DailyPost 2786

Jamtara gained notoriety across the country and became synonymous with cybercrime, at least the proletarian variant of it. Semi-literates or otherwise from a small town; midway to nowhere, in the backwaters of India, could force India to cough up, with their cybercrime capabilities. This was a simple mix of social engineering and understanding the nuances of the day-to-day financial transactions in the digital age. It yielded bountiful returns and also the criminal hallow, of the first major Indian movers in the field. They were positioned at the other extreme of the most complex cyber breach / crime, the ransomware, where states are also involved in a variety of ways for multifarious interests.

In between these two ends of the spectrum, there are endless varieties of cybercrimes, certainly beating the variety of physical crimes and its vast array of modus operandi hollow. As far as the tool of choice for such crimes are concerned mobiles are the outright winner. No gadget comes anywhere near it. For the law enforcement / investigative agencies, handling the mobile ecosystem, which is complex in tech / operations and global in range, threw up its own challenges. From the manufacturer to the telecom service producers to the app, which today finally brings everything to life, was not easy to investigate.

Though not much thought was given to it, mobile handset remains at the core of it all. If a mechanism to control or regulate the handset was made robust in operation, at least the first part of the jigsaw puzzle, we could get a handle of. The second was the base communication component, the telecom provider, the mobile number and the whole mechanism behind it. This was being worked upon for a long time and now we find the first major results appearing and being made known in the public domain. Given the backdrop and sincere efforts put in this regard, as a major step towards securing the digital landscape for us all, we see a collaborative effort, aimed at “dismantling the networks of fraudsters and disrupt their operations.”

The result is all of us to see. At the end of a meticulous technical and functional analysis the Ministry of Home Affairs, MHA, and State Police forces have unearthed a most disconcerting trend. “A staggering 28,200 mobile handsets were identified as being used in cybercrime activities.” This proverbially was the tip of the iceberg. The investigation continued further. The cyber malaise started opening up layer after layer. DoT analysed this information a step further, processing through the maze of call records and connections to these suspect devices. Then comes the clincher. The analysis revealed a much larger web, “uncovering a massive network of 20 lakh mobile numbers associated with the criminal activity.” Now all those connections need to go through the scanner in the interest of the nation and a periodic audit of this nature needs to be carried on, on a regular basis and results be made known to the nation.

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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