Private reporting helpline to check cyber crime

Rampant crime over cyberspace and inability of the police in dealing with such cases have led to the setting up of this helpline.

PTI| Updated: Nov 08, 2015, 10:22 AM IST
Private reporting helpline to check cyber crime

New Delhi: Victims of cyber offences can now report their cases and seek technical help at zero cost at the first private cyber crime reporting helpline which has become operational in Delhi-NCR.

Rampant crime over cyberspace and inability of the police in dealing with such cases have led to the setting up of this helpline.

Through the helpline number launched last month, the reporting centre has received around 250 complaints in 15 days.

Of the total complaints, 130 pertained to cases of financial fraud mostly phishing, and around 80 cases of outraging modesty of women through social networking sites, said a source in the Indian Cyber Army, developer of the helpline and consultant to Delhi Police and their counterparts in three other states.

Among the cases pursued in the first 15 days, most clients did not report the matter to the police ? despite being suggested ? once their problems were solved, the source said.

"However, eight particular complaints ? six cases of phishing and two cases in connection with social network sites ? were forwarded to Delhi Police and the investigators have progressed well in the probes," said a Crime Branch official.

The concept of the cyber helpline was borrowed from that of the Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3.Gov) operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), said a developer connected with the helpline.

"For both social networking and financial frauds, the protocol is simple ? contact the intermediary (banks in case of financial fraud cases and concerned sites for social networking) and communicate the complaint, provide ID proof and transaction details, and reverse the transaction/delete obscene contents," he said.

"But all that is to be done within a very short span of time, at times within hours," said the developer, adding that the centre does not charge anything for its services.

In 15 days, the centre received financial fraud complaints worth around Rs 15 lakh, of which around Rs 8 lakh have already been recovered on behalf of clients. Objectionable contents have also been deleted from hundreds of social network accounts, he claimed.

The police too follows the same protocol but the time of reaction is high, leading to a lower work out rate, said a police official.

In most cases, by the time the message reaches the destination, the damage is done. However, with time, the police are also getting more equipped in combating cyber crimes, the official added.

With 226 cases registered in connection with cyber crime offences in the previous year in relation to which 56 persons were arrested ? Delhi witnessed a 57 per cent increase. Of the total, 59 cases were in connection with outraging modesty of women and 25 in connection with fraudulent gains, National Crime Records Bureau data reveal.

"The cyber cell in the crime branch of Delhi Police comes across around 15 complaints every day. Initially financial frauds topped the list, but the position has now been taken over by cases in connection with social network sites either cheating or defacement of accounts, insulting the modesty of women," said a Crime Branch official.

A senior police official who had also served at National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) added, "Indian organisations have not paid adequate attention towards cyber security. The widespread absence of even the most routine security tools and policies has left many Indian organisations vulnerable to serious cyber-attacks and the inevitable financial losses that follow."

Delhi Police is now going to expand its operation 'Nirbheek' - initially launched for reporting sexual offences committed against school-going girls - by including social network defacement cases under its ambit.

"For the expansion in Nirbheek, we are taking the help of a UK-based consultant who had earlier helped police forces in Mumbai and foreign cities in fighting cyber crime," said a senior police official.