AP Police log in experts to crack cyber crimes

AP Police have roped in IT experts to help them overcome the hurdle by providing proper training.

Updated: Feb 24, 2011, 09:45 AM IST

Hyderabad: With Investigating Officers
(IOs) lacking the expertise to deal with cyber crimes, Andhra
Pradesh Police have roped in information technology experts to
help them overcome the hurdle by providing proper training.

Insufficient expertise with the IOs was a big hurdle
in probing such cases and these officers were not adequately
trained in investigation of cyber offences and collection of
electronic evidence, Additional Superintendent of Police
(Cyber Crime) U Rama Mohan said.

Cyber crime inquiry requires tracking the offender who
sends a particular e-mail or fraudulent bank transaction over
the Internet. If the IO does not have the proper skill, he
will find it difficult to track and nab the criminal, he said.

Crime scene preservation, search and seizure of
electronic evidence require a different approach than that of
conventional method, Mohan added.

The police have taken up various training programmes
with the help of experts in IT law. However, there still are
practical problems in the enforcement of cyber law due to
issues like jurisdiction, collection of evidence and
inadequate knowledge about cyber laws, he said.

Besides training police personnel to deal with the new
age crime, there was a need for orienting judicial magistracy
and prosecutors to appreciate the special conditions and
technical aspects of evidence relating to cyber law, he said.

There is a need to be sensitised to appreciate the
"electronic evidence" presented in the courts.

Some legal
officers may not have proper knowledge of computer jargons
like IP address, full header, hacking or e-banking, he said. Certain offences like phishing (a practice of using
fraudulent e-mails and copies of legitimate websites to
extract financial data from computer users for purposes of
identity theft) and cyber stalking may appear relatively new
to some investigators, who need to be trained to deal with
such cases, the officer said.

On the issue of jurisdiction, Mohan said police
operate within local boundaries, focusing on crime occurring
within their area. "But the global nature of Internet and
cyber space brings together the offenders, victims and
targets, who were otherwise situated in different countries."

Often the cyber offences span beyond national
boundaries, making it difficult for investigators to collect
evidence and apprehend the culprit, he said.

CrPC provides for writing Letter Rogatory (LR) and
seek information from abroad and also process requests coming
from other countries. But the process of securing evidence
through LR was lengthy and time-consuming. This delay allows
the offender to repeat his offences with impunity, he said.

The Government should have Mutual Legal Assistance
treaties with a large number of countries to ensure speedy
probe of cyber crime, said Mohan, who was a forensic expert.

At present three cyber crime police stations are
functional in Andhra Pradesh, an IT hub with Hyderabad as the
main centre. While CID cyber crime station was set up in 2002,
one in Hyderabad and another under jurisdiction of Cyberabad
Commissionerate were working since last year.

The CID cyber crime station, which has jurisdiction of
the entire state, has so far registered 169 cases under
various Sections of IPC and Information Technology (IT) Act.

It has arrested 41 persons, including Nigerians,
during the last four years in various cases including hacking,
source code alteration and theft, debit card and ATM card
fraud, publishing pornography and obscene text in the form of
electronic photo, Mohan told PTI.

Of the 41 persons, 12 persons belonged to other states
like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Orissa and
Karnataka, he said.