News & Trends


Title: Cybercrime against women to sexual abuse of boys: What new data in NCRB 2017 covers

Author: The News Minute


Date: 10.25.2019



The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on Monday night published its report on Crime in India in the year 2017. Although it was published over a year after it was supposed to have been released, the report has presented some new data that was not there in previous NCRB reports. Though data on mob lynchings, khap killings and murders committed by influential people has not been included, earlier, many crimes that used to be clubbed have now been separated and the report is more detailed.


In its foreword, the NCRB stated that improvements have been undertaken to make the report more comprehensive, informative and useful for the parliamentarians, policy makers, states and union territories, researchers, academicians and other stakeholders. “Data is also now being collected under several SLL (Special and Local Laws) Acts such as The Chit Fund Act, The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, The Food Safety & Standards Act, Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), etc,” the report said.


Here are the new additions to the NCRB data:


Cyber crime against women and children


The report for the first time includes data on cyberstalking and cyberbullying of women. A total of 555 cases of cyberstalking and cyberbullying of women have been registered across India in 2017, with Maharashtra registering the most number of cases — 301 — among the states. Andhra Pradesh, with 48 cases, was second, and 27 cases were reported from Telangana and Haryana each, putting them at third place.

The report also mentions cyberstalking and cyberbullying cases against children. A total of seven cases were reported from across India, with three cases being reported from Maharashtra. Across India, a total of 88 cyber crimes against children were reported.


Sexual harassment at the work, shelters, and public transport

Under numbers for crimes registered under section 354A (sexual harassment), the NCRB this time has taken cognisance of sexual harassment of women at the workplace, in public transport and in shelter homes for women and children. Instead of just giving one figure for states and cities for cases registered under section 354A, the NCRB also breaks it down into the above categories.

Out of a total of 20,948 sexual harassment cases in India, the incidence was highest in Telangana when it came to sexual harassment at the workplace with 117 cases; Bihar reported the most number of women harassed on public transport (106); Uttar Pradesh had the most women who said they were sexually harassed in shelter homes for women and children (239).

Out of these, maximum sexual harassment was reported on public transport (599 cases), as compared to at work (479) and in shelter homes (544).

However, the numbers indicated under-reporting with many states reporting no sexual harassment in these places.


Sexual abuse of boys explicitly documented


The annual crime statistics for the National Crime Records Bureau for 2017 explicitly acknowledged for the first time that boys can be victims of child sexual abuse as well. In the cases recorded under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the NCRB has demarcated how many cases had male victims, though the numbers again suggest under-reporting.

Overall in India, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of POCSO cases with 5,248 and 4,895 incidents respectively. The other states among the top ten were West Bengal (2,131), Karnataka (1,956), Gujarat (1,697), Chhattisgarh (1,676), Telangana (1,632), Tamil Nadu (1,587), Madhya Pradesh (1,569) and Bihar (1,356).


Murder with rape cases reported


Unlike 2016, when murder with rape was included under murder, the combination has a separate category in the 2017 NCRB data. Apart from looking at murder with rape, numbers are also given for murder with rape/POCSO adding a nuance to documenting violent sexual crimes against women and children.

While a total of 151 children were found to be sexually assaulted and murdered in 2017, 227 women were reported to be raped and killed in the same year in 223 cases. 


Crimes by anti-national elements, ‘jihadi’ terrorists


The NCRB has introduced a chapter titled - 'Crimes Committed by Anti- National Elements'. A total of 783 cases have been registered under 'incidents of violence by Anti National elements', accounting for 132 deaths.

The chapter includes  - Crime Cases reported by North-East Insurgents (State/UT-wise), Crime Cases reported by Naxalites /LWEs (State/UT-wise), Crime Cases reported by Terrorists (Including Jihadi Terrorists) and Incidents of Violence by Anti National Elements and Arms Taken Away from Police/CAPFs by Anti National Elements. They do not, however, define who a Naxalite or an extremist is, in this context.


Demarcations under caste crimes


The NCRB report has demarcated incidents where only SC/ST Act was invoked against the accused and when sections of the IPC were added too. The report also documented ‘Forced to leave place of Residence/Social Boycott’ as a crime against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, as well as occupation or disposing of land that belongs to SCs/STs, prevention, denial or obstruction of usage of public place/passage.

Under crimes against SC communities, 47 incidents of land grabbing, 63 incidents of social boycott, and 12 cases of obstruction or prevention of use of public spaces were reported in 2017. Against ST communities, there were 27 land grabbing /occupation incidents and 18 incidents of social boycott /ostracisation.


Period of pendency of cases with police and with courts


In addition to the crimes that have been added to the report, the pendency percentage of the crimes and the disposal rate has also been mentioned. The period of pendency of such crimes has also been mentioned in the report. As per the data, in the year 2017, there were 99,68,435 cases registered across India under the Indian Penal Code that were pending trial.


Title: Cybercrime threats

Author: New Europe

Date: 10.27.2019


LIMASSOL, Cyprus – Chinese hackers are launching more sophisticated attacks that are as frequent and technologically savvy as Russian cyber-units, but it’s difficult to identify who is behind these attacks and international cooperation is needed to tackle cybercrime, Andrey Yarnykh, the head of strategic projects at Kaspersky Lab, told New Europe in an exclusive interview in Limassol, Cyprus on the side-lines of a conference on the role of media in countering terrorism on 22 October.

“It’s difficult to discuss the issue of information threats because the tools hackers use for attacks are being commercialised and these kinds of tools can be sold within an internal market of hackers,” he said, before adding, “You’re aware of the term ‘the Dark Net’? When we detect a certain tool that has been used for a particular hacker attack, it is very difficult to identify who used that tool because it can be used by a certain group of hackers or it could be purchased from that group of hackers and used by somebody else.”

“When we analyse the tools of hackers, all the programme codes, we can differentiate between the languages because there are Chinese-speaking hackers, English-speaking hackers, Russian-speaking hackers, and Spanish-speaking hackers. However, it is still difficult because hackers, on purpose, leave Russian words or Chinese words in their handles to send investigators down the wrong track and to confuse the people that deal with information security,” explained Yarnykh, who added that every investigation is exceedingly complicated because a cyber-attack cannot, with absolute certainty, be attributed to a specific group of hackers.

Yarnykh said Kaspersky is trying to identify hacker attacks through a process called ‘reverse engineering’ wherein cyber-security experts analyse the handle used by hackers to try to identify where it was created, what the target group of the handle is, and where the control centre of the group is located.

“Within Kaspersky, we regularly analyse these kind of hacker tools,” Yarnykh told New Europe. If Kaspersky Lab receives a government request, their experts act as go-to advisors following a thorough analysis of the hacker’s handle and any other background information they can gather about their activities.

“Of course, we’re not a government authority so we cannot carry out an official investigation, we act as experts and we are given certain handle and then we analyse it, which code it is, where it was created, etcetera. Our target is more of a scientific nature so we can develop software in the future that will provide the right type of security,” said Yarnykh.

Kaspersky Lab receives requests for their expert analysis from international organisations and foreign special services involved in cybercrime investigation, including Interpol’s Singapore-based cybercrime unit.

Asked if there is state-sponsored hacking from China and other countries, Yarnykh said, “It is hard to be 100% sure, but I think we can talk about consolidated cybercrime and this sort of cybercrime has no boundaries because the people who give the order to commit that type of crime can be sitting in one country, but the people executing the crime will be sitting in another, and the equipment used for the hacker attack can be located in a third country. It can be in African, in a European Union country, or anywhere else.”

In most cybercrime cases, the criminal offence is usually a one-off. That request comes from a certain party that is carrying out the attack according to the specific request and who are using their expertise to pursue another order or another request. Some time later they fight within each other depending who orders a certain hacker attack and there is a certain interaction between them, but they are independent,” Yarnykh explained.

Asked about a report by the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre and the US’ National Security Agency, as cited by the Financial Times, that a Russian cyber espionage unit – The Turla group – carried out attacks under the guise of being Iranian, Yarnykh said hack attacks are often carried out under a false flag.

“It’s difficult to say whether these are Russian hackers or Chinese hackers. We’re talking more about Chinese-speaking hackers or Russian-speaking hackers because it could be hackers from Russia or Ukraine…Belarus; from other CIS countries. It could also be Russian speakers who live abroad. They are buying tools from each other, and which are open for hackers. It’s an open marketplace for hackers,” said Yarnykh.

Yarnykh said intergovernmental agreements are an important aspect of international cooperation due to the fact that “Cybercrime is borderless and fighting cybercrime should have this trans-border nature to prosecute them.”

The Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime or the Budapest Convention, adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in 2001 is the legal framework that Yarnykh says in key to combatting cybercrimes.

“It’s no longer just a European convention. More countries are joining in order to fight cross-border crimes. That said, however, neither China nor Russia have signed up to participate in this convention because the Budapest treaty allows for investigations to take place across all borders. This means an investigator from one country can carry out their investigation in another country and, of course, the law enforcement agencies of most countries are pushing back against this mechanism because they think they have jurisdiction over all investigations that take place within their territorial boundaries,” said Yarnykh.

China, Russia, and other players, according to Yarnykh, “Are trying to improve the existing mechanism in place, while also taking into consideration all the challenges and problems that it faces when trying to create a truly trans-boundary mechanism that is fully capable of fighting cybercrimes. This should be created and run on international level, probably under the auspices of the United Nations.”

Yarnykh stressed that any convention that would not include the participation of all large players like the United States, Russia, China, and the European Union will not be effective. “f any one element is withdrawn or is any large global player refuses to participate, it will not be an effective mechanism for following up and, most importantly, for prosecuting those responsible for committing the crime.”


Title: Australian, Cybercrime fighting campaign launches


Date: 10.08.2019


Yesterday marked the start of the government’s Stay Smart Online Week – a national campaign encouraging Australians to improve their cyber safety.

According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre, incidents cost Australian businesses up to $29 billion each year, with almost one in three Australian adults impacted by cybercrime in 2018.

Three core strategies underpin the campaign:

  • Set your social media accounts to private.

  • Use a different password for each of your important online accounts.

  • And learn how to spot phishing attempts.

Whose responsibility is cybersecurity?

  • Individuals, organisations, and government bodies must all work hard to increase cyber security, according to Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds.

  • “The Australian Cyber Security Centre sees hundreds of reports daily from businesses, families and individuals who have fallen victim to scams, ransomware, sophisticated fraud or the theft of their intellectual property,” Reynolds said.

  • “We want to reverse these statistics, but this is a challenge that can only be overcome by working together.”

  • Not everybody is impressed with the campaign, including Shadow Assistant Minister for Cybersecurity, Tim Watts, who took aim at the government’s handling of its own web services.

  • “Inexcusably, at least 13 Commonwealth government websites are still being provided to Australians on insecure connections that leave them subject to attacks that redirected them to malicious sites or snoop on the data they send to the site,” Watts said.

  • “Australians using these websites on Chrome or Firefox internet browsers are currently warned that these Australian government websites are insecure.

  • “On top of this, the Australian National Audit Office has found that just 29 per cent of Commonwealth government departments are cyber resilient enough to have implemented the basic internal cyber security measures needed to prevent attacks.”

  • Australia Post was slammed earlier this year for its lackluster cyber security posture.

  • And the government’s legislative agenda – that has included the Assistance and Access Act and Identity Matching Services Bill – has been criticised by privacy advocates and prominent members of Australia’s tech industry.

CLOUD Act negotiations

  • Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, chose the first day of Stay Smart Online Week to release a joint statement announcing negotiations with the US to improve Australian agencies' access to data held by US digital platforms through the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act.

  • Under the CLOUD Act, the US may enter bilateral agreements with other nations to “ensure effective access to electronic data that lies beyond a requesting country’s reach due to the revolution in electronic communications, recent innovations in the way global technology companies configure their systems, and the legacy of 20th century legal frameworks.”

  • Dutton said faster access to citizens’ data was necessary for criminal prosecutions.

  • “Current processes for obtaining electronic information held by service providers in other countries risk loss of evidence and unacceptable delays to criminal justice outcomes,” Dutton said.

  • “When police are investigating a terrorist plot or serious crime such as child exploitation, they need to be able to move forward without delay, but within the law – and the CLOUD Act strikes exactly that balance.

  • “We have some way to go before the agreement is finalized, but once in place it will mean service providers based in the United States can respond directly to electronic data requests issued by our enforcement agencies under Australian law for data critical for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of serious crime.”


Turn your computer off

  • At last week’s MPower cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas, former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, told a room full of cybersecurity experts to work on giving away less online.

  • “The safest way to protect a method of communications is to turn it off,” he said.

  • “I learned this as a young lieutenant. Now I try to get online and offline as fast as I can to minimise the time on-air.

  • “I think we should all try to shut up a little bit and not give ourselves away to the other side all the time.”


Title: ASEAN unites to fight back on cyber crime


Date: 10.02.2019


ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence launched with mandate to increase cybersecurity cooperation in South East Asia.

Among a slew of important announcements on Day 2 of the Singapore International Cyber Week (SICW), regional cooperation for strengthening ASEAN cybersecurity took centre stage.

On Wednesday at the ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity, S Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, announced the launch of the ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence (ASCCE).

The ASCCE will have a commitment of S$30 million over five years and will offer policy and technical programmes.

Iswaran noted that the ASCCE has been conceived as an open and inclusive platform with industry, academia and international organisations welcome to participate.

The ASCCE will fulfil three main functions. First, it will conduct research and provide training in areas on international law, cyber strategy, cyber conflict, legislation, cyber norms and other cybersecurity policy issues.

Second, it will provide CERT-related training, and facilitate the exchange of open-source cyber threat and attack-related information and best practices.

Third, it will conduct virtual cyber defence trainings and exercises.

For a start, the ASCCE has partnered with Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore to have a Cyber Range Facility which became operational from Wednesday. The main ASCCE training centre, located at the heart of Singapore, will be ready in the second quarter of 2020, the Minister added.

New initiatives

Iswaran also announced that ASCCE has undertaken two new initiatives with the United Nations. Under the United Nations-Singapore Cyber Programme (UNSCP), the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and Singapore will conduct a Senior Executive Cyber Fellowship, with the first run to be conducted next year.

“This fellowship will equip senior management level participants with inter-disciplinary cyber and technology expertise to support their work on national cybersecurity policy, strategy and operations. Each ASEAN Member State will be invited to send a representative,” the Minister added.

Singapore will also be conducting a workshop on the Implementation of Norms and Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) as a follow up to the July 2019 UNSCP Norms Awareness workshop.

ASCCE will have to develop strong links with the private sector. “Much of the digital infrastructure and capabilities lie within the private sector. The private sector has invested much in developing its own capacity to deal with cyber threats,” he said