KATHMANDU, Nov 12: With the increase in the use of social media and the Internet by the Nepali public, cyber crimes too have increased in the last few years. Records maintained by the Metropolitan Police Crime Division (MPCD) show a significant surge in cyber crimes in the last fiscal year.
The MPCD's data on cyber crime show an increase of 27 percent in cyber crimes in the fiscal year 2017/18 as compared to the preceding year. The MPCD had recorded 1,223 cyber crimes in 2016/17 which rose to 1550 in 2017/18. Data from the division show that there were just 388 cases of cyber crimes in the Valley in fiscal year 2014/15 and 850 in fiscal year 2015/16.
Among various types of cyber crimes, those involving social networking sites saw a sharp surge during the review period. Cyber crimes in social networks increased by about 127 percent from 22 cases in fiscal year 2016/17 to 50 cases in fiscal year 2017/18.
According to the MPCD, the major reason behind the increase in crimes of this nature is password sharing between individuals and the lack of public awareness. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Dhiraj Pratap Singh, chief of the MPCD, claimed that majority of the cyber crimes occur due to password sharing between young people.
“Young people share the passwords of their social networking accounts with their close friends and boyfriends or girlfriends,” he said, adding, “And when their relationship gets on the verge of collapse they tend to publish private materials on social networks or blackmail each other.”
SSP Singh added that another reason behind the increase in cyber crimes is the excessive use of social networks. He said that people tend to share too much of their private information on social networks which usually backfires at them. He claimed that the root of the problem is lack of awareness.
Similarly, he emphasized on the need of a new cyber law for an effective approach to solving cyber crimes claiming that the existing Electronic Transaction Acts, 2008 is not effective enough for the rapidly changing scenario of cyber crimes.
“A new cyber law is the necessity if we want to minimize cyber crimes,” he said. He claimed that it would be of a significant help to the MPCD if new cyber laws were to include regulations on the use of social networks.
SSP Singh also lauded the newly formed Muluki Criminal Code for helping minimize cyber crimes. “The new codes have criminalized various cyber crimes including the tampering of social and religious contents which has helped us in solving crime,” he said.