A Union home ministry think-tank is studying software solutions to help law enforcement agencies monitor the darknet, or a network of secret websites and encrypted networks, and track cybercriminals through digital footprints, people aware of the matter said.
The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) is also looking into an interactive web portal that will provide information on cyber crimes, their modus operandi, investigation techniques as well as digital solutions for tracing sources of voice over internet protocol calls, cracking passwords, and decrypting protected files.
Academia, start-ups/Incubation centres, and research and development (R&D) organisations are working on the project to find solutions for cybercrime investigation and digital forensic challenges.
Around 11 problem statements based on consultations with state police and central agencies have been identified and sent to 120 institutions and R&D organisations across the country as part of the project.
“It is a capacity-building measure for LEAs [law enforcement agencies] and an exercise to take cybercrime investigation tools to the cutting edge level,” said BPRD chief V S K Kaumudi.
According to a BPRD document, seen by HT, a solution for the darknet will help get inside hidden networks, gather threat intelligence, conduct profiling, analyse specific links and provide alerts regarding suspicious activity.
It says the interactive web portal will assist investigating officers with their queries regarding cybercrimes, fetch details of cybercrime investigations workflows, use artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques for on-time updates. It is planned to have an integrated online case management platform for financial fraud.
Tracking fake news and fake profiles on social media is another key objective of BPRD’s plan to ensure cyber criminals or specific groups, individuals do not run political or religious propaganda on a large scale against individuals, organisations or the government and create unrest in the country, according to the document.
The solution for fake profiles and fake news will involve assistance to investigators in tracing anonymous social media suspects. It will help them detect fake news, fake images, offensive videos as well as trace people posting them on social media.
Officials said the risk of cyberattacks has increased manifolds with the heightened d ependency on digital infrastructure amid the Covid-19 pandemic that has prompted lockdowns globally. The Centre’s Computer Emergency Response Team has repeatedly warned over the last two months that cyberattackers may take advantage of the pandemic to target individuals and organisations.