Cyber crime is on the rise. The year 2016 recorded the highest of cases in the last four years. In 2013, 148 cases were registered, 195 in 2014, 266 in 2015 and in 2016 it was 400.
Last November, a retired Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), received a call from an unknown person who claimed to be a marketing executive from his bank. The caller asked for some of his debit card details and said it was a routine call to enhance his benefits.
Assuming it to be a genuine call, the former officer disclosed the details, including the OTP (one-time password). In the next 10 minutes, a sum of Rs.60,000 was debited from his account.
Since 2011, Visakhapatnam has been ranked the number two city in the country after Bengaluru in cyber crime cases, said Cyber Crime Cell Inspector K. Satyanaryana Rao citing the National Crime Records Bureau figures.
Of the about 1,080 cases registered since 2013, charge sheets were filed in only about 120 cases and the remaining were under investigation. The detection rate has dropped to below 15 %.
Among the different forms of cyber crimes, phishing and vishing head the list with over 50 per cent, followed by online lottery and job frauds.
Difficult to investigate
According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crimes) T. Ravi Kumar Murthy, the difficult aspect is investigation as most of the criminals operate from remote places and it is difficult to locate them.
Lack of infrastructure
There is a huge delay in acquiring the call data records from mobile operators, and most of the addresses furnished by the accused are fake and they operate through pre-activated SIM cards, he added.
Though cyber crime is on the rise, there is hardly any infrastructure to tackle the menace. Since the bifurcation of the State, the government has not established a full-fledged cyber crime police station with a cyber crime lab.
There is a huge shortage of trained manpower, and even people deputed to the cyber crime cells are not trained to handle the cases.
Andhra Pradesh Director-General of Police N. Sambasiva Rao had said that there was a need for trained manpower with a well-equipped cyber forensic lab, and it was proposed to be set up in Visakhapatnam, but it was not a reality yet. Some months ago, the government issued an order to establish a cyber crime police station in Visakhapatnam, but nothing had been done in this regard. Telangana is way ahead of Andhra Pradesh in tackling cyber crimes. The State not only has a full-fledged cyber crime station with trained manpower, but also has a state-of-the-art cyber forensic lab, which was recently upgraded with a funding of about Rs.30 crore.