In a first of its kind in the country, Maharashtra will now be equipped with mobile cyber forensic vehicles that will gather cyber-related evidence from the spot in cases of cyber crimes. The first batch of these vans is expected to be available by the end of this year. To begin with, the vans — which are part of the government’s Rs 800-crore cyber security project for the state — will be used for smaller towns or rural belts that do not have well-equipped cyber labs.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Each vehicle, expected to cost between Rs 20-50 lakh, will be equipped with equipment meant for data acquisition and analysis. “It will be as good as a physical cyber forensic lab. In most cases of cyber crimes, by the time computers are examined, it is often too late to follow many of the leads that are produced. These vans are expected to resolve the issue of unnecessary delays,” said a senior government officer.Also, in most cases, computer forensic examiners do not understand the investigations adequately enough, causing them to overlook relevant information and expend resources needlessly. The new vans will have policemen trained as computer forensic examiners for more efficient collection of data.Sources claim that as of now, a police men who is usually not a trained computer examiner seizes computers, digital media and electronic devices encountered during a search. Customarily, examinations are conducted later, in cyber labs, after the material is packaged and transported there. There are many anecdotes of investigators being forced to wait for years to see examination results. Plus, an examination sometimes produces more questions than answers for those conducting the investigation.This, however, is not the first attempt to improve cyber investigation in the state. Sources claimed a single van was acquired last year for the Gadchiroli region as a pilot project, but that failed to meet expectations due to its poor quality.”It was a makeshift arrangement, wherein the van and the equipment were bought separately and then fixed locally here to make the end product a low-cost one. However, this time, we are looking forward to buying highly-advanced vans designed only to be used as cyber vans,” the officer added.The cyber crime project is one of the most ambitious projects that the BJP-led government launched in 2015. The proposed project is expected to comprise three parts — cyber labs, a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and a training centre. Once the plan is ready, the department aims to train at least 1,000 police personnel to crack cyber crime cases. The project is being studied by consultant company PwC.
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