Netizens in the city became victims of fake distress mails sent from their own Email IDs

Imagine this scene – you’ve just received an email from a friend of yours who’s visiting abroad. He’s lost his passport, his mobile phone and his wallet ( including his credit cards, traveler’s cheques, hard cash).

There’s no way to reach him except for his email id and you need to wire-transfer him a stipulated amount of money or he’s going to be in trouble – what do your do ? In case, you decide to transfer him that money, you just fell for the latest form of illicit money making online.

Aurna R ( name changed ), a media professional in Chennai and a victim of this prank says, “I received an email that was purportedly sent from the hotmail tech support team which asked my username and password to be sent for security reasons. I found that my Hotmail ID was hacked when my relatives from London and Singapore began calling me up asking if I was okay. I have posted my complaint on their website”.

Lekha Rathnakumar, a Chennai based ad filmmaker who was also at the receiving end of this e-crime says, “My hotmail account was recently hacked into and everyone on my contact list got a mail stating I was stranded in London and was in immediate need of financial assistance. I wasn’t even able to log into my account as the hacker hanged my password”.

When asked about how one could protet themselves against such security breaches, Dr.M Sudhakar assistant commissioner, cyber crime cell, Chennai City police says ” Users should ignore mails from a friend or relative asking for financial assistance. Those who need help will call. Also disregard emails sent with the name of your service provider asking you to your username and password. Use different passwords for different IDs”.

ML Srinivasn, the chairman and CEO of Chennainet, a Chennai based company dealing with Internet security, says, “The modus operandi of the hacker in many the ‘forgot password’ option that every email account offers. Make sure your password is a combination of numerals, alphabets and special characters.”

Even celebrities are targetted:

US republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s email was hacked into using the ‘Forgot password’ option. The hacker found answers (on wikipedia ) to two secret questions in less than 15 seconds. The third ‘secret’ question where she met her husband, took time 😉


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