Cyber crime ‘soars’ as FB, Twitter get more popular

ANKIT ADHIKARI (writer) - The number of registered cyber crimes in Kathmandu, especially through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, has undergone a dramatic 300
percent growth over the last two fiscal years.
Data from the Metropolitan Police Crime Investigation Division (MPCID) showed the number of registered Facebook offenses rose by three times from the fiscal year 2010/11 to 2011/12. When tallied with the number of cyber crime cases in 2009/10, the data showed an astounding growth of nearly 12 times.
The steady increase in the popularity of social networking sites, particularly Facebook, has led to the rise in the number of misdemeanours that range from password hacking to creating fake user accounts for defamation, said police.
However, according to SSP Devendra Subedi, MPCID in-charge, the number of registered cases is still very low, compared to the assumed rate of cyber offenses that occur in the city. “Owing to a lack of awareness, the number of individuals taking their cyber plight to the police is very low, regardless of the growth that has been noticed lately,” said Subedi, addressing a programme on Tuesday. While just three cases of cyber crime were registered at the MPCID in 2009/10, the number rose to 12 the next year, followed by 36 in 2011/12.
The nature of crime complaints, police said, are usually about the tagging of nude photographs on Facebook, erroneous postage of personal telephone numbers, personal defamation through hacked accounts and the misuse of photographs posted on Facebook. Of all the cyber crime cases registered, almost 70 percent are directly related to Facebook, showed MPCID data.
Meanwhile, police are having a difficult time dealing with these cases, as there are no proper guidelines or effective national policy in place to prosecute those involved in cyber crime through social networking. “Tracking down the IP addresses, we make our way to the computer used for the crime,” said SSP Subedi. “When the computer turns out to be at a public cyber cafe, all efforts become useless.”
In most cases, after receiving complaints, police delete the respective fake Facebook account in coordination with the Nepal Telecommunications Authority and Internet Service Providers. In some cases, police have also emailed Facebook headquarters in the United States for specific action.
“Given the growing popularity of networking sites, the problem islikely to be aggravated. Besides enhancing our probe mechanism, we need to focus on increasing public awareness of the matter,” said Subedi.
Among other kinds of registered cyber crime cases are email threats, illegal data access, hacks, websitedisputes and web SMS threats.


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