protects copyrighted works present in online forums. The accused are punished based on the Copyright Act and other applicable acts, rules, and regulations.
Copyright
  • Defamation: The Indian constitution ensures the right to speech, but it comes with limitations; when the limitations are crossed, it constitutes defamation. A person who defames another person or an organization will be punished under cyber law.

    But, What constitutes defamation activity online? In brief, according to cyber law, spreading false information or information without evidence online constitutes defamation activity.

    Indeed, with the growth of social media usage, stronger cyber law protection is required against defamation.
Defamation
  • Harassment and stalking: Cyber law in India protects online users from harassment and stalking. When someone speaks in a targeted way against you online, it would constitute harassment. The factors of harassment are circumstantial.

When online information is used to harass someone, it is known as stalking.

Harassment and stalking are serious offenses in India that have repercussions in both civil law and criminal law.

Harassment and Stalking
  • Trade secrets: In general, trade secrets are confidential information of companies. Attempting to leak confidential information to the public or using the same for monetary gain is a serious offense as per Indian cyber law. The penalty for leaking or using trade secrets is as per the gravity of injury experienced by the infringed party. It would be right to say that there is a need for cyber law to protect trade secrets.
Trade secrets

But, why exactly is cyber law in action against cybercrimes? What are its objectives? The following section will answer the same.

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Objectives of Cyber Law

Lawmakers have executed cyber law legal protections with the following objectives. The following features of cyber law are making the internet a much safer place to explore.

  • To be a safety net against online data predators.
  • To ensure justice for cybercrime victims
  • To prevent debit card or credit card fraud. Many people have switched to digital paying methods. Cyber law tries to make sure that victims do not have to go through the additional agony of long procedures.
  • To block transactions when there is any unusual activity such as the input of an incorrect password.
  • To ensure the safety of protected data. By knowing what cyber law is, one can easily adopt preventative measures.
  • To ensure national security.

The various advantages of cyber law include the following:

  • Better protection of e-commerce sites ensures better revenue for the companies; this, in turn, ensures a better economy for the country.
  • Grievances for online transactions will be heard by the court as a part of the remedial measures of cyber law.
  • Recognition of e-documents and grievances on the same will be heard by the court.
  • Fixing security issues by the companies leads to better data protection standards.
  • Ensuring proper usage of data by the companies.

The above-mentioned are a few of the popular aspects of cyber law in India. This is not legal advice. If you require cyber law remedies, contact a lawyer immediately.

How to protect yourself on the Internet

  • Try to maintain a few social media accounts as possible. Every information you put online is a potential way to hack your account. If you are serious about maintaining your presence on several social media platforms, always ensure that your passwords are strong. Regular changing of passwords is a great way of protecting your data from hackers. You can use password manager apps to create strong passwords. Two-factor authentication would add an additional layer of security for sure.
  • Always question the app’s access permission. When you download any app/ visit any website, you will be requested a particular number of permissions. If basic permissions are requested, it is fine. However, if permissions are requested to access sensitive information such as your gallery and such, immediately deny such requests. More so, quit the website immediately/ delete the app immediately.
  • Free wi-fi is always intriguing. But oftentimes it is a honeytrap laid by hackers to lure you into using it. When you access the internet via free wifi, hackers can easily get into your device, spread viruses, steal information, and more of a similar sort.
  • Finally, always be suspicious of any “too good to be true” kind of messages/ calls. If you get any such calls/ messages, always report to the respective officials immediately.

Conclusion

Cyber law is very important to ensure the safety of the digital world, across boundaries. Always ensure that you protect your systems from any cyber attack by being aware of the applicable cyber laws.

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