KOZHIKODE: Eminent cyber forensic expert Dr P. Vinod Bhattathirippad has called for improving the cyber security and cyber investigation systems in the state. According to him, no crime will occur in the physical world without being registered in the cyber world. Lamenting the existing cyber investigation system, he said, “our hi-tech cells are a mere joke. The majority of our so-called cyber experts are ill-qualified,” he told DC. “We are living at a time when even children are exposed to smart mobiles and other cyber gadgets. That is why even small countries are setting up world class cyber forensic research labs and grooming experts,” Mr Bhattathirippad said.
“Here, not even a diploma in cyber forensics is essential to get a job in cyber forensics in cyber cells. This is happening at a time when more than hundred youths with MTech in cyber security from the state are working elsewhere,” he added. “I am not discounting the present system. But an enhanced system with qualified experts can deliver better results and perfect evidence,” Mr Bhattathirippad said and called for establishing a model cyber forensic research centre in the state under the science and technology ministry. Small countries like Abu Dhabi have already constituted cyber forensic labs with the help of experts from the USA.
“With their attempt of successfully developing a few complex cyber tools and providing cyber forensic service to investigating agencies across the nation, C-DAC was a success in the initial years. As days passed by, the centre had become yet another government facility. The centre could not keep up the momentum gained during its initial years,” he added. “A less informed expert may be able to collect evidence, but only a trained cyber expert collects not only evidence but also converts it into a judiciary-friendly format,” he added.
On cyber crime, he said many operations in the cyber world turned out to be criminal offences. Those using cyber gadgets like mobile phones and computers can unintentionally commit a crime. He narrated the story of a literature savvy youth who uploaded 144 novels on the internet from the Gulf with the idea of helping everyone read good books. The man used two fake FB IDs named ‘Lolan’ and ‘Lolanthalukal’ as links to the website ‘www.indian terminal.com’ which was rooted in some servers based in the US and Australia.
The latest books available in the collection were Adujeevitham (Goat Days) by Benyamin and Arachar by K.R. Meera. The novels were uploaded from the official computer of a Belgium-based company in Dubai. The publishers incurred a loss of about Rs 50 lakh by the fraud. The man is still in prison. Interrogation revealed that he was an avid reader who never made any profit from the act. He merely wanted everyone to read books he loved much, said Mr Bhattathirippad.
On the intricacies of mobile tracking for criminal investigation, Mr Bhattathirippad said that each moment and movement of a mobile user is registered in the cyber world. “At present the police department is seeking only 11 types of information from mobile companies whereas they can source more than 60 types of information in the CDR from the companies”, he said. “Collecting more information would simplify the crime tracking procedures,” he added.
On the failure of storing the visuals of CCTV cameras that cropped up during the solar scam, Mr Bhattathirippad said, “CCTV footages of an office could be stored by simple arrangements which would help avoide controversies in future. Even the destroyed or deleted files of hard disks could be retrieved spending around Rs 10,000,” he pointed out.
First Asian to get Phd in software forensics
Dr P Vinod Bhattathiri-ppad, 50, is the first Asian to have awarded PhD in forensics of software piracy copyright infringement. A practitioner-cum-researcher with a dozen research papers published in various prestigious journals in the US and Europe, he also had published a book on cyber forensics in the US. Mr Bhattathirippad shot into international fame when he pointed out five mistakes in the Abstraction-Filtration-Comparison (AFC) test, adopted by the US courts to establish cases related to software copyright infringement. His subsequent suggestions for AFC’s improvement and later formulation of POSAR, another test to replace the AFC test made him popular among the international cyber forensic academia.
Born in the renowned Polpaya Mana, near Pulamanthol, in Malappuram district, Dr Bhattathirippad is residing at Thiruthiad in Kozhikode. He is a voluntary consultant to Harvard University on Vedic Indology as well. He is son of P. M. K. Bhattathiripad, leader of the undivided AITUC and Leela Mazhavanchery, former Executive Engineer, Irrigation department. His wife, Sudha is a Senior Sub-Divisional Engineer with BSNL, Kozhikode, and his daughter, Indu Chanchal Polpaya is pursuing PhD at IIT, Chennai....