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In a unique cyber-crime love story, a hacker barged into the Mumbai police data system

A hundred times Mumbai police websites were down, many government websites were hacked and data was compromised.

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Life is all about doing something for the people we love and here no one knows when and how they cross boundaries. Most of us would agree that our relationships are the most important thing. That a layoff or lost opportunity can be tolerated so long as the people we love are healthy and safe. And yet it’s all too easy to lose sight of the big picture when we’re knee-deep in the struggles of our daily lives. It’s easy to deprioritize the little things that keep relationships strong when we’re worried about our debt and our deadlines. It’s human nature—our negativity bias: we’re more sensitive to what’s going wrong than what’s going right. It’s how we’re wired, a means to keep ourselves safe. When one is in love then life is about more than just being safe. Today I am going to tell you a love story that led a man to breach cyber security.

A 27-year-old UP-based civil engineer Babu Shah’s wife works in Mumbai. She has seen this busy and never-ending fast life here. She is ambitious and wants to go abroad for better opportunities. She found one such opening. She applied for a passport; there were no discrepancies in her passport form and the documents. But the application was halted by authorities after the initial application due to some official reasons. We all know how lethargic our system is. It takes time in each government domain.

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The wife was not happy about the delay; she cribbed about it to her husband. When one is in love that too if she is his beloved wife, I know a man can try to pluck stars from the sky. His woman’s happiness is what matters the most. Babu decided to impress his wife by fulfilling her dream of getting a job abroad. To achieve his motive, he hacked the Mumbai Police data system. How he hacked will not be appropriate to explain here. But being a skilled techie, he managed to do so. This is not the first time that someone barged into the Mumbai police data system or website. There were several attacks reported earlier too.

There were Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the state. Millions of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that were infected with a kind of virus known as a Trojan are being used in the attack, since 2016 there were hundreds of such cases registered by Mumbai police. The official website of the Thane City Police was hacked and restored, the hackers claimed to be supporters of an Islamic group. Following the hacking, a message popped up on the website, allegedly from the hackers in which they demanded an immediate apology to “Muslims all over the world”. But no hacker was traced or arrested.

A hundred times Mumbai police websites were down, many government websites were hacked and data was compromised. Mumbai police are not well versed or updated with cyber security measures and hacking techniques. Perhaps this is the reason that the detection rate of cybercrime is very marginal. With the latest infrastructure and cyber forensics, security agencies and cops are successfully reaching their targets.

Well! Let us come back to Babu, to ensure that his wife’s passport application got a smooth approval, he hacked the Mumbai Police system and approved her form along with that of three other applicants to avoid any suspicion.  By approving those forms which were under scrutiny, Babu left a clue for cops about this hack. Police got alert and during the probe, it was found that the accused used a system with Noida’s IP address to hack the police system.

His wife, who was an applicant whose passport forms were cleared, was a resident of Chembur, Tilak Nagar and Antop Hill in Mumbai. The Mumbai Police Crime Branch arrested Babu Shah from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. An investigation is underway to find out how the techie managed to hack the system. The case has been handed over to the Southern Region Cyber Police Station.

Well, as we call it a blessing in disguise Babu has exposed Mumbai police to cyber security skills. He successfully accessed the data and made changes, imagine if some neighbouring country hackers got into the system through this vulnerability and damaged the system and data both. There is a possible threat to the Mumbai police’s data system when it comes to passport approval.

I won’t refute the fact that Babu has committed a crime, but I also look at it as time exposure. If this wouldn’t have happened, the police could never understand the glitch.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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