Cybercrime refers to criminal activities that are committed using the internet or other forms of electronic communication. Cybercrimes can take many forms, including hacking, identity theft, online fraud, cyberstalking, distribution of child pornography, and online piracy.
Under Indian law, cybercrime is regulated by the Information Technology Act, 2000. The Act defines cybercrime as any offense that is committed using a computer, computer system, computer network, or any other electronic communication device.
The Act does not provide a single, exhaustive definition of cybercrime. Instead, it defines a number of specific offenses that are considered to be cybercrimes, such as:
- Hacking (section 43): This offense refers to unauthorized access to a computer, computer system, or computer network, with the intention of obtaining, destroying, altering, or stealing data.
- Identity theft (section 66C): This offense refers to the unauthorized use of another person’s identity information (such as their name, address, or financial details) to commit a crime or cause harm.
- Online fraud (section 66D): This offense refers to the use of a computer or other electronic communication device to cheat or deceive someone in order to gain a financial or other advantage.
- Cyberstalking (section 66E): This offense refers to the use of a computer or other electronic communication device to harass or intimidate another person.
- Distribution of child pornography (section 67B): This offense refers to the distribution of sexually explicit images or videos of children through the internet or other electronic means.
- Online piracy (section 63): This offense refers to the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted material (such as movies, music, or software) through the internet or other electronic means.
Here is the relevant extract from the Information Technology Act, 2000:
“Cybercrime: Whoever, with intent to cause or knowing that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person, destroys or deletes or alters any information contained in a computer resource or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means, commits hacking.”