Engineers in uniform roped in to crack cybercrime cases

They will be deployed across State; cyber forensic tools to be procured from C-DAC

Cybercrime investigations are set to scale new heights in Tamil Nadu with the State police identifying as many as 185 young sub-inspectors, mostly graduates in Electronics and Communications Engineering, and hundreds of graduate police constables for deployment in cybercrime police stations in all cities/districts.

The sub-inspectors, currently serving in districts across the State, volunteered to join the core team that was trained in advanced investigation skills in cyber offences as part of an initiative carried out in association with IIT-M and SSN College. They would be posted to the 46 cybercrime police stations notified by the State government on Monday.

According to police sources, this is the first time in the country that cybercrime police stations were being notified with sufficient manpower and infrastructure in all cities/districts of a State.

The latest cyber forensic tools would be procured from the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). The institution would also provide training to the sub-inspectors and personnel in other ranks in the effective use of the gadgets.

Round the clock

The cybercrime police stations would be located in all Commissionerates and district oolice offices, with staff functioning round the clock. While Commissioners/Superintendents of Police would refer complaints to these police stations, a State-level CyberCrime Wing, headed by an officer in the rank of Additional Director-General of Police, would facilitate policy decisions and coordination with other agencies.

“We are now evolving to have a more specialised cybercrime infrastructure. We have identified hundreds of police constables, a majority of whom are science graduates, who would be trained by the Department of Criminology, University of Madras, in the latest trends in cybercrime environment. Training programmes would be organised at regular intervals since capacity-building is a continuous process,” a senior police official told The Hindu on Tuesday.

In the case of cybercrime, the victims were often lured with attractive offers, and ended up sharing their credentials with an unknown caller not knowing that they were walking into a trap, the official said. “The nature of the offence is such that awareness alone is the key to protecting oneself. People should be aware of the dos and don’ts and guard themselves against cyber fraudsters, hackers, stalkers, etc… There cannot be physical policing like in conventional security systems in the cyber world,” he said.

In spite of awareness campaigns, at least 50% of cybercrime complaints in the State pertained to voluntary disclosure, as in OTP fraud, where the suspects claim to be calling from a bank, offer loans, cash subsidies or other services and manage to gather the ATM card credentials of gullible people.

“After entering the card details, the suspects call the victims to get the OTP, saying it is required for transferring the loan amount, cash prize or COVID-19 grant from the Union government. Once the OTP is shared, the money in the account is siphoned off,” the official said, adding that the fight against cybercrime involved more human elements than technical aspects.

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