Social Media Hacks and Spamming

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This post is written by Aanchal Chaurasia. She is 4th year law student pursuing 5th year of  B.L.S./LL.B. from Rizvi Law College in Mumbai University.

SMALL STORY RELATED TO HACKING ACCESS TO SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS:-

Vyoma visits a cybercafé to take the print out of her work-related documents, from her e-mail. While the print out is processing, she accesses her social media profile and checks other e-mails. As soon as the print outs are ready, she rushes to collect it. She closes the browser window without logging out of the account and leaves the cybercafé. (After 3 hours) Vyoma receives a notification that the password of her social media account has been reset. She tries to check her social media account from mobile but is unable to access it now. Vyoma gets a call from her Boss stating that the confidential project documents were leaked on the Internet by her. She again receives a call from her friend saying that her social media page shows obscene images and videos. Vyoma loses her job due to the leaking of the project documents. Moreover, she is ashamed that her photoshopped obscene images are posted on social media. She regrets that she did not log out of her social media account. Vyoma decides to report the incident in the Police Station. The Inspector investigates the matter and arrests the culprit.

DESCRIBE THE CYBERCRIME:-

Cybercrime is a crime involving computers and networks. Common types of Cybercrime include identifying theft, online predatory crimes, online bank information theft, illegally downloading music files to stealing money from online bank accounts, and unauthorized computer access. Most important is cyber terrorism.
Cybercrime encompasses a wide range of activities, but these can generally be broken into two categories:

Crimes that use computer networks to advance other criminal activities. These types of crimes include cyber stalking, phishing, and fraud, or identity theft.
Crimes that target computer networks or devices. These types of crimes include viruses and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.
The National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal[1] identifies cybercrime fugitives who have allegedly committed trafficked counterfeit devices that access personal electronic information and bank fraud. This portal also provides information on how to report cybercrimes and women/ child-related crimes.

CASE LAW:-

  1.  Ajay Murlidhar Batheja VS The State Of Maharashtra And Anr on 26 October 2018[4]

In this case, the respect of stopping of the Server Provisioning of CBCRM System, it is revealed someone had made changes in the instructions of the source code of server Provisioning Application (SP) in such a way that, the Servers Provisioning Application of the CBCRM system would stop working from 16.07.2017. In connection with the same, when inspection of the logs on the firewall of the said server was made and it is found that the said Internet activity of 27.06.2017 had occurred from I.P. Address, of M/s.Tech Mahindra Ltd., who was previously giving service of the keeping support and maintenance of the CBCRM System. Thereafter, more information in respect of the same was obtained, the said IP addresses were of Prasanna Salimath and Rajesh Sharma of M/s. Tech Mahindra Ltd., who were doing the work of N.S. Kamble maintenance through a distant method (VPN). The Incharge of the Cyber Police Station Crime No.01 of 2018 invoked and applied provisions of Sections 43, 65, 66 of the Information Technology Act and Section 420, 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

           2.      Gagan Harsh Sharma and Anr VS The State Of Maharashtra And Anr.[5]

In this case, the complaint would reveal that the allegations relate to the use of the data code by the employees of the complainant company by accessing the Code and stealing data by using the computer source code. Further, as far as Section 408 is concerned which relates to criminal breach of trust, by a clerk or servant who is entrusted in such capacity with the property or with any dominion over property, would also fall within the purview of Section 43 would intents to cover any act of accessing a computer by a person without the permission of the owner or a person in charge of computer and/or stealing of any data, computer database or any information from such computer or a computer system including information or data held or stored in any removable storage medium and if it is done with fraudulent and dishonest intention then it amounts to an offense. The ingredients of an offense under which are attracted by invoking and applying the Section 420, 408, 379 of the Indian Penal Code are covered by Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and prosecuting the petitioners under the both Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act would be a brazen violation of protection against double jeopardy.

DESCRIBE IT’S LEGALITY:-

The biggest challenge to the law is to keep pace with technology. The Information Technology Act, a law based primarily on the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce was passed by the Indian legislature in 2000. While that statute had no provisions directly relating to spam, it did have provisions on hacking and on ‘damage to the computer, computer system, etc.’ that were remarkably broad.

The legality in the case of social media hacks and spamming goes under the Sections 43, 43A, 66A, 66B, 66C, 66E, 67, 67A, and 67B of the Information Technology Act, 2000[2]. It’s also goes under Sections 499, 29A, 494, 463, 468, 474, 476 and other relevant section of Indian Penal Code (IPC)[3].

[1] Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, (August 30th, 2019), www.cybercrime.gov.in.

[2] Minister of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India, (June 9th, 2020), https://meity.gov.in/content/view-it-act-2000.

[3]Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, The Indian Penal Code, (Act XLV of 1860).

[4] Ajay Murlidhar Batheja VS The State of Maharashtra and Anr, (2018), Criminal Application. 1217(India).

[5] Gagan Harsh Sharma and Anr VS The State Of Maharashtra And Anr,(2018), Civil Appellate.1382-1383(India)

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