With India being home to the fourth highest number of internet users in the world, cyber crimes under the the Information Technology (IT) Act recorded a whopping 50 percent jump in 2007 over the previous year. What's more, the majority of offenders were under 30 years of age.
Cyber crimes have emerged as a new class of crimes, rapidly increasing due to extensive use of the internet and IT enabled services. The maximum cyber crime cases, about 46 percent, were related to incidents of cyber pornography, followed by hacking. In over 60 percent of these cases, offenders were between 18 and 30, according to the "Crime in 2007" report of the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB).
Cyber crimes are punishable under two categories - the IT Act 2000 and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The report says that 217 cases of cyber crime were registered under the IT Act in 2007 compared to 142 in 2006 - an increase of 50 percent. Under the IPC too, 339 cases were recorded in 2007 compared to 311 cases in 2006.
"Seventeen out of 35 mega cities have reported nearly 300 cases of cyber crimes under both categories, thereby recording an increase of 32.6 percent in a year," the report says. The report indicates that cyber crimes are no longer limited to metro cities. "Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh has reported the highest incidence of cyber crimes under IPC sections, thus accounting for 87.8 percent of the total crimes in the country," the report says.