Asian School of Cyber Laws is an organisation that strives to make education easily accessible and efficiently delivered. Our journey began in 1999, even before the Information Technology Act (2000) came into effect. Bringing together the fields of Information Technology and Law, our courses are carefully crafted to serve members of the legal fraternity as well as individuals from other fields such as business, banking, law enforcement, CA, CS, engineering, marketing and more. Over the last 20 years, we’ve shared our knowledge with over 75,000 students.
In a world where almost all our interactions are digital, and online safety is non-negotiable, people still tend to share ATM pins with others, write down passwords, and leave themselves logged in on computers that are not theirs. Some even continue to use QWERTY as a password!
ASCL has been ceaselessly working towards remedying this and strives to make cyber education as simple to comprehend as 2+2=4.
All our courses are for a duration of 6-months with digital course material and online examinations. Here’s a brief overview:
Diploma in Cyber Law (DCL) An introduction to the field of cyber law, DCL covers the basics that everyone must know about the laws that govern cyber space. The course will help you navigate real situations like leaked photos, credit card fraud, hacked emails or social media accounts, and other such real cyber issues. The syllabus covers the fundamentals of cyber law with actual case examples.
Cyber Crime Prosecution and Defence (CCPD) CCPD will help you navigate the judicial and investigative framework under the Information Technology Act, 2000. This tailor-made course for lawyers and law enforcement officers, covers relevant entities, terms and concepts with cyber-crime case laws and global cyber-crime law all from the perspective of presenting cases in prosecution or defence. An expert level course that requires participants to have at least completed their graduation, it’s also available to law students who have completed 3 years of the integrated 5-year LLb program.
Digital Evidence Specialist (DES) Digital evidence is becoming increasingly relevant in conventional and unconventional crimes such as murder, adultery, data theft, matrimony scams, cyber stalking, online banking fraud and many more. This is only natural given we use the internet for everything from communication to buying groceries! This course covers the various types of digital evidence and standard operating procedures using case files. It emphasises on the collection and the subsequent production of such evidence in a court of law. Participants need to complete their under-grad to apply for DES. It’s also available to law students who have completed 3 years of the integrated 5 year LLb program.
Internet Investigation Specialist (IIS) With the rapid growth in cyber-crimes, internet investigators are a growing breed. This course starts from the basics of the internet and the World Wide Web, followed by tools, tips and tricks to conduct digital investigation. From emails to screenshots, browser history to social media activity, including cloud safety and bitcoins – IIS will help you achieve Sherlock’s level of attention to detail and crime solving ability!
There you have it. To start your journey in the cyber world with ASCL, click here! The best part is – we’re constantly looking at feedback to develop fresh courses that could fill gaps in the current system. Soon, we will be offering state of the art courses in Intellectual Property Law too. Stay tuned for more updates!
Application security relates to the cyber security aspects of applications and the underlying systems.
Application attacks include:
Input Validation attacks such as buffer overflow, cross-site scripting, SQL injection, canonicalization
Authentication attacks such as network eavesdropping, brute force attacks, dictionary attacks, cookie replay, credential theft
Authorization attacks such as elevation of privilege, the disclosure of confidential data, data tampering, luring attacks
Configuration management attacks such as unauthorized access to administration interfaces / configuration stores, retrieval of clear text configuration data, lack of individual accountability, over-privileged process & service accounts
Sensitive information attacks such as access to sensitive data in storage, network eavesdropping,
Session management attacks such as session hijacking, session replay, man in the middle,
Cryptography attacks due to poor key generation or key management and weak or custom encryption,
Parameter manipulation attacks e.g. query string manipulation, form field / cookie / HTTP header manipulation,
Exception management attacks such as denial of service,
Auditing and logging attacks
4. Cyber Incident Response
Incident Response relates to the plans, policies, and procedures for handling cyber security incidents.
Analysing Data from Data Files, Operating Systems, Network Traffic, Applications, and Multiple Sources
Analyzing Active Data, Latent Data, and Archival Data
Wireless, Network, Database and Password forensics
Social media forensics
Malware, Memory and Browser forensics
Cell Phone Forensics
Web and Email investigation
Analysing Server Logs
5. Regulatory Compliance
Regulatory Compliance relates to measures undertaken to ensure compliance with applicable laws and mandatory cyber security standards.
Failure to meet regulatory compliance requirements can result in civil and criminal action and even imprisonment for organization heads.
Usage of consolidated and harmonized compliance controls ensures regulatory compliance without unnecessary duplication of effort and activity.
One such control system is the “Effective Compliance and Ethics Program” contained in Chapter 8B2.1 of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual issued by the United States Sentencing Commission.
Another control is the “AS 3806- 2006” issued by Standards Australia. This provides guidance on:
The principles of effective management of an organization’s compliance with its legal obligations, as well as any other relevant obligations such as industry and organizational standards
The principles of good governance and accepted community and ethical norms.
6. Data Protection
Data Protection relates to the cyber security aspects of protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data.
From a Data Protection perspective, data can be classified into 3 types — data at rest, data in motion and data under use.
Critical and confidential data includes source code, product design documents, process documentation, internal price lists, financial documents, strategic planning documents, due diligence research for mergers and acquisitions, employee information, customer data such as credit card numbers, medical records, financial statements etc.
Data Loss Prevention solutions:
Identify confidential data
Track that data as it moves through and out of enterprise
Prevent unauthorized disclosure of data by creating and enforcing disclosure policies
Various encryption technologies such as symmetric encryption, public key encryption, and full disk encryption can be used for data protection.
A data protection policy involves:
Instituting good security and privacy policies for collecting, using and storing sensitive information
Using strong encryption for data storage.
Limiting access to sensitive data.
Safely purging old or outdated sensitive information.
7. Cyber Security Training
Cyber Security Training is a formal process for educating personnel about cyber security and building relevant skills and competencies.
Cyber Security Training ensures that relevant personnel understand their cyber security responsibilities. This enables them to properly use and protect the information and resources entrusted to them.
Effective cyber security training must include:
Real-world training on systems that emulate the live environment,
Continual training capability for routine training,
Timely exposure to new threat scenarios,
Exposure to updated scenarios reflecting the current threat environment,
Coverage of basic day-to-day practices required by the users
8. Cyber Security Testing
Cyber Security Testing is the process of ascertaining how effectively the entity meets specific cyber security objectives.
Cyber Security Testing encompasses:
Review Techniques, which include Documentation Review, Log Review, Ruleset Review, System Configuration Review, Network Sniffing, and File Integrity Checking
Target Identification and Analysis Techniques, which include Network Discovery, Network Port and Service Identification, Vulnerability Scanning, Active & Passive Wireless Scanning, Wireless Device Location Tracking, and Bluetooth Scanning
Target Vulnerability Validation Techniques which include Password Cracking, Penetration Testing, Penetration Testing and Social Engineering
Security Assessment Planning which includes Developing a Security Assessment Policy, Prioritizing and Scheduling Assessments, Selecting and Customizing Techniques, Assessment Logistics, Assessor Selection and Skills, Location Selection, Technical Tools and Resources Selection, Assessment Plan Development and Legal Considerations
Security Assessment Execution which includes Coordination, Assessing, Analysis, Data Handling, Data Collection, Data Storage, Data Transmission and Data Destruction
Post Testing Activities which includes Mitigation Recommendations, Reporting and Remediation/Mitigation
9. Contingency Planning
Contingency planning revolves around preparing for unexpected and potentially unfavorable events that are likely to have an adverse impact.
Types of Contingency Plans are:
Business Continuity Plan
Continuity of Operations Plan
Crisis Communications Plan
Critical Infrastructure Protection Plan
Cyber Incident Response Plan
Disaster Recovery Plan
Information System Contingency Plan
Occupant Emergency Plan
Stages in the Information System Contingency Planning Process are:
Developing the Contingency Planning Policy Statement
We live in a world where everything seems to be getting hacked — Airplanes, ATM machines, Baby monitors, Biometric devices, Bitcoin wallets, Cars, CCTV cameras, Drones, Gaming consoles, Health trackers, Medical devices, Power plants, Self-aiming rifles, Ships, Smart-watches, Smartphones & more.
The increasing global cost of cybercrime ($100 billion+ a year) has led to a massive surge in the demand for cybercrime investigators. This article explores the 22 skills every cybercrime investigator must have.
Skill 1: Web Technologies
Considering the magnitude and impact of web attacks, it is necessary for a cyber crime investigator to understand some of the technologies that run the Internet and the World Wide Web.
This includes practical activities including hosting a domain, creating SFTP users, setting up custom MX records, setting up, configuring & administering private email accounts, databases, and Virtual Private Servers, configuring SSL for secure websites and deploying cloud infrastructure. The investigator must also understand installing, configuring & deploying content management systems and e-commerce platforms.
Skill 2: Web Hacking
Since a majority of cyber crime cases involve web-hacking or web-attacks, it is essential for cyber crime investigators to have a strong knowledge of the techniques of web hacking such as Footprinting, Bypassing Authorization Schema, SQL injection, Cross Site Scripting (XSS), Broken Authentication, Session Hijacking, Unvalidated Redirects & Forwards, and Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF).
Skill 3: Suspect interviewing
Effective suspect interviewing is an essential skill for cybercrime investigators. The investigator must understand the difference between an interrogation and an interview and how to prepare for and conduct a suspect interview. The investigator must be able to detect deception, document an interview and get an admission from a suspect. An investigator must also know how to conduct an inquiry in an organization.
Skill 4: Documentation
Even the best investigation is worthless if it is not supported by accurate and relevant documentation and that’s why a thorough understanding of documentation is essential for a cybercrime investigator.
Skill 5: Law
Every step of an investigation must be in compliance with the law and that’s why a thorough understanding of the applicable law is essential for a cyber crime investigator.
Skill 6: Phishing tools, techniques, and counter-measures
Phishing is one of the most popular techniques among hackers and financial cyber criminals. This makes it important for a cyber crime investigator to understand phishing tools, techniques, and counter-measures.
Skill 7: Virtual Payment Systems
Virtual Payment Systems have taken the global money markets by storm. A cyber crime investigator must have a strong understanding of how these systems work.
Skill 8: Financial instruments and concepts
Financial crimes are some of the most interesting cases that cyber crime investigators are called upon to solve. These include including advance-fee scam, bank frauds & carding, charge back fraud, check washing, check fraud, credit card fraud, identity theft, insider trading, insurance fraud, mortgage fraud, ponzi schemes, securities fraud, skimming, wireless identity theft and more.
Skill 9: Forensic accounting
Forensic Accountants are called upon in cases involving economic damages calculations, bankruptcy, securities fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, business valuation, and e-discovery. It is important for a cyber crime investigator to have a basic understanding of forensic accounting.
Skill 10: Fraud Investigation
Many times a cyber crime investigator is called upon to handle fraud investigations. An investigator must understand Fraud (its extent, patterns and causes), Fraud Risk Assessment & Management, Fraud Prevention, Detection & Reporting.
Skill 11: Bitcoin & other crypto-currencies
Bitcoin is, without doubt, the most famous crypto-currency. It gained a lot of notoriety during the crackdown on Silk Road, an underground online marketplace trading in drugs, stolen financial information, weapons & more.
Considering the use of bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) by criminals, a strong understanding of bitcoin forensics is essential for cyber crime investigators.
Considering the impact of malware, it is essential for a cyber crime investigator to have a strong understanding of malware incident prevention and malware incident response.
Skill 13: Dark Web
The World Wide Web that the vast majority of netizens use is also referred to as the clearnet — since it primarily is unencrypted in nature. Then there is the deep web — the part of the clearnet, which is not indexed by search engines. Deep web includes data stored in password-protected pages and databases. The darkweb is a small part of the deepweb. The deepweb consists of darknets including peer-to-peer networks, Freenet, I2P, and Tor. The Tor darkweb is also called onionland, since its top level domain suffix is .onion and it uses the traffic anonymization technique of onion routing.
Considering the popularity of the darkweb amongst the organized criminals groups, a cyber crime investigator must have a thorough working knowledge of the dark web.
Skill 14: Email investigation
Despite the popularity of instant messengers (such as Whatsapp) and social media, email remains one of the most popular methods of online communication in the world. This makes it essential for a cyber crime investigator to have a strong knowledge of email tracking & tracing.
Skill 15: Log analysis
In a large number of cyber crime cases, the investigation begins with an analysis of server logs. It is essential for a cyber crime investigator to have a sound working knowledge of server log analysis.
Skill 16: Browser forensics
In many cases of cyber crime, valuable evidence can be obtained from web browsers. This makes it important for a cyber crime investigator to have a strong practical knowledge of browser forensics.
These evidence points include history, bookmarks, credit card information & contact information stored in autofill, saved passwords, files in the download location. Browser forensics also involves analysis of cloud printers and other connected devices, extensions, cookies and site data, location settings and exceptions, media settings (like camera and microphone permissions) & exceptions, unsandboxed plug-in access & exceptions, automatic downloads and exceptions and more.
Skill 17: Social Media Forensics
It’s probably not incorrect to say that almost every Internet user is part of at least one social media platform. This makes social media forensics an essential skill for a cyber crime investigator.
Skill 18: Google Ecosystem & its Forensics
Google isn’t just a search engine anymore. The Google ecosystem is all around us — Gmail, YouTube, Google groups, Google sites, Google plus, Google keep and so much more. This makes Google forensics a must-have skill for cyber crime investigators.
Skill 19: Forensic technologies
It is essential for a cyber crime investigator to have a strong working knowledge of forensic technologies, cyber forensic concepts and ISO/IEC 27037 — the most important global standard for identification, collection, acquisition and preservation of potential digital evidence.
Skill 20: Cyber security
A basic working knowledge of cyber security is essential for everyone and more so for cyber crime investigators. Aspects of information security include Application Security, Cloud Computing Security, Computer Security, Cyber Security Standards, Data Security, Database Security, Information Security, Internet Security, Mobile Security, and Network Security.
Skill 21: Cryptography & Steganography
Many people use cryptography and steganography. And these include criminals and terrorists. Hence a working knowledge of these is useful for cyber crime investigators.
Skill 22: Password recovery & forensics
In many cases it is found that potential evidence is locked up in password protected files. This makes it essential for cyber crime investigators to have a strong practical knowledge of password recovery & forensics.
I’m not a techie, nor a lawyer and yet here I am in a field that takes on both these mammoths. I’ve been here a long time; India’s had her cyber law in place since the year 2000. So, it’s deeply disappointing to see the confusion in students and professionals alike about the various aspects of a cyber education.
Yes, I said cyber education and not just an IT education. So, I’m not only talking about the technology in cyberspace. I’m referring to the other side of the spectrum.
9 out of 10 people today have faced some type of cybercrime. And yet, almost 7 out of those 9 will not know what to do about it.
I thought about cybercrime, you know, as a non-techie and a non-lawyer, and decided to break it down to its foundation stones.
Here, let’s create our first bifurcation. Cybercrime may be divided into 2 parts — Pre-crime and Post-crime
This is where your crime hasn’t happened yet. So, you are basically hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. This can also be divided further into:
1. Cyber security
In layman’s terms, every step that you take to ensure that your computer hardware, computer software, networks, accounts etc. remain safe from any breach, aka cybercrime, is cyber security. Simple, isn’t it? Well, simple is where this article stays. You want a connoisseur’s break up of the cyber security menu, see: The 9 sides of cyber security
2. Cyber Insurance
The obvious next step in pre-crime schedule. What you may not be able to secure ought to be insured.
This is where your cybercrime worst has happened. Now, hopefully, you aren’t affected too badly. But even if you are, there are divisions to this part that can help you.
1. Cyber Law
This is the law that governs cyberspace and as often as not has jurisdiction beyond your country. So, where do you report a cybercrime. Cyber law tells you the where, how and whom to approach. It also tells you the punishments for various cybercrimes. You know, in case you may be committing one?
2. Cyber Investigation
Here’s where the sleuths step in. Professionals here need to have that investigative streak and need to be armed with the latest tools and techniques of cyber investigation. This is where you get answers to how the cybercrime was committed and with any luck, may just get the criminal. And again, if you want the real dirt on what all an investigator needs to know, see — 25 Skills Essential for a Cyber Crime Investigator
So, you’re a student or professional who has a thought that they want a piece of the humongous cybercrime pie. This article may just have helped you understand where you want to be.
Just be prepared to keep learning to stay abreast in this ever-evolving super-exciting space.
In order to arrive at an acceptable definition of the term Cyber Law, we must first understand the meaning of the term law. Simply put, law encompasses the rules of conduct:
that have been approved by the government, and
which are in force over a certain territory, and
which must be obeyed by all persons on that territory. Violation of these rules will lead to government action such as imprisonment or fine or an order to pay compensation.
The term cyber or cyberspace has today come to signify everything related to computers, the Internet, websites, data, emails, networks, software, data storage devices (such as hard disks, USB disks etc) and even Airplanes, ATM machines, Baby monitors, Biometric devices, Bitcoin wallets, Cars, CCTV cameras, Drones, Gaming consoles, Health trackers, Medical devices, Power plants, Self-aiming rifles, Ships, Smart-watches, Smartphones & more.
Thus a simplified definition of cyber law is that it is the “law governing cyber space”.
The issues addressed by cyber law include cyber crime, electronic commerce
1. Cyber crime
An interesting definition of cyber crime was provided in the “Computer Crime: Criminal Justice Resource Manual” published in 1989. According to this manual, cyber crime covered the following:
computer crime i.e. any violation of specific laws that relate to computer crime,
computer related crime i.e. violations of criminal law that involve a knowledge of computer technology for their perpetration, investigation, or prosecution,
computer abuse i.e. intentional acts that may or may not be specifically prohibited by criminal statutes. Any intentional act involving knowledge of computer use or technology is computer abuse if one or more perpetrators made or could have made gain and / or one or more victims suffered or could have suffered loss.
2. Electronic commerce
The term electronic commerce or E-commerce is used to refer to electronic data used in commercial transactions. Electronic commerce laws usually address issues of data authentication by electronic and/or digital signatures.
3. Intellectual Property in as much as it applies to cyberspace
copyright law in relation to computer software, computer source code, websites, cell phone content etc;
software and source code licenses;
trademark law with relation to domain names, meta tags, mirroring, framing, linking etc.;
semiconductor law which relates to the protection of semiconductor integrated circuits design and layouts;
patent law in relation to computer hardware and software.
4. Data protection & privacy
Data protection and privacy laws address legal issues arising in the collecting, storing and transmitting sensitive personal data by data controllers such as banks, hospitals, email service providers etc.
The Need for Cyber Law
The first question that a student of cyber law will ask is whether there is a need for a separate field of law to cover cyberspace. Isn’t conventional law adequate to cover cyberspace?
Let us consider cases where so-called conventional crimes are carried out using computers or the Internet as a tool. Consider cases of spread of pornographic material, criminal threats delivered via email, websites that defame someone or spread racial hatred etc. In all these cases, the computer is merely incidental to the crime. Distributing pamphlets promoting racial enmity is in essence similar to putting up a website promoting such ill feelings.
Of course, it can be argued that when technology is used to commit such crimes, the effect and spread of the crime increases enormously. Printing and distributing pamphlets even in one locality is a time consuming and expensive task while putting up a globally accessible website is very easy.
In such cases, it can be argued that conventional law can handle cyber cases. The Government can simply impose a stricter liability (by way of imprisonment and fines) if the crime is committed using certain specified technologies. A simplified example would be stating that spreading pornography by electronic means should be punished more severely than spreading pornography by conventional means.
As long as we are dealing with such issues, conventional law would be adequate. The challenges emerge when we deal with more complex issues such as ‘theft’ of data. Under conventional law, theft relates to “movable property being taken out of the possession of someone”.
The General Clauses Act defines movable property as “property of every description, except immovable property”. The same law defines immovable property as “land, benefits to arise out of land, and things attached to the earth, or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth”. Using these definitions, we can say that the computer is movable property.
Let us examine how such a law would apply to a scenario where data is ‘stolen’. Consider my personal computer on which I have stored some information. Let us presume that some unauthorized person picks up my computer and takes it away without my permission. Has he committed theft? The elements to consider are whether some movable property has been taken out of the possession of someone. The computer is movable property and I am the legal owner entitled to possess it. The thief has dishonestly taken this movable property out of my possession. It is theft.
Now consider that some unauthorized person simply copies the data from my computer onto his pen drive. Would this be theft? Presuming that the intangible data is movable property, the concept of theft would still not apply as the possession of the data has not been taken from me. I still have the ‘original’ data on the computer under my control. The ‘thief’ simply has a ‘copy’ of that data. In the digital world, the copy and the original are indistinguishable in almost every case.
Consider another illustration on the issue of ‘possession’ of data. I use the email account email@example.com for personal communication. Naturally, a lot of emails, images, documents etc are sent and received by me using this account. The first question is, who ‘possesses’ this email account? Is it me because I have the username and password needed to ‘login’ and view the emails? Or it is Google Inc because the emails are stored on their computers?
Another question would arise if some unauthorized person obtains my password. Can it be said that now that person is also in possession of my emails because he has the password to ‘login’ and view the emails?
Another legal challenge emerges because of the ‘mobility’ of data. Let us consider an example of international trade in the conventional world. Sameer purchases steel from a factory in China uses the steel to manufacture nails in a factory in India and then sells the nails to a trader in the USA. The various Governments can easily regulate and impose taxes at various stages of this business process.
Now consider that Sameer has shifted to an ‘online’ business. He sits in his house in Pune (India) and uses his computer to create pirated versions of expensive software. He then sells this pirated software through a website (hosted on a server located in Russia). People from all over the world can visit Sameer’s website and purchase the pirated software. Sameer collects the money using a PayPal account that is linked to his bank account in a tax haven country like the Cayman Islands.
It would be extremely difficult for any Government to trace Sameer’s activities.
It is for these and other complexities that conventional law is unfit to handle issues relating to cyberspace. This brings in the need for a separate branch of law to tackle cyberspace.