The Realities of Cybersecurity with Advocate Dr Swapnil Bangali

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As we begin 2022, we have seen our devices advance over time; making themselves highly important in our lives, but we also must question: How safe our devices are? Has your account ever been hacked? Have you ever received a misleading email? And most importantly, how safe is your information on the Internet?

There are two types of people, according to Advocate Dr. Swapnil Bangali. First, those who have been victims of cybercrime; and second, those who are unaware that they have been victims of cybercrime. Adv. Dr. Bangali joined us for a session in cybersecurity on Monday, December 13, 2021. The honorary director of the Centre of Information and Communication Technology and Law (Mumbai), he is also the founding partner of SSquare Legal (Pune and Vadodara) and has more than 15 years of teaching experience. Adv. Dr. Bangali has also been an associate professor at many institutes including his alma mater, Symbiosis Law School (Pune), where he completed his LLB, LLM and his doctorate in Information Technology. He has also completed the Winter School Certificate Programme from the Gujarat National Law University in Cybersecurity and Cyber Law. He trains students and has started a multilingual portal, owing to his love for literature and works on various civil cases.

Adv. Dr. Bangali feels that there is a difference between understanding technology, its usage, and its regulation. To improve cyber security, better regulation is needed. He added that India is likely to break the record of ‘most smartphones in use’ in a couple of years. While everyone is using these, only a few know the proper way to do it – while protecting one’s information. Adv. Dr. Bangali also talked about how we tend to put out every little detail of our lives online. Our cyber safety is our responsibility, and this tendency can prove harmful. To ensure a basic minimum level of cyber security, one must set a strong password, secure private information, and verify information presented as facts.

Adv. Dr. Bangali has also worked for governmental associations associated with cybersecurity. He talked about how problems like hacking get solved in a governmental setting and the measures that are taken against it. He also gave an insight into the IT Act of India which deals with cybercrime, and explained its provisions; adding how it is perfectly adequate and does not miss out on any aspect. The only issues, according to Adv. Dr. Bangali, are its regulation and public awareness around these laws.

Explaining how dangerous cybercrime can be, Adv. Dr. Bangali also gave the students many real examples of cybercrime, discussed controversies and measures to prevent it. According to him, a person’s information is very easy to find and sell online, so is morphing one’s image and hacking into one’s account. It is not impossible, and only depends on how one protects themselves. With the lockdown in place, many schools, colleges, offices, and other organisations had to move online; which has only helped leverage cybercrime and discussions on cybersecurity. In the new digital age, there are no longer just two entities conversing, but a third one always exists, listening in to everything, be it a service provider or a social media app like Instagram. We are constantly being watched, and it has become increasingly difficult to maintain privacy.

In answer to a student’s question, Adv. Dr. Bangali also advised how we, as common people, need to worry about putting up our pictures and information online. In all, the lecture was a profoundly insightful session for the students on the realities and growing concerns of cybersecurity and how important it is for one to protect themselves from crime online.

Janhavi Deshmukh

(Batch 2024)

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