Most victims still not reporting cyber crimes: survey
Though a year has gone by since the Digital Security Act was passed in the parliament, 80 percent of cyber crime victims do not report the cases to law enforcement agencies, according to a recent survey conducted by Cyber Crime Awareness Foundation.
The report also shows that cyber crimes like threatening phone calls are made despite the government verifying SIM cards through biometric registration system.
A press conference was organised by the foundation yesterday at Dhaka Reporters Unity to share the findings of the survey -- conducted on 134 victims of cyber crimes.
The much-debated Digital Security Act was passed in September last year. But the report said, 63 percent of the cyber crime victims do not know how to seek help.
Of those who sought legal help under the law, 73.1 percent did not get satisfactory results as per their expectations, according to the report.
Responding to why they do not file complaints, some 19 percent of the victims said they think they would be harassed instead of getting justice, 23 percent wanted to keep the incidents secret, while 22 percent did not know how to seek legal help.
Some of the victims were also apprehensive of filing cases, as the offenders were influential, the report added.
Women are most vulnerable to cyber crimes; 68 percent of the victims were women, according to the survey.
The survey found that 11 types of cyber crimes are prevalent in Bangladesh are being committed in 11 phases. Of them, four types are somewhat new.
These are: phone-call threats, violation of copyright law, fraudulence over selling products online and deception in online jobs.
According to BTRC statistics, the total number of active internet connections in the country now stands at 9.81 crore, which is an all-time high.
With the growing number of internet users across the country, cyber crimes are also on the rise simultaneously. Violent extremism, rumours, political propaganda, fake news, gang culture, suicide, pornography, cyber bullying, fraudulence, extortion, and piracy are hitting the headlines regularly.
The cyber crimes which the victims faced most are: propaganda on social media, fabrication of images online, pornography, online threats, hacking of social media accounts and fraudulence through fake IDs, according to the foundation.
At the discussion, Bangla daily Prothom Alo’s joint editor Mizanur Rahman Khan said people accuse the government for failure in various areas, like ensuring their voting rights.
“But what we don’t talk about enough is the cyber world, which is a complex and unfamiliar area to many,” Mizanur said, referring to the rising importance of cyber awareness.
Syed Zahid Hossain, convener of Think Tank for Secure Digital Bangladesh, said culprits are committing crimes like before but the medium has changed from real to virtual life.
Mahmuda Afroz, additional deputy commissioner (DB) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said they always suggest deleting secret conversations on messenger apps, as cyber criminals may hack accounts and trap the victims to extort money.
The CCA Foundation launched the report makring Cyber Awareness Month (October 2019).
Some recommendations included in the report are: regular cyber awareness programmes, inclusion of cyber awareness in the syllabus, recruitment of honest officials, generating skilled manpower, increasing the number of trained officials in law enforcement agencies, using local technology in cyber security and government support in private initiatives.