The boom of the internet has been both a blessing and a curse. While one can get so much useful information from the internet, it has also changed the face of cyber crimes. Like how there has been a huge increase in the number of internet users in the past decade, the number of cyber crimes have also increased substantially along with it.

Nowadays you would not be able to listen to the news, without a topic on cyber crimes. India is nowhere behind in this cyber crime scenario. However, our Government is taking enough measures to reduce this surge in cyber crimes by requesting netizens to report the same and which can be done both offline, for the not so tech-savvy, and online as well.

Let us now look into the process of cyber threat reporting in India.

Reporting a Cybercrime

Cyber crime can be reported in either of the 2 ways:

  1. Offline Cyber Cell – WIth all the necessary details
  2. National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal – You could either report anonymously or you could report and track giving your information.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs/National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, a cybercrime may be defined as “any unlawful act where a computer or communication device or computer network is used to commit or facilitate the commission of crime”.

This portal is an initiative by GoI to enable victims/complainants to report online cyber crime.

There are 2 types of cybercrimes that one can report:

1. Report crime related to women/child 

2. Report other cyber crimes (Social media crimes come in this category). 

A point to be noted is that only complaints that have been filed under ‘Report Other Cyber Crime’ section can be withdrawn before it is converted into FIR.

Filing a Report

  1. One needs to first register in the Ministry of Home Affairs/National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal or send an email to complaint-mwcd@gov.in, a hotline created by the Ministry of Women and Child development to report online bullying and abuse. 
  2. Select appropriate category and sub-category
  3. Report with all necessary data that is required

Now let us get into the details on how to go about reporting a cyber crime and what details need to be filled in the portal.

In the Home Page of the Ministry of Home Affairs/National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal once you click on “Report Women/Child Related Crime” there is a button to “File a complaint” as shown in Figure 1.

Filing a Complaint on the Cybercrime Portal

Figure 1: Filing a Complaint on the Portal (Image Courtesy: Ministry of Home Affairs/National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal)

After clicking the “File a complaint” button it takes you to the “Terms and Conditions” page which one would need to accept before going to the next step in the process for filing a complaint as shown in Figure 2.

Cybercrime Cell terms and conditions

Figure 2: Terms and Conditions on the Portal (Image Courtesy: Ministry of Home Affairs/National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal)

 

Once you click on “I Accept” and if you have selected “Report Anonymously” from the “Report Women/Child Related Crime” tab, it takes you to the following page as shown in Figure 3.

Anonymous reporting on the Cybercrime Portal

Figure 3: Anonymous reporting on the Portal (Image Courtesy: Ministry of Home Affairs/National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal)

Figure 3 is self explanatory and one needs to fill the Incident and Suspect details and submit.

Once you click on “File a complaint” and if you have selected “Report & Track” from the “Report Women/Child Related Crime” tab or click on “Report other Cyber Crime” tab it asks you to register your mobile number along with other details as shown in Figure 4. However, like before you will need to do the steps shown in Figure 1 and 2 and then do the one shown in the Figure 4 and proceed to register the complaint.

Citizen Login registration

Figure 4: Citizen Login registration (Image Courtesy: Ministry of Home Affairs/National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal)

 

Do note that providing false information could make the complainant liable to penal action under the Indian Penal Code.

Once the complaint is registered, an acknowledgement number is generated and status of the complaint can be checked using the same. The complaints reported on the portal would then be handled by the appropriate state/UT police authorities. 

About the Portals

Ministry of Home Affairs/National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal

This portal provides a centralized channel for online reporting of all types of cyber crimes giving special attention to crimes against women and children. It started operations from August 30th 2019.

The portal has a separate channel to report crimes against women/child and other cyber crimes respectively. They also upload videos on the latest cyber crimes, how to stay safe from them, upload tweets on various cyber frauds and how to stay protected from those.

They also have a separate helpline for those in distress. One can also register as a volunteer to protect netizens from cyber threats. There are also resources offering cyber safety tips and cyber awareness.

Ministry of Women and Child development

This portal is a branch of GoI and is responsible for formulating and administrating the rules, regulations and laws pertaining to women and child development in India. It came into effect on 30th January 2006. 

This ministry was set up for the advancement of women and children. It not only coordinates the efforts of those working in the field of women and child development, but also guides them in their work.

Protecting Yourself from Cyber Crimes – Few Tips

  • Keep your systems up-to-date, be it operating systems, software and security solution
  • Ensure you use strong passwords and change them periodically
  • Set up multi-factor authentication for accessing the websites
  • Back up critical data and store them in a safe place
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi
  • Ensure you do not enter any critical details on any pop-up windows
  • Stay cautious and double-check the website’s authenticity, especially those that needs access to your financial details
  • Be up-to-date with the latest security news

Cyber crime is an ongoing threat. As long as the internet is alive, this threat will remain and will continue to grow in scale and complexity as technology to detect and catch the culprits grows. Netizens need to be made aware of the cyber threats lurking around them and also how to not get trapped into the same. Parents and Teachers need to teach their kids how to stay safe online. All said and done, it is upto the netizens to watch their step while online.

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