Final reports were submitted in 20 of these 113 cases. The accused in four were acquitted of charges and four were exempted. Sentence was passed only in one case. The other cases are under trial.

Public prosecutor of the cyber tribunal, Nazrul Islam, told Prothom Alo that most of the cybercrime cases deal with online defamation, false reports, obscene pictures and information. The number of cases regarding hacking and such serious offences is relatively less and the sentences are negligible too.

Information and communication technology experts and police officials dealing with cybercrimes, said the accounts of persons using Facebook, Imo, Likee, Tiktok and such social media websites and apps are hacked more. The accused in such cases are young. Many of them have learnt how to hack into YouTube and other online platforms, according the charge sheets.

Those using various apps including Facebook, have very little knowledge of information technology. Young persons with a propensity towards crime take advantage of this. In order to tackle this, efforts must be made at a government and private level to increase public awareness about the safe use of technology
Saifuddin Md Tareq, Chairman, CSE Department, Dhaka University

Dhaka Metropolitan Police arrested 23-year-old Sayeem Miah on accusation of hacking into 259 Facebook accounts. After investigations, the case statement and charge sheet was submitted to the court on 5 May 2019. According to the case statement and charge sheet, Sayeem Miah hacked Facebook accounts with the help of an app and was cheating people in various ways. The case is under trial at the cyber tribunal.

The investigating officer of the case and sub-inspector of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC)’s Cyber Security and Crime Division, Golam Rasul, told Prothom Alo that organised criminal gangs basically hacked into users of Facebook, Imo, bKash, Nagad and such accounts to filch funds. This practice is on the rise.

Touhidul Islam, a bKash agent in the capital city, said he would carry out large amounts of financial transactions every day using his own bKash agent number. Hackers used false identities to collect certain confidential information from him. They then hacked his account and made off with Tk 123,197. Touhidul filed a case against these unidentified persons with the cyber tribunal last year.

After investigations, the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) submitted charge sheets to the court on 1 June against Sajib Matubbar, 25, and Ashraful Islam, 35. The charge sheet stated that these two accused persons would unlawfully register SIMs in the names of various persons. They would then collect personal information, hack the clients’ accounts and steal their money.

Head of PBI’s forensic department, additional superintendent of police Mostafa Kamal, told Prothom Alo, scrutiny of the hacking cases indicate that young boys are involved in hacking Facebook, Imo and Likee account users. And several organised rings are involved in hacking the client accounts of bKash, Nagad, Rocket and such financial service providers. There has also been hacking of ATM booths.

He said the accused persons basically are into blackmailing and stealing money. Due to ignorance and carelessness, the account users use relatively weak passwords. The hackers and cheaters take advantage of this, Mostofa Kamal added.

Over the last seven years, from 2013 to 2020, sentences were passed in one hacking-related case. Six persons were sentenced in the case for leaking out the draft verdict of the case with the International Crimes Tribunal against Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury.

Chairman of Dhaka University’s Computer Science and Engineering Department, Saifuddin Md Tareq, told Prothom Alo, a very few persons who study computer science and ICT actually get involved in cybercrime.

He further said those using various apps including Facebook, have very little knowledge of information technology. Young people with a propensity towards crime take advantage of this. In order to tackle this, efforts must be made at a government and private level to increase public awareness about the safe use of technology.

* This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ayesha Kabir

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