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Prakash Yedhula (Lawyer)     25 May 2009

Any offence under law in which an electronic document is involved can be termed generally as a "Cyber Crime". Such an electronic document can be a tool of Crime or an object of Crime.

The crime can be an "Internet Crime" where a website or an e-mail might be used as a tool or a crime involving a LAN or even a single computer. A Crime using a Mobile or ATM is also generally covered under the term "Cyber Crime" since electronic documents are involved.

Out of the crimes some crimes come under Information Technology Act 2000 and some may come under other statutes such as IPC.

For the purpose of determining the jurisdiction of specially designated Cyber Crime Police Stations, offences under ITA 2000 alone may be considered as "Cyber Crime". This is a limited definition.

eg: A defamatory/threatening message sent through e-mail or SMS is an offence under IPC and not under ITA 2000. If the message is "Obscene" it may be an offence under Section 67 of ITA 2000.

A Fraud committed using web or e-mail such as the Nigerian Fraud or a Lottery fraud is an offence under IPC and not under ITA 2000.

Any offence in which an Electronic Document is accessed or altered causing a wrongful harm to some body may be an offence under Section 66 of ITA 2000.

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kartikeya (lawyer/cyber law consultant/cyber crime investigator)     26 May 2009

Cybercrime is one of the fastest-growing criminal activities on the planet. It covers a huge range of illegal activity including financial scams, computer hacking, downloading p*rnographic images from the internet, virus attacks, stalking by e-mail and creating websites that promote racial hatred. A generalized definition of cyber crime may be “ unlawful acts wherein the computer is either a tool or target or both”(3) The computer may be used as a tool in the following kinds of activity- financial crimes, sale of illegal articles, p*rnography, online gambling, intellectual property crime, e-mail spoofing, forgery, cyber defamation, cyber stalking. The computer may however be target for unlawful acts in the following cases- unauthorized access to computer/ computer system/ computer networks, theft of information contained in the electronic form, e-mail bombing, data didling, salami attacks, logic bombs, Trojan attacks, internet time thefts, web jacking, theft of computer system, physically damaging the computer system.

Types of cyber crime:

   1. Unauthorized access to computer systems or networks / Hacking-

 This kind of offence is normally referred as hacking in the generic sense. However the framers of the information technology act 2000 have no where used this term so to avoid any confusion we would not interchangeably use the word hacking for ‘unauthorized access’ as the latter has wide connotation.

   2. Theft of information contained in electronic form-

This includes information stored in computer hard disks, removable storage media etc.  Theft may be either by appropriating the data physically or by tampering them through the virtual medium.

   3. Email bombing-

This kind of activity refers to sending large numbers of mail to the victim, which may be an individual or a company or even mail servers there by ultimately resulting into crashing.

   4. Data diddling-

This kind of an attack involves altering raw data just before a computer processes it and then changing it back after the processing is completed. The electricity board faced similar problem of data diddling while the department was being computerised.

   5. Salami attacks-

 This kind of crime is normally prevalent in the financial institutions or for the purpose of committing financial crimes. An important feature of this type of offence is that the alteration is so small that it would normally go unnoticed. E.g. the Ziegler case wherein a logic bomb was introduced in the bank’s system, which deducted 10 cents from every account and deposited it in a particular account.

   6. Denial of Service attack-

The computer of the victim is flooded with more requests than it can handle which cause it to crash. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is also a type of denial of service attack, in which the offenders are wide in number and widespread. E.g. Amazon, Yahoo.

 7.    Virus / worm attacks-

 Viruses are programs that attach themselves to a computer or a file and then circulate themselves to other files and to other computers on a network. They usually affect the data on a computer, either by altering or deleting it. Worms, unlike viruses do not need the host to attach themselves to. They merely make functional copies of themselves and do this repeatedly till they eat up all the available space on a computer's memory. E.g. love bug virus, which affected at least 5 % of the computers of the globe. The losses were accounted to be $ 10 million. The world's most famous worm was the Internet worm let loose on the Internet by Robert Morris sometime in 1988.  Almost brought development of Internet to a complete halt.

8.     Logic bombs-

 These are event dependent programs. This implies that these programs are created to do something only when a certain event (known as a trigger event) occurs. E.g. even some viruses may be termed logic bombs because they lie dormant all through the year and become active only on a particular date (like the Chernobyl virus).

   9.   Trojan attacks-

   This term has its origin in the word ‘Trojan horse’. In software field this means an unauthorized programme, which passively gains control over another’s system by representing itself as an authorised programme. The most common form of installing a Trojan is through e-mail. E.g. a Trojan was installed in the computer of a lady film director in the U.S. while chatting. The cyber criminal through the web cam installed in the computer obtained her nude photographs. He further harassed this lady.

  10.  Internet time thefts-

Normally in these kinds of thefts the Internet surfing hours of the victim are used up by another person. This is done by gaining access to the login ID and the password. E.g. Colonel Bajwa’s case- the Internet hours were used up by any other person. This was perhaps one of the first reported cases related to cyber crime in India. However this case made the police infamous as to their lack of understanding of the nature of cyber crime.

11.  Web jacking-

         This term is derived from the term hi jacking. In these kinds of offences the hacker gains access and control over the web site of another. He may even mutilate or change the information on the site. This may be done for fulfilling political objectives or for money. E.g. recently the site of MIT (Ministry of Information Technology) was hacked by the Pakistani hackers and some obscene matter was placed therein. Further the site of Bombay crime branch was also web jacked. Another case of web jacking is that of the ‘gold fish’ case. In this case the site was hacked and the information pertaining to gold fish was changed. Further a ransom of US $ 1 million was demanded as ransom. Thus web jacking is a process where by control over the site of another is made backed by some consideration for it.

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Shree. ( Advocate.)     26 May 2009

Some Noteworthy Provisions Under The Information Technology Act, 2000.


Damage to Computer system etc. Compensation for Rupees 1crore.


Hacking (with intent or knowledge) Fine of 2 lakh rupees, and imprisonment for 3 years.


Publication of obscene material in e-form Fine of 1 lakh rupees, and imprisonment of 5years, and double conviction on second offence
Sec.68 Not complying with directions of controller Fine upto 2 lakh and imprisonment of 3 years.
Sec.70 attempting or securing access to computer Imprisonment upto 10 years.
Sec.72 For breaking confidentiality of the information of computer Fine upto 1 lakh and imprisonment upto 2 years
Sec.73 Publishing false digital signatures, false in certain particulars Fine of 1 lakh, or imprisonment of 2 years or both.
Sec.74 Publication of Digital Signatures for fraudulent purpose. Imprisonment for the term of 2 years and fine for 1 lakh rupees.

N.K.Assumi (Advocate)     25 May 2010

In India Computer crime is dealt with under the Information Technology Act 2000, but the act has not defined Computer Crime, if I am not misteken, but the offences are provided under chapter XI from section 65 to 78 of the said Act. But Computer Crime has been broadly defined as any illegal act that involves a computer systems, or its applications. It is any intentional act associated in any way with computers where a victim suffered or could have suffered a loss, and prepetrator made or could have  made a gain. The United states department of Justice provides another definition, stating that computer crime is any illegal act for which knowledge of computer technolofy is essential for either its preperation, investigation, or prosecution.


Vicky Shah (Founder)     16 August 2013

Communication Device if used as tool

Communication Device if used as target

Communication Device if incidental

If any of the above criteria meets it is Computer Related Offence (Cyber Crime/Communication Device Offence)

More information read: "Are You Protected?" - The Handbook on Cyber Crime Awarenss and Prevention. https://www.bigbookshop.com/book/are-you-protected---the-handbook-on-cyber-crimes---computer-releated-offences--awareness-and-preventation/3836

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