Cyber Law & IT Act Overview
Cyberspace can be defined as an intricate environment that involves interactions between people, software, and services. It is maintained by the worldwide distribution of information and communication technology devices and networks.
With the benefits carried by the technological advancements, the cyberspace today has become a common pool used by citizens, businesses, critical information infrastructure, military and governments in a fashion that makes it hard to induce clear boundaries among these different groups. The cyberspace is anticipated to become even more complex in the upcoming years, with the increase in networks and devices connected to it.
Cybersecurity denotes the technologies and procedures intended to safeguard computers, networks, and data from unlawful admittance, weaknesses, and attacks transported through the Internet by cyber delinquents.
ISO 27001 (ISO27001) is the international Cybersecurity Standard that delivers a model for creating, applying, functioning, monitoring, reviewing, preserving, and improving an Information Security Management System.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology under the government of India provides a strategy outline called the National Cybersecurity Policy. The purpose of this government body is to protect the public and private infrastructure from cyber-attacks.
The cybersecurity policy is a developing mission that caters to the entire field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) users and providers. It includes −
- Home users
- Small, medium, and large Enterprises
- Government and non-government entities
It serves as an authority framework that defines and guides the activities associated with the security of cyberspace. It allows all sectors and organizations in designing suitable cybersecurity policies to meet their requirements. The policy provides an outline to effectively protect information, information systems and networks.
It gives an understanding into the Government’s approach and strategy for security of cyber space in the country. It also sketches some pointers to allow collaborative working across the public and private sectors to safeguard information and information systems. Therefore, the aim of this policy is to create a cybersecurity framework, which leads to detailed actions and programs to increase the security carriage of cyberspace.
The Information Technology Act 2000 or any legislation in the Country does not describe or mention the term Cyber Crime. It can be globally considered as the gloomier face of technology. The only difference between a traditional crime and a cyber-crime is that the cyber-crime involves in a crime related to computers. Let us see the following example to understand it better −
Traditional Theft − A thief breaks into Ram’s house and steals an object kept in the house.
Hacking − A Cyber Criminal/Hacker sitting in his own house, through his computer, hacks the computer of Ram and steals the data saved in Ram’s computer without physically touching the computer or entering in Ram’s house.
The I.T. Act, 2000 defines the terms −
- access in computer network in section 2(a)
- computer in section 2(i)
- computer network in section (2j)
- data in section 2(0)
- information in section 2(v).
To understand the concept of Cyber Crime, you should know these laws. The object of offence or target in a cyber-crime are either the computer or the data stored in the computer.
Nature of Threat
Among the most serious challenges of the 21st century are the prevailing and possible threats in the sphere of cybersecurity. Threats originate from all kinds of sources, and mark themselves in disruptive activities that target individuals, businesses, national infrastructures, and governments alike. The effects of these threats transmit significant risk for the following −
- public safety
- security of nations
- stability of the globally linked international community
Malicious use of information technology can easily be concealed. It is difficult to determine the origin or the identity of the criminal. Even the motivation for the disruption is not an easy task to find out. Criminals of these activities can only be worked out from the target, the effect, or other circumstantial evidence. Threat actors can operate with considerable freedom from virtually anywhere. The motives for disruption can be anything such as −
- simply demonstrating technical prowess
- theft of money or information
- extension of state conflict, etc.
Criminals, terrorists, and sometimes the State themselves act as the source of these threats. Criminals and hackers use different kinds of malicious tools and approaches. With the criminal activities taking new shapes every day, the possibility for harmful actions propagates.
The lack of information security awareness among users, who could be a simple school going kid, a system administrator, a developer, or even a CEO of a company, leads to a variety of cyber vulnerabilities. The awareness policy classifies the following actions and initiatives for the purpose of user awareness, education, and training −
- A complete awareness program to be promoted on a national level.
- A comprehensive training program that can cater to the needs of the national information security (Programs on IT security in schools, colleges, and universities).
- Enhance the effectiveness of the prevailing information security training programs. Plan domain-specific training programs (e.g., Law Enforcement, Judiciary, E-Governance, etc.)
- Endorse private-sector support for professional information security certifications.
Information Technology Act
The Government of India enacted The Information Technology Act with some major objectives which are as follows −
- To deliver lawful recognition for transactions through electronic data interchange (EDI) and other means of electronic communication, commonly referred to as electronic commerce or E-Commerce. The aim was to use replacements of paper-based methods of communication and storage of information.
- To facilitate electronic filing of documents with the Government agencies and further to amend the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Bankers’ Books Evidence Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The Information Technology Act, 2000, was thus passed as the Act No.21 of 2000. The I. T. Act got the President’s assent on June 9, 2000 and it was made effective from October 17, 2000. By adopting this Cyber Legislation, India became the 12th nation in the world to adopt a Cyber Law regime.
Mission and Vision Cybersecurity Program
The following mission caters to cybersecurity −
- To safeguard information and information infrastructure in cyberspace.
- To build capabilities to prevent and respond to cyber threats.
- To reduce vulnerabilities and minimize damage from cyber incidents through a combination of institutional structures, people, processes, technology, and cooperation.