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Cyberstalking and cybercrime: Legal and technological solutions

Cyberstalking and cybercrime: Legal and technological solutions

Cyberstalking entails using information and communications technology (ICT) to commit multiple deliberate acts to persistently harass, annoy, attack, threaten, frighten, and verbally abuse individuals.
Perpetrators may directly engage in cyberstalking by employing methods such as emailing, instant messaging, calling, texting, or utilising other electronic communication channels to convey obscene, vulgar, and defamatory remarks and threats to the victim, as well as the victim’s family, partner, and acquaintances. They may also utilise technologies to monitor, surveil, and track the victim’s movements.
Additionally, perpetrators may indirectly engage in cyberstalking by inflicting harm upon the victim’s digital devices through various means, such as disseminating false, malicious, and offensive information about the victim online or by creating a counterfeit account in the victim’s name to publish material on the internet.
Although the terms cyberstalking and cyberbullying are frequently used interchangeably, cyberstalking constitutes a subset of cyberbullying, which, alongside cybersquatting, constitutes a portion of the expanding array of computer- and internet-related offences collectively known as cybercrime.
The Risk of Cyberattacks and Data Breaches
Cyber attacks and data breaches are constant in today’s growing economy. In the recent case of Aadhar data between the years 2017 and 2018, the nation faced massive data breaches related to Aadhar card details as personal information had been made available on public platforms, and there was unauthorised access to personal information.
The impact of this data bridge was huge as personal information such as biometric details, residential address, and even bank details, which were related to the Aadhar card, was leaked. Another recent case In February 2021, Air India experienced a security breach where hackers unlawfully accessed the personal information of 4.5 million of its customers. This unauthorised access to Air India’s database occurred shortly after a similar breach at Akasa Air. Following the incident, Air India emailed affected passengers about the breach, informing them that their data, including user IDs and passwords, had been compromised.
The hackers obtained sensitive information that allowed them to access passengers’ GST invoices, which they then disclosed publicly. However, Air India stated that credit card details such as CVC and CVV numbers were not accessed by the hackers, contrary to some allegations.
Prevention and response strategies for Cyberattacks and data breaches
Various means can be adopted to prevent cyberattacks, such as:
Do not disclose the IP address on various online platforms while interacting with people, as this would directly give access to all the personal information of the stalker. He would have access to the credit card details, internet usage, delivery address for goods, and other personal information.
Furthermore, to reduce this information leak, privacy settings should be modified not to accept unwanted cookies so that websites cannot constantly monitor us and obtain our sensitive information.
Further, it is also advised to constantly update the new software to ensure that security flaws, bugs, and user information safety are prioritised. Another way to prevent cyberstalking is to mitigate the risk of stalkers acquiring personal information through online channels. It is advisable to refrain from voluntarily disclosing such details on the internet. It is recommended that robust passwords be provided online to prevent unauthorised access to personal information. Furthermore, disabling location services for online websites diminishes the likelihood of disclosing one’s whereabouts and related details to the intruder.
Legal consequences of cyberattacks and data breaches
The legal consequences and punishments have been broadly mentioned in IPc, Crpc, and the Information Act, such as Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code, which delineates the offence of stalking, encompassing both physical and cyber manifestations. The section, originating from the Criminal Amendment Act of 2013 after the Delhi gang rape case, defines the activities constituting stalking, including monitoring a woman’s internet usage. However, it has been critiqued for its gender specificity, solely addressing women as victims and neglecting male victims. Moreover, the absence of a proper explanation regarding the method of observing poses interpretational challenges, potentially encompassing unintentional actions such as stalking. Additionally, Section 292 of the IPC, concerning obscenity, and Section 507, about criminal intimidation via anonymous communication, are invoked in cases related to cyberstalking, highlighting the multifaceted legal framework addressing such offences.
On the other hand, the Information Technology Act of 2000 enhances the legal apparatus targeting cyberstalking through sections like 67, 67A, and 67B, criminalising the publication of obscene or sexually explicit material, particularly concerning minors, and capturing private images without consent. Notably, Section 66E of the IT Act broadens the scope of voyeurism beyond gender-specific parameters, extending protection to all individuals. Further, Section 354C of the IPC emphasises the importance of comprehensive legal frameworks to address the complexities of cyberstalking in contemporary digital landscapes.
Cybersecurity insurance: An overview
Cybersecurity insurance, sometimes known as cyber insurance, is a tool that helps organisations reduce the risk of cybercrime activities, such as cyberattacks and data breaches. It shields businesses from the financial burden of online dangers that impact information governance, IT infrastructure, and information policy—aspects frequently not included in typical and commercial liability insurance plans.
The same principles apply to cyber insurance coverage as they comply with the company’s insurance against natural disasters and physical threats. It protects against any losses a business might sustain because of a cyberattack. Monthly modifications to cybersecurity policies are possible due to the dynamic and erratic nature of the linked cyber risks. In the absence of defined insurance plans, underwriters of cyber insurance policies possess restricted data that they can utilise to create risk models that ascertain insurance policies’ coverages, rates, and premiums.
Cyber insurance is a pillar for any organisation that generates, saves, or handles electronic data online. In the digital age, credit card numbers, sales records, contact details, and personally identifiable information are all common targets for hackers. Because ransomware and other cyberattacks can cause a business’s finances to suffer, e-commerce companies can generate profit from cyber insurance.
Conclusion
In conclusion, cyberstalking, cybercrime, and data breaches suggest a vital requirement for a properly structured legal framework, which would lead to solutions for safeguarding individuals and organisations in this digital era. Cyberstalking is a form of cybercrime that is a significant threat to the individual’s privacy, safety, and mental health; thus, through proper structure, this would address the offences more effectively. Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code and provisions within the Information Technology Act of 2000 have crucial roles in defining and penalising cyberstalking behaviours, though challenges such as gender specificity and interpretational nuances persist. Various strategies should be adopted, such as proactive prevention and responsive strategies, which would safeguard personal information, as well as regular software updating and investing in cyber security, which would reduce the risk of cyber-attacks in data breaches. Moreover, introducing cyber security insurance would provide the organisation with financial safety against cyber threats, emphasising the importance of including risk management practices in business operations. By adopting these measures, the threat of cyber security would be reduced to a great extent, and awareness should be generated.