In the face of tall claims made by law-enforcement agencies, Maharashtra has earned the dubious distinction of leading other states in online fraud and forgery cases.When the issue of online frauds was recently raised in the Lok Sabha, Haribhai Chaudhary , minister of state for home, disclosed that out of the total of 1,115 cases, 671 were registered in Maharashtra, followed by 90 in Rajasthan, 66 in Gujarat, 61 in Uttar Pradesh and 30 in Andhra Pradesh. The highest number of online forgery cases were registered in Maharashtra. Of the total 1,035 cases registered in the past three years, 328 were recorded in Maharashtra, followed by 105 in Haryana, 53 in Bihar, and 32 in Rajasthan.

“The government is aware of media reports regarding some online fraud being done by Nigerians. However, specific information on their involvement is not maintained centrally ,“ he said and added that the Centre had initiated stringent measures to halt the sudden spurt in online cheating cases.

“The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, CERT-In, is working in coordination with the Reserve Bank of India as well as banks to track and disable phishing websites.Banks have implemented a twolevel authentication to mitigate risks of theft of online credentials. Besides, SMS alerts are sent to users intimating details of transactions involving amounts above the specified threshold,“ he said.

CERT-in has published a white paper on countering phishing attacks and it regularly conducts a training programme for system administrators and general users in the government, public and private sector on countering cyber frauds and phishing attacks. In addition, the Information Technology Act, 2000, provides a legal framework to address various types of prevalent cyber crimes and security breaches of information technology infrastructure.

“We have set up cells in all states for reporting and investigating cyber crimes. A number of cyber forensics tools for collection, analysis and presentation of digital evidence have been developed and are being used by law enforcement agencies,“ Chaudhary said.

He further said the Centre has formulated a set of investigation manuals with procedures for search, seizure analysis and presentation of digital evidence in courts, while the department of electronics and information technology is conducting programmes to generate information security awareness.