Shocking figures by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) reveal that more than 14,000 websites have been hacked by cyber criminals till October this year. What's worrying is that the figures are up by almost 57 percent from 2009. Offering a little perspective on the matter, the report, which contains information tracked by CERT-In, reveals that 9,180 websites were hacked in 2009 – which grew to 14,232 in 2011. What's even worse is that the figures crossed the 14,300-mark in the first 10 months of the year. Reportedly, roughly 16,126 websites were hacked in 2010, while 14,392 websites were hacked in the year 2012 (till October), as per the information tracked and reported by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). 

Break the walls down...

Figures are part of a recent CERT-In report (Image credit – Getty Images)

In his statement in the Parliament, the nation's Communications and IT minister Kapil Sibal shared that the government carried out six cyber security mock drills since November 2009. The exercise was to 'assess preparedness of organisations to withstand cyber attacks.' Importantly, Sibal added that ministeries and departments have been advised to conduct their IT system audit regularly to maintain the security of their systems. It has been known that between January-October 2012 period, 294 websites of several government departments were hacked. 

In the period between May-June 2012, various hacker groups launched DDoS attacks against several government websites. On a related note, in a recent revelation that the government made, it said that last year, more than 1,600 people were arrested for cyber crimes registered under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and under sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC). In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Milind Deora, Minister of State for Communications noted, “As per the crime data maintained by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a total of 154, 178, 288, 799 and 1,184 persons were arrested for cyber crimes registered under IT Act, 2000 during 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively.”

The IT Act, 2000 allows detection/tracking on cyber crimes and punishment to culprits, thereby providing a legal framework to address issues pertaining to such crimes in the cyber space. Deora added that a total of 429, 195, 263, 394 and 446 persons were arrested for cyber crimes registered under sections of IPC relating to cyber crime cases during 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively. “As per the crime data maintained by NCRB, a total of 217, 288, 420, 966 and 1,791 cyber crime cases were registered under IT Act, 2000 during the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively, thereby showing a rising trend,” he added further.

It has been further known that the cases in question pertain to tampering computer source documents, hacking, obscene publication/transmission in electronic form and failure of compliance/order of certifying Authority, among other reasons. Importantly, in his response to another query, Deora shared that on the request of law enforcement agencies, the Computer Authority issued direction for blocking of 310 webpages/URLs carrying anti-social, anti-national and hateful content, under section 69A of the IT Act, 2000.

A recent report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) – Crime in India 2011 – shed light on how the nation has fared, as far as cyber crimes go. According to the report, the number of cases that were registered under the nation's IT act last year were 1,791 – a considerable rise of 85.4 percent from the 966 cases registered in 2010.

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