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Rise in cybercrime worries women

  • Published at 07:44 pm March 31st, 2019
Representational Photo Bigstock

Police say the main challenge in arresting culprits is the delay in  incidents being reported

When it comes to cybercrime, Bangladesh is not far behind other countries, where the rate of cybercrime is increasing day by day.

While the internet is beneficial to people in this era of technological advancement, one of the major disadvantages is the crime committed on the internet.

Twenty-five year-old Raima (not her real name) was horrified when she discovered her nude photographs being shared on her Facebook Messenger.

One of her Facebook friends began blackmailing her, and sent the photos to revive a romance. Faced with rejection, he posted intimate videos online.

“Shocked, my daughter rushed home and burst into tears telling me everything,” Raima’s mother said. Raima is just one of the many victims of “revenge porn.”

Revenge porn is defined as vindictive partners posting nude or private photos on websites without consent, to humiliate.

In another incident, a woman was subjected to harassment after losing her smartphone, which was logged in to her email. Mithila came to know that a man had found the phone when he called her.

She requested him to sign out from her email and also gave the man her phone’s password, hoping he would sign out from her email. Without paying any heed to her request, the man downloaded her personal photos from her email account and threatened to make them viral on social media if she did not agree to have an affair with him.

Women are more frequently victimized, compared to men, by sharing pictures or videos in the virtual world and harming their reputations. Youngsters are often lured by hoax messages and fake identities on social media, and they fall prey to offenders in cyberspace as well as in the real world. 

Cybercrimes commonly prevalent on social media are cyber defamation, cyber obscenity pornography, cyber stalking, hacking, and privacy infringement.

70% of cybercrime victims are women

 According to the Cyber Security and Crime Division of DMP, 70% of cybercrime victims are women, of which 57% are between 18 and 25 years of age. Some 13% of the victims are below 18. The unit gave the findings after analyzing 666 cases and complaints over cyber-related offences filed with different police stations in Dhaka since 2016.

Deputy Commissioner of the division, Alimuzzaman, said many mobile phone and computer users were becoming victims of cybercrime  mainly due to lack of awareness of the offenses.

The number of such victims has been increasing day by day he said, adding that the main challenge in dealing with such cases and arresting the culprits was the delay in  incident reports to the police.

He said many victims did not want to go to law enforcement, fearing their identities would be revealed.

Referring to their analysis, the DC said in most cases, the accused spreads defamatory and fake information online using fake IDs and photos of the victims. The offenders also blackmail women after hacking their social media profiles, he said.

Alimuzzaman said 1% of the 666 cases were related to terrorism, 7% to blackmail or extortion, 14% to pornography, 14% to financial frauds, 20% to hacking, 18% to defamation, 20% to fake IDs and 6% to other issues.

According to the database of the Cyber Security and Crime Division, the specialized unit arrested 67 suspects and submitted charge sheets against 24 in 2018. Of the 666 complaints, the unit completed the investigation of 233 cases last year.

Although the division has 100 sanctioned posts, presently it has around 70 officials and other employees. To meet the growing challenges, authorities have already proposed an organogram of 282 members.

It is not possible to completely eliminate cybercrime from cyberspace. No legislation has succeeded in totally eliminating crime from the globe. The only possible steps are to make people aware of their rights and duties, and making the application of laws more stringent to check cybercrime.

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