Author-Tanishka Saxena, Amity University, Lucknow


CRIME is as old as human society, crime in any form which adversely affects the individuals living in the society is known as crime. In the era of digitalization, everything has been changed by the internet giving rise to criminal activities. The excessive use and reliance on the internet leads to an increase the criminal activities. The word “cybercrime” is used for criminal activities with the use of computers such as fraud, violating privacy, etc. Cybercrime affects people, companies, government and even threatens the national security of the country. Several illegal activities are committed over the internet by technically skilled criminals. Cybercrime is an uncontrollable evil based on the misuse of growing dependence on computers in modern life.

What is cybercrime

“Cyber” is a prefix that is used to describe a person, thing, or idea, as a part of a computer and information taken from the Greek word ‘kubernetes’. Cybercrime is also known as computer crime, the use of the computer as an instrument for illegal purposes such as hacking, cracking, fraud, stealing identities, child pornography, extortion, money laundering, intellectual property, etc. Cybercrime is the most prevalent crime playing a devastating role in modern India.

Historical Background

Cybercrime started in the 1960s and 1970s when there were only transistor-based computer systems which were smaller in size and less expensive than vacuum tube-based machines and crimes only related to the physical damage to computer systems and stored data in the computer. In the 1970s, the method and use of computers and data has been changed there was a major shift from Manual to computer-related fraud. The very FIRST and known incident of cybercrime was the creation of the CREEPER VIRUS which foretold the potential of viruses that come in the future and cause grave damage to computer systems. After the 1970s, the MORRIS WORM caused extensive disruption and made people aware of harmful cyber activities in the 1980s. In the 1990s, a significant increase in cybercrime was observed, and the infamous Melissa virus was a notable cyber incident during this period which infected over 100,000 computers from all over the world. Further advancement in cybercriminal advancement was observed in the early 2000s and cyber criminals started launching denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks and spamming mails. In the present era, cyber crimes are much more changed, and new highly sophisticated methods of committing crimes. This decade highlighted the importance of cybersecurity measures and awareness and the evolving threats posed by cybercrime.


Some of the most common types of cybercrime:-

  1. HACKING –Without permission taking access to someone else’s computer systems or networks to steal or gain information or modify data.
  2. WEB HIJACKING – Web hacking means taking control of another person’s website, with the consent of the owner, and eventually the owner loses control.
  3. MALWARE – In malware, harmful software has been made to sneak around on someone else’s computer systems. This includes viruses, spyware, worms, etc. It can be used to gain bank details, sensitive business data, or information to conduct social engineering attacks.
  4. IDENTITY THEFT– To act like some other individual by Stealing their information such as their name, social security number, or financial details, for financial gain to commit fraud or crimes.
  5. CYBER STALKING AND HARASSMENT – Cyber Stalking means repeating the acts of harassing, threatening, or intimidating individuals by sending repeated or unwanted messages or distributing the personal information of the individual without the consent of the person by using the internet. Both kinds of Stalkers i.e., Online & Offline – have the desire to control the victim’s life.
  6. ONLINE SCAMS AND FRAUD – Many Fraudulent schemes were conducted over the internet time such as investment scams, scams of lottery, fee fraud of advance rupees, fake websites, romance scams, credit card frauds, etc. to take money or valuable information.
  7. DATA BREACHES – People get the information without the permission of the owner of the website and get access to sensitive data stored by the person or institution such as personal information, financial records, or corporate secrets, resulting in the exposure of personal or financial information.
  8. PHISHING – Phishing is the sending of fraudulent messages that appear as real entities in emails and messages. That email directs the user to visit that website where they have to update certain sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or social security numbers which will be used for identity theft.
  9. CHILD EXPLOITATION – The use of the Internet for Child exploitation become a common practice. Child pornography and engaging minors in sexual activities and provided on the internet on various platforms.


  • Keep software and operating system updated
  • Use any anti-virus software and keep it updated from time to time
  • Use strong passwords
  • Never open attachments in spam emails
  • Do not click on links in spam mail or untrusted websites
  • Be mindful of which website URLs you visit
  • Keep an eye on bank statements


  1. Shreya Singhal vs Union of India [1]

In this case, The validity of section 66A of the Information Technology Act was challenged before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held that section 66A of the Information Technology Act is unconstitutional and violates article 19(1)(a) of the Indian constitution and the court upheld the importance of freedom of speech and expression and the need for clearly defined laws to prevent misuse and necessity to defined laws precisely to avoid the abuse and guarantee the protections of citizens right in the era of digitalization. This judgment set a significant precedent for online freedom of expression in India.

  1. Shankar vs State of Rep[2]

In this case, A charge sheet was issued against the petitioner under section 483 of CrPc. Petitioner approached the Supreme Court to quash this charge sheet. He secured unauthorized access to the protected system the legal advisor of the directorate of Vigilance and anti–corruption (DVAC). He was also charged under sections 66,70, and 72 of the Information Technology Act. The court held that the charge sheet filed against the petitioner could not be quashed by the law concerning the non-granting of sanction of prosecution under Section 72 of the IT Act.

  1. Shreekanth C. Nair vs Licensee/ Developer[3]

In this case, the issue revolved around a student of ASCL who encountered a website called ‘’ he led to a pornographic site. As a result, the complainant sought a court order to block the offensive website. This website is undoubtedly pornographic and must be shut down in the public interest as well as in contravention of section 67 of the IT Act. It raised concerns about the responsibility of website developers and operators for the content available on these websites. The court held that these types of websites should be blocked because they hold inappropriate content. This decision shows that the court wants to keep the internet safe for everyone, especially from harmful content. And also directed the owner to be aware of what is on their website and what they link to. This case is important because it shows how the law helps to protect people online.


Cybercrime is one of the complex and evolving issues that has a significant impact on individual organizations and society. It affects the individuals who fall victim to scams and frauds, and businesses that suffer heavy financial losses and even a threat to the government and national security. To deal with cybercrime we have to take certain measures like strong passwords, Keeping software and operating systems updated, Using any anti-virus software, etc. Certain efforts have to be made to strengthen cybersecurity, promote digital literacy, and enforce laws and regulations that can significantly reduce its prevalence and impact. everyone needs to remain vigilant adopt best practices for online security and stay informed about emerging threats to protect themselves and contribute to a safer digital environment.

[1]Shreya Singhal vs Union of India AIR 2015 SC 1523

[2] Shankar vs State of Rep Crl. O.P. No. 6628 of 2010

[3] Shreekanth C. Nair vs Licensee/ Developer Crl. Rev. Pet. No. 2900 of 2008

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