The following paper provides a descriptive insight into cyber criminology ,specifically, ‘Email Spoofing’ which is a relatively newer and lucrative branch of internet fiddling for hackers. In the year 1642, when Blaise Pascal presented to the mankind ,first digital computer he must not have foreseen that centuries later, the successors of his invention would transform modern day lifestyle and would obligate the next generations to rewrite the law lexicons. It opened a world of wonders unlike ever, when Internet was developed in 1969. The ultimate vocation was to reframe legal system to meet the cyber exigencies and to beat the race against rapid evolution. It was formidable to draw parallels between high rise technological advancement and disoriented users. Awareness drives and cyber education helped manifolds to curtail technical glitches. For gradual course common man’s behaviour was set to change and on similar lines his criminal behaviour.
Therefore, law had to come to rescue. And that is how cyber laws came into existence. In an Indian case of Ramachandran Karthikeyan, aged 25 years, was arrested by an area crime squad at an undisclosed location in Harrison Township in Michigan State , where he was supposed to meet a 15 year old girl whom he had enticed through internet, for having sex. Karthikeyan was set up during an Internet chat room that was being monitored by the Macomb Area Computer Enforcement team. MACE is a task force of law enforcers, who deal with computer-based crimes.
According to Macomb county sheriff, Mark Hackle, the suspect came prepared to have a sexual encounter with the girl, who in reality, was a police officer posing as such. He was turned over to FBI and agents from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to face federal charges and a possible deportation. in another case where, John and Mark were chat room buddies, like millions of other children and adolescents using Internet for chatting. But John,14-year old, had a different idea. With his extraordinary creativity, he created as many as 8 false identities and drew several relationships among them. Using these profiles to chat with his friend Mark, who was 16-year old, confused the latter thoroughly. The virtual brainwashing of Mark culminated in a web of female spies and spying masters instructing him to kill John, for some promised rewards and huge sum of money.
In moment of induced insanity, Mark actually went and stabbed John. John narrowly escaped death and was later charged and convicted for using Internet to entice someone to murder him. The former case is only a glimpse of what the bigger picture of cybercrime is. Cybercrime is widespread and extends from stealing computer hardware to later on creating or imitating a fake identity.
The hands of this type of criminology are not restricted to means of distance or time, thereby making it most efficient. The entire galaxy of internet users, called the cyberspace, has left hardly any differentiation between the closest neighbour or people who are poles apart. A very important point to be considered here is that the physical location of the source remains unknown. Though there is disclosure of the machine’s Internet address but nothing can be concluded about the tangible locality of the operator. Prone to cyber abuses is evidently that citizenry which gravitates to dissipate more time on the social pulpit. The population of narcissists, braggarts, sociopaths, exhibitionist and gregarious clan dominates the ideal victim group. But this doesn’t mean that the non-users of computers or internet technology remain immune to the increasing cybercrimes. Example the database of railways getting hacked poses a threat of breach of privacy by exposing the details to the cracker, even though the traveller maybe an illiterate man having no online social connectivity.
Electronic mail is a system or means for transmitting messages electronically (as between computers or a network). Most of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) also provide pathways to exchange emails with other computer systems. And the time for an email to travel is fraction of minutes.
In the PC world, an important email standard is MAPI (Messaging Application Programming Interface). The CCITT (earlier known as ITU-T organization) standards organization has developed the X.400 standard, that attempts to provide a universal way of addressing messages.
The communication protocols are headed by an Internet Protocol (IP) which is responsible for all kinds of networking between computer systems. Every PC has a binary code assigned to it which is known as its IP address. IP spoofing is a method used by hackers to send irrelevant and malicious content enclosed in an email to a target machine without getting identified. The victim is unaware that the packet is not from a trusted host, and hence accepts the packet and sends a response to the source computer. Therefore, the hacker tries to trick the victim into believing that the IP address is a legitimate one. The aim of the entire operation is to establish a connection that will allow the hacker to gain access to the personal details of the victim through any social platform or basics of his IP address. By manipulating the header of the IP address it can be shown to have originated from a different source.
One of the other major crimes happening in the cyberspace is ‘Phishing’. According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, ‘phishing’ is a form of online identity theft that employs both social engineering and technical subterfuge to steal the personal identity data of customers and their financial account information. The term ‘phishing’ originated around 1996, and it was initially used to describe the use of emails as bait to ‘phish’ for passwords and financial data from ‘a sea of Internet’. The hackers often construct look alike legitimate websites or other webpages which demand the victim to login with personal details like bank account numbers and passwords. This information can later be used by the hacker to make changes in victim’s bank account by withdrawal or transfer of money or even requesting for change of passwords.
In this era of progressive globalization when there is heavy dependence on e-commerce. Phishing not only causes financial losses to the victim but also hampers the trust of users of e-commerce. Identity theft is also a form of phishing. The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 in the United States, describes identity theft as the process when a person knowingly transfers or uses without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit or to avoid or abet any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law or a felony in term. Vital information like credit card numbers, social security numbers, digital signatures , family relations etc. are revealed out the fraudsters by their scams and they can place orders in the name of victim using identity theft.
The fight against cyber crimes has been continuing since its very birth. As an early response to spam, Internet administrators developed authentica tion protocols: where previously one only had to type a password to collect one’s incoming mail, now most had to authenticate themselves by providing a password to send outgoing mail. To prevent domain spoofing – using the domain of a well-known company to make an email seem more legitimate – domain authentication routines check that the IP address listed in the Domain Name System matches the sending IP. However, many Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) servers remained unauthenticated for a long time, and the default mail delivery protocol is still to deliver email from any sending IP address.
After authentication, the arsenal of filtering technologies consists of machine learning, crowdsourcing, and IP blacklisting. Such screening devices detect suspected spam messages and either reject them from being delivered, or send them to a junk mail folder. Initially the anti-spamming agencies came up with techniques of applying filters wherein the general terms of spamming could be highlighted and spam mails could be differentiated from legitimate mails. (example- Quick Money, Lottery, Free Prizes etc.) But this methodology did not prove much promising as many legitimate mails were suspected and also the hackers were intelligent enough to not add verbattum phrases landing themselves into trouble.
The spam mails contained a lot of irrelevant content and graphic images that made them look like anti spammed emails. A provision, namely ‘cloudsourcing’ was introduced which provided the users of a particular webmail providers to distinct the mails as ‘spam’ or ‘not spam’. This would notify the webmail providers the sources of spam emails. But even this was counter attacked by the spammers as unknown user IDs were made, which voted the mails to be ‘not spam’. Also the legitimate users of the webmail only seldom initiated the efforts of voting any mail to be ‘not spam’ and rather deleted the irrelevant mails right away. It was discovered that these unknown user IDs were made by the spammers. One of the steps in anti-spamming which had a prominent effect on spam mails was ‘blacklisting’.
Once the IP address of any source was blacklisted it could not send any further mails. Therefore, if a webmail provider found out numerous mails being sent from one server it could blacklist it, hence quickly stopping spamming. The only con in blacklisting technique was that a single user sending spam mails from a public server can get the whole system blacklisted and not even a legitimate email can be sent from that server. This involved huge costs furthermore, making small webmail providers struggle for survival in market. In response to the ‘blacklisting’ technique, which blocked the IP address of a server permanently, the spammers came up with ‘botnets’. it is a logical connection of electronic devices whose security has been breached or vested with some third party.
Where the IP addresses of thousands of emails are dramatically changed and multiple spams can occur. For this purpose a fictitious software would sign in for numerous IDs on the webmail and use different ID for each spam. This form of spamming was combated after the invention of CAPTCHAs. CAPTCHA i.e for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart” was asked by every new user who wished to sign in. It consisted of twisted and distorted characters from English alphabet and numerical expressions. Owing to their effectiveness as a security measure, CAPTCHAs are used to protect many types of Websites, including free email providers, ticket sellers, social networks, wikis and blogs.
When the Optical Computer Recognition(OCR) applied by the spammers failed to crack the difficult CAPTCHAs, they decided to employ human labour. r them. In this idea’s first incarnation, a spammer would set up a pornography site, offering to display a free photo to any user who could successfully type in the text characters in a CAPTCHA image. In the background, their software had applied for a mail account at a site like Hotmail, received a CAPTCHA image, and relayed it to the porn site; they would obtain text from a user interested in free porn and relay this back to the Hotmail.
Another advancement in the ideology of the spammers is seen in the form of hijacking of accounts of legitimate users commonly known as ‘Hacking’. This poses a great risk of breach of privacy in the virtual world scenario.Article 8(2) of the European Convention Of Human Rights (ECHR) talks about the ‘Right to Privacy’ which can be protected by performing a balancing act between the interest of state to maintain its national security with the seriousness of the interference with applicant’s right respect for his private life. It should be noted that as an individual one seeks privacy but as a society the concern shifts to protection and natural security.
The ‘privacy we desire’ versus the ‘security we need’. It should be understood that we need security at all levels starting from personal, local, regional, national to international levels. Only when the thread of individual privacy is protected can the yarn of national security be safely guarded. Amidst this high rise technological development and specialisation in technical malpractices, on one hand vital information regarding an individual is at stake; and on the other hand matters of national security like- defence mechanism, Counter Terrorism, security expansion, military enforcement etc. are on the risk of disclosure to third parties.
In the summer of 2011, evidence emerged of a long-suspected government-sanctioned cyber-attack program in China. In late August, a state television documentary aired on the government-run China Central Television appeared to capture an in-progress distributed denial of service attack by China’s military on a Falun Gong website based in Alabama. This revelation followed on the heels of a report by the McAfee cyber-security company suggesting that a “state actor”—widely believed to be China—had engaged in a years-long cyber-attack program aimed at a range of governments, U.S. corporations, and United Nations groups.
Such crimes that happen through digital media are known as ‘cyber-warfares’. Due to the intrinsic nature of cyber warfare, the frequency of such cross border attacks is expected to grow positively. Keeping in mind, the provisions for possible cyber attacks in the near future, various countries came up with defence mechanisms. Because of the Soviet Union’s perceived advantage in technology after the launch of Sputnik, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was founded by the Department of Defence in order to ensure the United States would maintain a competitive military edge with its communist rival in the fields of technology and science. In 2005 China began incorporating offensive cyber warfare exercises in their cyber-operations training. Russia has also stated that it utilizes cyber operations to act as a force multiplier of its more traditional, kinetic components of its armed forces. Additionally, North Korea created Unit 121 specifically for cyber warfare operations and also tested its first logic bomb in 2007, which caused the United Nations Security Council to ban imports of mainframe computer and laptop sales to the country.
The Council of Europe has taken the most direct and concrete approach to regulating a subset of the cyber-security problem—in particular, cyber crime—of any international organization to date. As the first international treaty on crimes committed using the Internet and other computer networks, the 2001 Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (“Cybercrime Convention”) promulgated “a common criminal policy aimed at the protection of society against cybercrime,” primarily through legislation and international cooperation. The United States ratified the Convention in 2006. There are instances of countries that have been a victim of cyber attacks and suffered huge losses due to unavailable protective shield mechanism. Like Estonia in 2007, Georgia in 2008, Syria in 2007 are among many others.
Other than Cyber warfare there are crimes known as ‘Cyber Espionage’ that seek to steal data or other state documents from other countries without being detected. Operations like ‘Titan Rain’ by China, ‘Moonlight Maze’ by Russia, in the Middle East at a U.S Military base etc. It can be concluded that Cyber espionage can be the next big geo-political and controversial issue whose seed has been sown long ago. And this cross border attacking will lead nowhere but ending in destruction of resources. Thus there arises a need for properly laid down legislations and conventions that prevent powerful nations from taking over smaller and comparatively weaker countries with the force of technological power.
International agreements and conventions encourage harmonisation of cyber laws and regulations, and seek to build cooperation among nations in responding to cybercrime. For example, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published Computer-related Crime: Analysis of Legal Policy, which emphasised the importance of establishing common criminal law and criminal procedural law to protect international data networks (OECD 1986). From 2001 onwards, the United Nations (UN) has adopted resolutions encouraging its member states to take proper actions against cybercrime. It called on its members to note the Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention) drafted by the Council of Europe. The Budapest Convention is the first and only international convention to encourage harmonisation of cyber laws and regulations, and to build cooperation among nations in controlling cybercrime. It is open to Council of Europe member states and non-member states.
It is currently the most accepted convention on cybercrime, with 51 states ratified/ acceded as of December 2016 (Council of Europe 2001). Key members include European nations and the United States. Other than such treaties there are other organisations working on commercial and non commercial basis promoting peace among nation states.
Some of which are ICANN(Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) , is a nonprofit organisation that regulates the distribution of domain names. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is a non-commercial collective of volunteer organisations. The work of the W3C has political and regulatory consequences since internet standards are not purely technical, having underlying commercial interests, political preferences and moral evaluations. Others include- Spamhaus, the Anti Phishing Working Group and ECPAT-USA. In India, the National Informatics Centre (NIC) was set up as early as 1975 with the goal of providing IT solutions to the government. Between 1986 and 1988, three NWs were set up: INDONET, connecting the IBM mainframe installations that made up India’s computer infrastructure; NICNET (the NIC Network), being a nationwide very small aperture terminal (VSAT) NW for public sector organisations as well as to connect the central government with the state governments and district administrations; and the Education and Research Network (ERNET), to serve the academic and research communities. The Information Technology (IT) Act 2000, provides extraterritorial jurisdiction over Indian Courts. Other organisations working against cyber crimes are- National Association Of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), Data Security Council of India (DSCI) and the National Skills Registry.
The brief account of specific factors that pose challenges before the society and law enforcement agencies can be highlighted. Firstly, as the lack of realization of the happening of cyber crime. Almost all the times it happens so that any worms, viruses or trojan horses that might infect the PC go undetected unless they are notified on screen.
The user might never find out about any misuse or infection of his data. Secondly, many of the crimes go unreported. Big corporate houses and other industries do not wish to disclose any discrepancy in there software being hacked as they fear to loose the trust of customers. Thirdly, the geographical location can be concealed by the hackers and only the IP address of the machine can be tracked. Most importantly, there is the issue of jurisdiction in matters of dispute. This is because the physical location of the hacker might be traced to somewhere outside the jurisdictional powers of criminal justice system to which he belongs to. In the cyberspace where transmission occurs at the speed of light; the complete procedural formalities of getting permission to execute extraterritorial operations is going to be very difficult and laid back.
Fourthly, procedures in dealing with computer crimes or cyber crime. Traditional laws of stealing or theft cannot be applied in matters of Cyber espionage or warfare. Therefore, the laws currently prevailing in crimes of this regard are inadequate. Also the procedure to deal with defaulters is different and vast with respect to different countries. There arises inconsistency in dealing with cyber crime due to diverse substantive and procedural laws. Lastly, due to advancement of technology there is a rapid advancement in cyber crimes therefore the mechanism and skill to combat such crimes hardly wins.
These issues require thought for further development in regulation of cyberspace.CONCLUSIONThere are various precautionary measures that can be taken to be defended against spoofing. It should be noted that international regulatory bodies are very crucial in maintaining technological peace and harmony within the nations. The governments should be active in initiating any such treaties and conventions.
Private sector industries should also come forward to provide their human and capital resources for preservation and restoration of national security. On the basis of my research a major issue that was found out was an outdated legal system in most of the countries to tackle cyber crimes. Only 26 countries have so far developed legislations for cyber criminology. Only handful of countries have really comprehensive and mature laws to deal with problem of cyber warfare.