India needs cybercrime awareness clinics

As the Internet gets increasingly sophisticated, criminology and cybercrime are opening up more career avenues

Published - April 29, 2018 07:00 pm IST

Dr. Vasileios Karagiannopoulos is senior lecturer, Law and Cybercrime, in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Portsmouth. He is also the director of the Portsmouth Cybercrime Awareness Clinic at the university, and will be the course leader for the B.Sc. in Criminology and Cybercrime to be launched in September this year. Excerpts from an interview.

Purpose of the clinic

The Cybercrime Awareness Clinic, at the university’s Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, engages with local community stakeholders and vulnerable groups to provide a central hub for collaboration and guidance on cybercrime. It also conducts research in the local community to increase awareness of cybercrime incidents, and aims to provide a blueprint of how such a clinic could be structured and operated, which could be replicated.

Need for such clinics at other institutions

With the exponential increase in cybercrime incidents on a global level, it is important for institutions to contribute to the multi-stakeholder responses that such complex threats require us to develop. Universities are well-placed to act as a bridge, linking teaching and research with our communities. And a cybercrime awareness clinic is, in my view, one way to achieve this goal by bringing different stakeholders together and expanding our knowledge of cybercrime.

Measures for institutions to take

The first step is to always take all the technological measures required, in terms of having firewalls, updated systems and anti-virus software. The second step is to set up concrete and enforceable information policies and educate the employees of the organisation/institution regarding the main risks and procedures that will reinforce and not compromise technological defences.

On the B.Sc. in Criminology and Cybercrime

The course combines general criminology topics with cybercrime-specific modules. The modules will focus on areas such as digital forensic investigations, deviant subcultures online, cybercrime law, the Dark Web and even more forward-looking topics, such as the development of crime in relation to artificial intelligence, robots or drones.

Higher studies

The multi-dimensional nature of cybercrime allows students to branch out to a great variety of topics. One could delve deeper into policing cybercrime, conducting digital forensic investigations, or the more code-based aspects of cybersecurity. They could also expand on cyber terrorism, cyber warfare, the impact of artificial intelligence in terms of crime and policing, and rehabilitation of Internet-addicted cybercriminals.

Career opportunities

With a booming Indian Internet industry, Indian students studying criminology and cybercrime will be able to pursue careers in various roles, from becoming part of a new, more cyber-aware police force to working as an information security officer/investigator in a company. Consultancy in the areas of information security is also a career prospect and involves working with governments and corporations on securing their valuable information technology assets. There are also opportunities for further study or for joining policy-making organisations in the areas of crime and new technologies. Considering the global nature of cybercrime, Indian students will also be empowered to seek relevant jobs beyond India.

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