Distinction Between Conventional Crime And Cyber Crime

By | March 23, 2021
Conventional Crime

Distinction Between Conventional Crime And Cyber Crime | Overview

The concept of ‘cyber-crime is a misnomer. Both the terms, conventional crime, and cyber-crime, are not largely distinct from one another. The ingredients to both of these have an act or omission, resulting in the breach of rules and a counterbalancing action from the state. Before digging deep into the concept of cyber-crime, one needs to understand that it does not stand far away from the concept of a conventional crime.

Ever imagined your own data working against you? Ever heard of someone looting your money sitting on their comfy bean sofa? In modern-day society, one needs to beware of not only the conventional pickpockets and burglars but from the data stored in their own phones.

I. Introduction

In the simplest terms, cyber-crime is nothing but a crime committed taking the aid of technology and the internet. For the sake of convenience, we tend to differentiate the two, but it is important to note that it is performed by similar criminals for the same type of reasons. In the case of cyber-crimes, the culprit is relatively harder to locate, distinguish, and get caught. Various individuals use the web, date, and online networking to take cover behind a virtual character which, fundamentally, can be anything and anyone they need.

With the new limits we have nowadays, anyone can sort out instructions to use the web further bolstering their favourable luck and subsequently use it to hurt others. Hacking, which fundamentally was freakish (or outstandingly unreasonable) until of late, has ended up being incredibly straightforward on the off chance that someone can get the right information. With conventional crime, the culprit doesn’t have an indistinct limit from inside digital crime.[1]

While still troublesome, cyber-crime is an altogether less demanding way to deal with getting what someone needs. Some X individuals by means of web-based networking media could be your close by a neighbor and you’d never know it. With extending data of PCs and how to use and control them, digital crimes are more likely than at some other time. Developers from various countries are upsetting nuclear force plants, individuals are having their characters and entire lives taken from them. Digital crime, while totally not the same as conventional crime, is at this point a shocking offense.

II. Distinguishing Conventional Crime And Cyber Crime-A Comparative Analysis

The biggest and the most obvious contrast between the two heads is proof of the offense. Conventional offenders, more often than not, end up leaving traceable hints of a crime, either in the form of fingerprints or physical confirmations.[2] On the contrary, the reliance on the virtual network for the committing of a crime leaves no proof of the cyber-criminals.  Hence, this leads to another difference between conventional and cyber crimes i.e., the extent of examinations.

Since the majority of cybercriminals use aliases at remote working locations, it becomes treacherous to locate them. Due to this, cybercrimes tend to cause greater damage to society than conventional crimes. Cyber-crimes also include within their ambit, the conventional crimes are done with the aid of the internet. For instance, defamation, terrorism, voyeurism, bullying, and stalking.

Moreover, the perpetrators of the petty conventional crimes usually include illiterate, unorganized people mainly from the downtrodden sections of the society. However, the perpetrators doing cyber-crimes are usually educated professionals, organized criminal gangs, ideological hackers (hacktivists), etc. which forms a disparity in the class of perpetrators.

The other difference between these two terms depends on the evidence of the offenses. In the customary crimes, the hoodlums ordinarily leave any evidence of that crime like fingerprints or other actual confirmation.[3] Yet, in cybercrimes, cyber hoodlums carry out their crimes through the web and there are exceptionally fewer odds of leaving any actual confirmation. Further, these two terms can be separated based on the utilization of force.

In conventional crimes, a large number of crimes like assault, murder, and theft, and so on include the utilization of extreme actual force which prompts actual injury on the person in question. However, in cyber-crimes, there is no necessity of an actual force in light of the fact that in this kind of crime the hoodlums just utilize the characters or records of other individuals utilizing digital advances.

Whoever abets any offense will, if the offense abetted is done in consequence of the abetment, and no express arrangement is made by this Act for the discipline of such abetment, be punished with the punishment for the offense under this Act under Section 84B of Indian Penal Code.[4]

Under the current Information Technology Act, there is no particular arrangement concerning the classification of cognizable, non-cognizable or bailable, nonbailable, or in any case consequently the classification of cyber-crime cases must be decided as per Section 2(a) and 2(c) read with the First Schedule of the Cr.P.C in which the conventional crimes are mentioned.

The intricacies in getting cybercriminals have inferred that already various individuals have gotten away with their crimes without facing the same punishment as that of the conventional criminals. While laws have been eased back to acclimate to these more up-to-date sorts of criminal movements, the advance has been made. Two or three years prior, malicious software hackers could take a great amount of money, causing more harm and in-turn escaping the jail-time. Nowadays prosecutions have tremendously ascended alongside arrests made for the same. It is difficult to compare the two in terms of their punishment as there is no distinct way to really differentiate the two.

III. The Hacker Mentality

The main objective of a hacker is to discover shortcomings and vulnerabilities in PC network frameworks. The indulgence in hacking may be attributed to one of these reasons: for leisure, criminal pick up, bringing explanations, or strengthening security. The ones who hack for leisure do so just to demonstrate their specialized abilities in breaking firewall systems and are not really bothered by the data accessed in the process.

Hackers who hack for criminal pick up do so to swindle by controlling information. They often procure monetary data and passwords to flow currency from one account to another in their favor, which in turn, may bring about huge economic misfortunes to the causalities. The strategies used by these cyber hoodlums are to gather data and play out an assault, which is in every sense tantamount to physical ‘conventional’ crimes.[5]

IV. Statutory Provisions

The Legislature gave importance to the subject, considering it necessary to give effect to the resolution by which the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted Model Law on Electronic Commerce. As a result of which, the Indian parliament passed the Information Technology Act of 2000 on 17th May 2000. It is stated in this Act’s preamble that its objective is to legalize e-commerce and further amend the Indian Penal Code, 1860 along with the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, and a few others. It was primarily done so that changes in these Acts can be incorporated and made compatible with the Act of 2000 for regulating and controlling the working of the cyber world in an efficient and safe manner.[6]

The Information Technology Act concerns itself with various cybercrimes listed in chapters IX and XI. The important sections are Ss. 43, 65, 66, 67. Section 43 talks about the unapproved access, unapproved downloading, virus attacks, or any pollutant, causes harm, disturbance, refusal of access, obstruction with the service availed by an individual. This section accommodates a fine up to Rs. 1 Crore by way of remedy. Section 65 deals with ‘altering computer source documents’ and provides for imprisonment as long as 3 years or fine, which may extend as long as 2 years or both.

Section 66 deals with ‘hacking with computer framework’ and provides for imprisonment as long as 3 years or fine, which may extend as long as 2 years or both. Further section 67 deals with the distribution of obscene material and provides for imprisonment up to a term of 10 years and furthermore with a fine up to Rs. 2 lakhs.

The Act was a milestone in bridging the gap within the laws concerning cybercrime. However, during its application, the Act has been proven to be inadequate in many instances. The major criticism faced by the Act which was further reiterated by Mr. Pavan Duggal is the fact that the main intention behind making this Act was to regulate e-commerce, and in the process, it ignores its part of dealing with cybercrimes. However, I would respectfully dissent with Mr. Duggal’s criticism because, even though prima facie, it may seem more driven towards facilitating e-commerce, it does amend I.P.C., Evidence Act, and RBI Act, making it a difficult playing ground for the cybercriminals.[7]

V. Suggestions And Conclusion

More stringent punishments for cyber-crimes should take place, similar to that of conventional crimes. Speedy investigations should take place as retrieving information about the hacker and his anonymity is the biggest hurdle. Further, organizations need to have in place the necessary security frameworks, literacy, and schedules that are appropriate to their business. A wide range of tech-controls can be set up to aid organizations with proactively defending themselves against any cyber-threat.[8]

In conclusion, the distinction between cyber-crimes and conventional crimes is the power included. The greater part of the customary crimes, for instance, assault, murder, rape, and burglary among others incorporate the usage of superfluous power that results in actual harm and injury on the casualties. Of course, cybercrimes don’t need the usage of any power since the wrongdoers just use the characters of their casualties to take from them. For example, cybercriminals use ridiculing and phishing to procure singular information, for instance, credit card numbers from their casualties, or use mixed messages to put together violence distantly. Consequently, there is a critical effect on cybercrime when contrasted and conventional crime.


[1] Chapter III. Meaning and Concept of Cyber Crimes,  Shodhganga; Available Here 

[2] H Saini, Y.S. Rao and T.C. Panda: Cyber Crimes and their impacts: A Review; International Journal of Engineering Research and Applications (IJERA) ISSN: 2248-9622, Vol. 2, Issue 2, Mar-Apr 2012, pp.202-209, Available Here

[3] Raj Sumani Pandora, Cybercrime: The evolution of traditional crime

[4] Introduction to cybercrime, William Gibson

[5] Cyber Criminals: Who They Are and Why They Do It; Vircom; Dated: 07.02.2018; Date of Access: 18.10.2019, Available Here 

[6] Introduction to Cyber Forensics; Cybrary; Dated: 23.06.2018; Date of Access: 19.10.2019, Available Here  

[7] Cybercrime: The evolution of traditional crime, Ruj Samani Pandora

[8] Sammons J, Cross M.: The Basics of Cyber Safety, 2017; Science Direct: Cybercriminals, Date of Access: 18.10.2019 Available Here


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