Cyber theft refers to the act of using an internet to steal someone’s property or to interfere with someone’s use and enjoyment of property. In other words, cyber theft is the stealing of financial and/or personal information through the use of computers for making its fraudulent or other illegal use.
Cyber theft can also include hacking of a bank’s computer records to wrongfully credit one account and debit another and interfere with a copyright by wrongfully sending protected material over the internet. Cyber theft is said to be done when your financial or personal information is stolen via computers.
Cyber thieves can target both corporations and individuals. People feel susceptible to cyber theft. It’s because cyber thieves are sophisticated. They can breach security measures and intercept data.
Stealing of financial and/or personal information through the use of computers for making its fraudulent or other illegal use.
How to help in preventing cyber theft
Cyber theft examples range from large to small businesses to personal information. It might sound scary, but just by taking a few easy precautions, you can keep your personal information safe. Following are some points that can help:
Monitor your accounts
If you think your information is compromised, the first thing you should do is monitor your bank account, and alert your bank. If there is any fraudulent activity, you’ll notice it there first.
Shop on secure websites
When shopping online, make sure the site you’re purchasing from is secure. Look in the address bar – if there is a green padlock icon before the “https,” you know off the bat you’re on a secure website.
Be smart about opening emails
If you get an email from a bank, a big retailer or a government entity asking you to fill out personal information, think twice. Emails are one of the biggest carriers of viruses, which can also lead to cyber theft.
Encryption encodes information, whether it is stored on a device, in the cloud or being transmitted over the Internet, and only the person or computer with the proper key can decode it. Encryption is highly recommended for all devices containing sensitive information, including laptops, mobile devices, USB drives, backup drives and email.
Provisions of cyber theft
The problem of data theft which has emerged as one of the major cyber-crimes worldwide has attracted little attention of law makers in India. Unlike U.K which has The Data Protection Act, 1984 there is no specific legislation in India to tackle this problem, though India boasts of its Information Technology Act, 2000 to address the ever-growing menace of cyber-crimes, including data theft. The truth is that our IT Act, 2000 is not well equipped to tackle such crimes. The various provisions of the IT Act, 2000 which deal with the problem to some extent are as follows:
This section provides protection against destruction and unauthorized access of the computer system by imposing heavy penalty up to one crore. The unauthorized downloading, extraction and copying of data are also covered under this section. Clause ‘C’ of this section imposes penalty for unauthorized introduction of computer viruses of contaminants. Clause ‘G’ provides penalties for assisting the unauthorized access.
This section provides for computer source code. If anyone knowingly or intentionally conceals, destroys, alters or causes another to do as such shall have to suffer imprisonment of up to 3 years or fine up to 2 lakh rupees. Thus, protection has been provided against tampering of computer source documents.
Protection against hacking has been provided under this section. As per this section, hacking is defined as any act with an intention to cause wrongful loss or damage to any person or with the knowledge that wrongful loss or damage will be caused to any person and information residing in a computer resource must be either destroyed, deleted, altered or its value and utility get diminished. This section imposes the penalty of imprisonment of up to three years or fine up to two lakh rupees or both on the hacker.
This section provides protection to the data stored in the protected system. Protected systems are those computers, computer system or computer network to which the appropriate government, by issuing gazette information in the official gazette, declared it as a protected system. Any access or attempt to secure access of that system in contravention of the provision of this section will make the person’s access liable for punishment of imprisonment which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.
This section provides protection against breach of confidentiality and privacy of the data. As per this, any person upon whom powers have been conferred under IT Act and allied rules to secure access to any electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information document of other material discloses it to any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or both.
Data Theft can also be covered in IPC under sections
Section 378 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 defines ‘Theft’ as follows
Theft – Whoever, intending to take dishonestly any movable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent, moves that property in order to such taking, is said to commit theft.
Section 22 of I.P.C., 1860 defines movable property as follows:
The words movable property are intended to include corporeal property of every description, except land and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything which is attached to the earth.
Since Section 378 I.P.C., only refers to Movable Property i.e. Corporeal Property, and Data by itself is intangible, it is not covered under the definition of “Theft”. However, if Data is stored in a medium (CD, Floppy etc.) and such medium is stolen, it would be covered under the definition of ‘Theft’, since the medium is a movable property. But, if Data is transmitted electronically, i.e., in intangible form, it would not specifically constitute theft under the IPC.