Beware! Don’t get entangled in the net

Cyber Crime Division gets digital forensic lab to crackdown on rising crime rate
By Damith Wickremasekara

A Sri Lankan businessman placed an order via internet for stationery items from a Malaysian based company. He sent e-mails to obtain quotations for the purchases and was satisfied with the prices quoted.

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He used his credit card and paid Rs. 800,000 for a container of stationery items. He was then told to pay up for the three containers he wanted to purchase. Accordingly, he paid Rs. 900,000 more.

The businessman waited for one more month but he did not receive any response to any of his e-mails nor were his telephone calls answered. He then decided to travel to Malaysia and make inquiries from the company itself.

He lodged a complaint with the Malaysian police and visited the company. He was told that though his order was not received , the company had received a similar order from a company in Nigeria and the consignment had been sent there. He was in for a rude shock when he was told by company officials that he had been dealing with a fake website.

The businessman returned to Colombo and made a complaint at the Cyber Crime Division at Police Headquarters. The Cyber Crime division alerted Interpol who were able to make a breakthrough and investigations are proceeding against the suspects.

In another case a local bank employee was involved in illegally collecting credit card data by sending fake e-mails to customers saying they needed to change their passwords. In his e-mail he provided a link to access the bank’s website but what the customer was unaware of was that it was a fake website. The employee is currently in custody.

In another case a doctor who had started an online relationship with a woman on Facebook, found out that he had been cheated of Rs. 500,000 by an organized gang. These are some of the crimes under investigation by Sri Lanka’s Cyber Crime Division.

This week the Division set up a digital forensic lab to expand its activities. The initial step to set up the Digital Forensic Laboratory at the CID was taken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2007 when he was the Prime Minister. Subsequently, a proposal was sent to the World Bank by Prof. P.W.Epasinghe, Chairman of Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka and Director – Legal Adisor Jayantha Fernando.

A group of 14 police officers underwent training early this year in this field. The new lab set up will provide the facilities to analyze data locally and take swift action instead of waiting for an analyst’s report.
A senior police officer said instances of photographs of females published by jilted lovers, rated high among the cyber crimes reported to the police.

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