Reports

Fraudster Poses as Goa’s CM Pramod Sawant, Demands money via UPI

Old Facebook account of Pramod Sawant Chief Minister of Goa was hacked following which a police complaint has been filed. The hackers targeted a man named Pramesh Asolkar on social media demanding Rs30,000 to be sent immediately to him saying that the money will be returned back to you in 30mins via UPI (unified payments interference) and he is still startled about the incident and the hacking of a Chief Ministers account.

Pramesh Asolkar told the media that he received a friend request at around 9:30 p.m from Pramod Sawant, profile contained an image of the CM and a lotus which is BJP’s symbol. Pramesh Asolkar was certain that the profile was genuine until he received the message demanding money. Following the incident, CM of Goa Pramod Sawant confirmed to the media that it was his old Facebook account that was hacked and that a complaint has been filed. Another incident came to light where some people also impersonated the Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar on social media, they went on ask for money from public.

Police report:

Police concluded by saying that there have been new trends emerging in cybercrime where notorious people hack in to someone’s account or even take the liberty to create a fake account on someone’s name further talking to their friends in a manner where they gain the trust and then demand for money stating an urgency and promising to return the money back.

Police said that these are the new trends in cybercrime — create a fake account, and send a friend request.
A senior officer said that these fake IDs will then chat with their “friends” for some time and once they gain their confidence they start demanding money stating urgency, these accounts are immediately deleted and the investigation goes on.

There was a streak of hacking targeting ministers from the BJP including PM Modi:

  • In October deputy Chief Minister of Goa Chandrakant Kavlekar had filed a complaint to cybercrime stating his cell phone was hacked and obscene content was posted on social media from his account. This video which was posted on social media was sent to Chandrakant Kavlekar via some goons in a WhatsApp group called Villages of Goa.

 

  • PM Modi’s twitter account hacked: On 3rd September 2020 twitter account linked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal website narendramodi.in was hacked early in the morning by a man named John Wick. The hackers posted a streak of tweets demanding for donations in cryptocurrency. Twitter had acknowledged of being aware about the dubious activity and said that they have taken steps to restore the security of PM Modi’s account. Twitter gave a clean chit to themselves saying they found no correlation of any compromise from twitter.

 

  • On 7th July PM Modi reshuffled his Cabinet for the first time in 7 years. 43 MP’s took oath including Jyotiraditya Scindia who took oath as the Union Civil Aviation Minister, soon after empowering the position his Facebook account was hacked and a post was put up where he was criticizing the BJP on their policies. Gwalior police registered a case under the IT act and investigated the matter

 

  • On 18th July, Asaduddin Owaisis party’s official twitter handle AIMIM also got hacked. Their party’s picture was removed and replaced with Elon Musk’s image and the hacker went on to post certain tweets about cryptocurrency.

  • In July 2020 twitter had revealed that about 130 accounts of celebrities were under target in a major cyberattack however only a small amount of accounts successfully ambushed on. Twitter said that they were looking into it as the direct messages might have been compromised too

Twitter had almost become the hub for hackers. Other influential people were also targeted such as Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Kanye West, Jeff Bezos & Apple. Reports state that it was known to several people that hackers received a huge amount of money worth more than $100,000, cryptocurrencies being hard to trace, the account was emptied immediately by the criminals and is being investigated by FBI. The scam could have gotten even worse then what it was. Cybercriminals scammed around thousands of people on social media by hacking accounts of these celebrity handles promising fans to double their money and demanded to pay in cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Reports further revealed that the hackers had access to at least 350 million users.

What does this mean for us?

Several attacks and hacking on twitter has by witnessed by the common people as well, unfortunately twitter does not act fast for people who don’t have blue ticks. The celebrities and the prominent ones, accounts if hacked are restored and looked into immediately and this definitely is something to ponder upon. Is twitter even safe anymore? The fact that most recognized personalities are on twitter for example PM Modi and their accounts are not even safe from breach then how can we feel secure? The fact that so many people went under an attack makes it obvious it was a planned attack. The cyber attackers were quick to hack and tweets knowing tweets would be taken down in no time since they hacked prominent personalities whose accounts are always under watch by their fans. Twitter claimed to have removed the tweets immediately however it failed to take control as tweets were posted again.

Jack further went on to tweet stating how difficult it had been for twitter and the whole team.

The most astonishing part is that the hackers managed to breach administration privileges through which they could easily crack the passwords of anyone’s twitter handle, one could only assume if someone within the twitter helped cybercriminals to get through the system. According to reports the hacking of Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Elon Musk could hold information that can be sold on dark web for a lot money, accessing the direct messages of the President Joe Biden can lead to a political disaster.

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While speaking to BBC, former chief security of facebook Alex Stamos said that consumer companies have to start adhering to a better process where they extend help to the consumers to recover hacked accounts.

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