Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CyberCrime: May be in Online Dictionaries but Paperbacks??

When a lot of us were mere kids or adolescents, or for that matter, even adults (oops!!), the word cyber crime did not exist in the dictionary. I am not sure if it still does in a majority of the big dictionaries. Our Enid Blytons and Agatha Christies had no inkling of it. Then for a while it was a fairy land with its esoteric witches. Now it is an irksome and awful part of our daily mundane life lived out in the virtual space. It is, in fact, now a thriving multi-billion dollar industry at the expense of the taxpayer and the exchequer. We ourselves, or some of our friends or acquaintances, have been waylaid by these highwaymen of the cyber-world. So, let us eschew all talk about the ‘whats’, ‘whos’, and ‘wheres’ of it, and cut straight to the heart of the matter taking the devil by the horns in the bullring of the courtroom, literally and figuratively.

The trick here lies in the how of the matter. Being of recent birth, the jurisprudence of cyber-crime is still nebular and evolving. As in any other like case, ‘know thine enemy’ is the dictum here as well. So, to begin with, we shall use the brief space here only to acquaint ourselves with the subject matter. It helps to know the thing in its quantity and differentiate. It would enable us to categorically identify the type of cyber-crime.

Since the spot of a cyber-crime is an intangible globally connected space, the alpha of the matter consists in sorting out the jurisdictional issues. And then, it is important to pick the right personnel for the job i.e. the task of determining who will fight the case. A successful conclusion of this sort of case calls for variegated expertise ranging the gamut from legal to technological. Only a well-organized team exerting a concerted effort can nab such clever, inconspicuous, and anonymous criminals.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Therefore, it is important to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the various technological and other aspects of the matter. For instance, the people involved. Be it the criminals themselves or the victims and the investigators. Apart from the technology, it helps everyone (the criminals themselves not excepted!) to be familiar with the investigation process. The whole forensic paraphernalia, in short: the hardware, the software, and the methodology; the acquiring, the duplicating, and the recovering of the deleted files, and so on.

Even within the compass of cyber-forensics, blackberry, cell phone, ipod etc make for special cases with their own unique technological modalities. Also, the level of public knowledgability with respect to the subject leaves much to be desired for. It is imperative, therefore, that one educate oneself about what constitutes cyber-crime, so as to protect oneself better. Basic issues like network attacks and intrusions, child pornography, email and internet crimes need to be understood. We also need to appreciate the significance of our passwords and assess their susceptibility to exploitation.

And last but not the least, as the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure. It pays to inculcate a proactive approach towards cyber-usage. There are efficient and reasonable technologies a galore for early detection and security purposes. Like any other thing of utility, cyber technologies also require some tending to. 

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