Cyber Crime: Govt Orders To Take Down Over 3,000 Social Media Links And Sites, Block 595 Apps

Cyber Crime: Govt Orders To Take Down Over 3,000 Social Media Links And Sites, Block 595 Apps

On the recommendation of I4C and state law enforcement agencies, 3,401 URLs and 595 apps have been blocked under Section 69A of the IT Act of the IPC. About 90% of phishing and fraud sites were circulated on Meta apps.

Manasi KambleUpdated: Thursday, May 23, 2024, 01:38 PM IST
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A total of 3,401 social media links, websites, and WhatsApp groups were taken down for being used to commit cyber crimes since March 14, 2024.

Union Home Ministry notified the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) as the agency that can send takedown orders to intermediaries on illegal content related to cybercrimes under Section 79(3)(b) of the Information Technology Act.

Meta, the company that owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, complied with more than 90% of these takedown orders, but it did not disclose the compliance rates for other major online intermediaries, CEO Rajesh Kumar said on Wednesday.

What Is 14C?

The second organization under Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to receive this designation is Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) which was established by MHA, in New Delhi to provide a framework and eco-system for Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) for dealing with cyber crime in a coordinated and comprehensive manner.

A notice was sent in 2018 to the National Crime Records Bureau. According to a report on February 4, legal experts claim that Section 79(3)(b) has created ambiguity regarding who can order intermediaries to remove content, why they can do so, and whether or not the removal can be contested.

An important question was whether ministries at the center and state levels needed to explicitly inform agencies published in the official gazette in order to give them the authority to issue takedown notices to intermediaries, such as social media firms.

Section 69A of the IT Act

Section 69A allows the IT ministry to block content for national security and allied reasons at the recommendation of different ministries and states, while Section 79(3)(b) allows notified agencies to get any unlawful content taken down, thereby lowering the threshold for getting content blocked.

Since I4C was founded in October 2018, more than 3,000 URLs and 595 apps have been blocked under Section 69A of the IT Act on the advice of I4C and state law enforcement agencies for being connected to cybercrimes. Phishing links, websites for unlicensed betting games, websites and apps that dupe people, and other types of websites are examples of blocked websites.

Analysis Of Cybercriminal's Fraud System

According to CEO Rajesh Kumar, cybercriminals use three systems—Financial Services (mule accounts, etc.), The Internet (fake websites, apps, and online advertisements), and Telecom Infrastructure (SIM cards and mobile phones)—to commit scams and crimes.

In addition, almost 3,25,000 mule accounts were frozen for involvement in cybercrimes by the I4C and state law enforcement agencies in the last four months. Since July 2023, about 5,30,000 SIM cards and 80,848 IMEI numbers have also been canceled or suspended.

Popular Cybercrime Hotspots

About 46% of defrauded money is now lost to cybercrimes like investment scams, digital arrest scams, trading scams, and dating scams originating in southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, and the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Jamtara and Mewat have been overshadowed as hotspots of financial cyber fraud in India.

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