Cyber Law and Administration of Criminal Justice

Shivam Singh & Rishika


Cyber terrorism is a controversial term and India is turning into its latest victim. Every day, varied newspapers are stuffed with the stories of cybercrimes. It’s not a future threat or a prospective threat; it is an ongoing, current threat. Cyber terrorism is considered as the big evolving threat of human life during this era because it disposes of the data to form all styles of chaos and to harm the public peace that optimality is a crime. Other forms of crimes attached to this term are; hacking- the various political and security crisis arose from it. Social media has undoubtedly, revolutionized our lives in a manner we might haven’t thought of a decade ago. Cyber-crime is increasing day by day and new social media users are oblivious to the results. The users make use of the internet blindly, thinking that their web movements are not watched anywhere and then cyber terrorists get benefited from this. A country has its certain priority on the premise of its security and if a certain offense is made on the basis of cyber, then it is the main threat as it would create the personal and as well the national threat. Due to increasing acts of terrorism, the security of such software should be kept upon the utmost priority. Cyber terrorism can therefore, be understood as unauthorized web activity or attack on computer networks that will threaten the private internet space of an individual, organisation, entity or a nation. We address the growing concern of cyber terrorism across India, issues and challenges created due to various acts of cyber terrorism and the solutions we think can be made to consideration to deal with these.


Terrorism is the deliberate killing of innocent people, at random, to spread fear through a whole population and force the hand of its political leaders.[1] Cyber terrorism nowadays, is gaining much attention but still, most of the web users are not aware of the intricacies. Cyber terrorism is or what are its effects or what are its consequences. The Internet has acclimatized the 21st century in the most profound manner. Cyber terrorism is one of the most ignored and under estimated activities in India. It is not a future threat it is a current and ongoing threat and India unknowingly is becoming its latest victim. Today’s population is so much attracted and fascinated by social media that they are not even giving their concern to the issues, problems setup due to internet. They are so much in this virtual world that they are ignoring the real-world problems caused by internet. They found social media as a good way to converse or share information, but if they realize the severity of sharing sensitive information on social media, remains a big question. On the contrary, Cyber attackers and their technologies have gotten sharper and smarter where the hackers and attackers are one step ahead of us keeping the technological boon manipulating the data and convenience in and against the innocent individuals. Awareness regarding applicable use of social media is extremely essential, to curb any variety of cyber terrorism. For this, it’s additionally important that one is adept with relation to technology as well, to keep oneself safe from any sort of cyber-attacks.

Advancement in information technology is a two-faced coin which can be flipped to positive constructive work and can even be flipped to negative destructive work. The fate of a person is dependent on its own way of using technology. With the changes in concepts and methods, the terrorism has taken new facet which is more easily destructive and lethal in nature. With the development in technology the terrorist too had made a deadly combination of weapons and technology to which if timely no solution is made, will take its own turn. Cyber terrorism is different from other cyber-crimes, terrorists can attack on the computer systems that control air traffic, electric power grids, telecommunications networks, military command systems and financial transactions.  

Cyber terrorism

“A modern thief can steal more with a computer than with a gun. Tomorrow’s terrorist may be able to do more damage with a keyboard than with a bullet or a bomb.”[2] The increasing dependence on information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has unleashed an entire new genre of cyber terrorism. Cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure, online hate propaganda and use of the web for recruiting, planning and effecting terrorist attacks became new frontiers of terrorism.

 According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), “Cyber Terrorism is any premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which results in violence against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.”[3]Cyber terrorists use certain tools and strategies to unleash this new age terrorism. These are:

  • Hacking
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The foremost widespread technique utilized by a terrorist. It is a generic term used for any sort of unauthorized access to a computer or a network of computers. Some ingredient technologies like packet sniffing, tempest attack, password cracking and buffer outflow facilitate hacking.

  • Trojans

Programmes that pretend to do one thing whereas really, they are meant for doing something totally different.

  • Computer Viruses & Worms

It is software that infects other computers and programmes by modifying them. They spread in no time. The term ‘worm’ in relation to computers is a self-contained programme or a bunch of programmes that may spread purposeful copies of itself or its segments to different computer systems usually via network connections.

  • E-Mail connected Crime

Usually worms and viruses are attached to a host programme to be injected. E-mails are used as host by viruses and worms. These emails are used for spreading disinformation, threats and defamatory stuff.

  • Denial of Service

These attacks are aimed toward denying licensed persons access to a computer or network.

Reasons with Terrorists to select Cyber terrorism

Cyber terrorism is the step of terrorism adapting the advancement of technology and system that profuse in utilizing the flexibility by targeting the loopholes of the Internet and materializes its substance. The fundamental attractions of Cyber terrorism are high impact, use of less resource, price effective, fast, untraceable and effective in each attainable means that’s nonetheless to be discovered with the booming technology and advancement.

  • Diverse Targets

The Internet nowadays is connected to each part of the globe, and there’s comparatively an issue regarding who or what’s not related to it? The varied facet and the dynamics of the internet in growing prospect have definitely attracted all fields from life, creating it the most happening issue. From social networking to quick access online chatting internet is the most happening issue that definitely offers a stance to target vulnerable groups as simple targets. The practicability of the cyber space provides an advantage to the terrorist groups to extort and train innocent individuals in desired means. The web definitely has open doors for opportunity but on an equivalent, has invited inevitable risks that are tolling in for externalities. These factors are very progressive and efficient in many ways where the flexibility of the internet has been an advantage for them and a curse for the innocent individuals online.

  • Low Risk Of Detection

The Dynamics of internet is so immense and imprecise that the probabilities of its existence and application are yet to be discovered. The Internet provides a colossal ray of software and codes which will virtually cause you to vanish in cyber space and gives you the ability of low risk detection, except that these days, the easy access of open network sharing will permit you to access internet imaging a false IP and further gives the accessibility to try and do stuff which will simply be imaginary.

  • Low Risk Of Personnel Injury

Cyber space certainly provides the advantage of low risk of detection using the help of various software, where the risk of injuries to the resource is low or nothing. Thus, it leads to easy access and impact with just a touch of button which is very efficient and effective in terms of strategy. With simply the help of an attacker, devastation is often resulted in seconds using less resource. Thus, low use of resources refers to low detection and low detection offers substance to low risk, and should be this can be the rationale why cyber terrorist act is such of a threat. Likewise, it’s aforesaid that impact will solely produce a injury of definitely level however expertise will injury quite something.

  • Low Investment

Low Investment is a prominent issue that attracts cyber terrorism to cyber space. Previously, when millions of dollars were spent on weapons and training on battle field and the output or injury was restricted in battle field. Now, the impacts are terribly high and the use of resources is also very restricted but the result can be terribly massive and damaging. Reality is with an efficient human resource and low investment in a hard ware and software, the impact could be large, which is an effective strategy.

  • Operate From Nearly Any Location

The easy accessibility of web definitely provides a chance to control from any desired location just about making you invisible may be an easy trick. the chance of sitting in a very remote location and ensuing damaging some thousands of miles away is an advantage of the open network.

Challenges of Cyber terrorism

  • Data Intrusion

The need for information in playacting several functions in an organization can’t be over emphasized since it’s the most instrument regenerate into information once been processed by organisations and nations. Cyber terrorism will destroy information integrity in order that the information may not be trustworthy, destroying its confidentiality in addition as interrupt its accessibility. The increasing rate of this cyber terrorism in intrusive organizations and nations information has caused loads of challenges that have resulted into the loss of crucial information that’s typically laborious to be recovered.

  • Attacks on vital Infrastructures
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The heartbeat of any organizations is the vital infrastructure through that several of the organizations work is been administered and also contain very important data. It’s crystal clear that any attacks destroyed on the vital infrastructures of a nation may paralyze its economy. Accordingly an attack can be lunched on any of the following Infrastructure which incorporates telecommunication lines, the electronic, power, gas, reservoirs and water supplies, food supplies and as well as different critical entities that are essentials for the state operations, that the attack on the software system been employed by the telecommunications industry may results in the close of all the telecommunications lines and therefore the software system employed by the power and gas supplied might be attacked by the cyber terrorism.

  • Attack on Businesses

Many industries-oriented businesses have been closed down and paralyzed as a result of the attack lunched by the cyber terrorist that in a method or the opposite affects the economy growth of the nations within the world. Cyber terrorism could cause an organisation to lose a lot of money within the area of businesses, that the information system of a bank is often attacked or hacked by the terrorists which will definitely leads to an unauthorised access to such bank account and build them to lose vast millions or billions of bucks which can make such bank to run out of business and at last make them to closed down.

  • Loss of Life

Cyber terrorism has claimed several innocent lives and at an equivalent time renders several homes to a state of dilemma that typically resulting to psychological trauma to the affected families. Cyber terrorism can in a method or the opposite results in the loss of life as well as inflicting serious damages that this has manifested in attack on the computers usage, networks and attacks that has resulted to the assorted sorts of explosions of many plane crashes problems all over the globe that has claimed many lives. It therefore discouraging that cyber terrorism are claiming life at an exponential rate that if imperative efforts aren’t taken to combat will keep claiming innocent life that need to contribute their quota to the world economy growth. Terrorist would possibly even break into the air traffic control and try to do manipulation thereon which might result in plane crashes or perhaps causing a collision that may claim many lives. Pharmaceuticals computer system of a company can even be hacked by the terrorist that might cause changes within the real formula of some of the essential medications that might have been prepared by the pharmacist.

Information Technology Act, 2000

The provision that was specifically inserted in this legislature for purpose of cyber terrorism was section 66F which defines and describes cyber terrorism, section 66F mentions that:

(1) Whoever –

(A) with intent to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India or to strike terror in the people or any section of the people by –

(i) denying or cause the denial of access to any person authorized to access computer resource; or

(ii) attempting to penetrate or access a computer resource without authorisation or exceeding authorized access; or

(iii) introducing or causing to introduce any Computer Contaminant.

and by means of such conduct causes or is likely to cause death or injuries to   persons or damage to or destruction of property or disrupts or knowing that it is likely to cause damage or disruption of supplies or services essential to the life of the community or adversely affect the critical information infrastructure specified under section 70, or

(B) knowingly or intentionally penetrates or accesses a computer resource without authorisation or exceeding authorized access, and by means of such conduct obtains access to information, data or computer database that is restricted for reasons of  the security of the State or foreign relations; or any restricted information, data or computer database, with reasons to believe that such information, data or computer database so obtained may be used to cause or likely to cause injury to the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, group of individuals or otherwise, commits the offence of cyber terrorism. 

(2) Whoever commits or conspires to commit cyber terrorism shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to imprisonment for life’. [4]

Section 70 of the Information technology act, 2000 (amended in 2008) describes protected system and regulations related to it as follows:

(1) The appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare any computer resource which directly or indirectly affects the facility of Critical Information Infrastructure, to be a protected system.

Explanation: For the purposes of this section, “Critical Information Infrastructure” means the computer resource, the incapacitation or destruction of which, shall have debilitating impact on national security, economy, public health or safety. (Substituted vide ITAA-2008)

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(2) The appropriate Government may, by order in writing, authorize the persons who are authorized to access protected systems notified under sub-section (1)

(3) Any person who secures access or attempts to secure access to a protected system in contravention of the provisions of this section shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.

(4) The Central Government shall prescribe the information security practices and procedures for such protected system. (Inserted vide ITAA 2008)[5]

Changes in IT Act 2000 Amendment 2008

Section66F- Provides Life Sentence.

Section70- Critical Infrastructure System defined and section restricted to only such systems. Security practices to be notified.

Case Laws of Cyber Terrorism In India

Case 1: The website of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) at Bombay was hacked in 1998. The hacker’s gained access to the BARC’s computer system and pulled out virtual data.[6]

Case 2: In 2002, numerous prominent Indian web sites notably that of the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell of Mumbai were defaced. Messages relating to the Kashmir issue were left on the home pages of these web sites.[7]

Case 3: Former Indian President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has expressed concern over the free availability of sensitive spatial pictures of nations on the internet. He pointed out that the internet could be utilised effectively for gathering information about the groupings of terrorists. According to him, Earth observation by “Google Earth” was a security risk to the nation. and “Google Earth” provide free availability of such high resolutions’ pictures.[8]

Case 4: On 26 November 2008, the Mumbai bomb blasts militants examined the layout and landscape of town using images from “Google Earth”.

Protection against Cyber Terrorism

  1. To widen the thinking of the new generation and to increase cyber awareness in society, the government must encourage debates on the subject in IT colleges, newspapers and magazines.
  2. All personal information and crucial data ought to be protected and should not be displayed.
  3. Effective password combining characters, numeric and strings ought to be used to protect all accounts online.
  4. Whenever the network encounters errors, the network then ought to be reconfigured and sanctioning all protection software.
  5. Timely update of the safety system prevents from encountering new errors.
  6. The system administrator ought to keep a detailed eye within the system logs and its uses.


The reality is that the data that is simply available on websites can be wrongly used or manipulated in the desired way which may lead to mishaps in a situation of possibility. Air traffic management systems, nuclear energy stations, hospitals and stock markets are all viable targets for ‘cyber terrorists’ desperate to wreak havoc and destruction. On the less serious finish of the spectrum, cyber-attacks against websites and alternative non-essential infrastructure by political ‘hacktivists’ are increasing by the day. Governments clearly need laws in place to protect against acts of cyber terrorism, however they additionally ought to make sure that these laws don’t include less serious uses of computer and internet technology. Cyber terrorism will be restrained by appropriate technology if it is supported by apt legislation. Standard public support and a watchful judiciary to back this up are needed.

The government ought to be fast in responding to the challenges raised by the perpetually dynamic technologies. The government should produce a stimulant package which can work as a chemical action agent to visualize the internet for the security of the voters and to confirm the smooth operating of state. Giving birth to new technologies is the work of the inventors. Making use of these technologies for a lot of advanced and forceful crimes is the craftwork of the criminals. Controlling such crimes is the results of the interaction of the functions of legislature, executive and judiciary. The old expression of ‘an eye for an eye’ would be equally applicable to cyber terrorism. It should be ‘technology for technology’. High technology crime should be prevented using high technology. If one is committing a criminal offense by using technology, one will be blocked from doing so by employing technology.

[1] Robert Mackey, Can soldiers be victims of terrorism?The New York Times, 11 January 2010.

[2]  National Research Council, Computers at Risk: Safe Computing in the Information Age. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press,1991.

[3] Sue Marquette Poremba, Cyber terrorist threat loom 10 years after 9/11, US Federal bureau of Investigation, 2011.

[4] Information Technology Act 2000. amend. 2008, §66F

[5] Information Technology Act 2000. amend. 2008, §70

[6] Dr. V.D. Dudeja, Information Technology and Cyber Laws-A Mission with vision 202 (Common Wealth Publishers, 2001).

[7] Amar Ujala, Regional Daily Newspaper, Oct 31,2005.

[8] Business Line, National Daily Newspaper, Oct 15, 2007.