2ndlook

Indian ‘Hacker’ Shakes Crimeworld

Posted in Current Affairs, Media, Uncategorized by Anuraag Sanghi on August 27, 2008

The Incident

“A Sunday Herald investigation has discovered that late on Thursday night, a previously unknown Indian hacker successfully breached the IT defences of the Best Western Hotel group’s online booking system and sold details of how to access it through an underground network operated by the Russian mafia.” reported The Sunday Herald from Scotland.

The ‘venerable’ Scottish newspaper, went on to quote a security expert, Jacques Erasmus, an ex-hacker who now works for the computer security firm Prevx. Erasmus declared, “The Russian gangs who specialise in this kind of work will have been exploiting the information from the moment it became available late on Thursday night. In the wrong hands, there’s enough data there to spark a major European crime wave.”

The Sunday Herald had no hesitation in saying that the “nature of internet crime makes it extremely difficult to track the precise details of the raid, the Sunday Herald understands that a hacker from India – new to the world of cyber-crime – succeeded in bypassing the system’s security software.”

Indian Media

India’s premier business newspaper The Economic Times featured this story prominently in their print edition. The Times of India, which says it the largest English newspaper, dutifully carried this IANS report. The challenger to Times Of India, DNA also carried this report. Looking at these reports just a little deeper, and the source of all these reports is a IANS (India Abroad News Service) report.

Indian bloggers went to town with this story. Piyush Sood wrote about this story. As did, Battakiran.

Foreign Media

Washington Post had nothing to say on this. Similarly, a search on New York Times site turned up empty. All quiet on the The Wall Street Journal site. A search using Google.com turned up many Indian newspapers with this news report.

Hot Hardware site did question this report with some balance. Another blogger, Limau Orange, was another who questioned this report.

The Rebuttal

David Clarke, CEO, of Best Western whose data was purportedly stolen, immediately, responded, “After a detailed investigation we can confirm that on 21st August a single hotel in Germany was compromised by a virus. The compromise permitted access to reservations data for that property only. This has affected only ten customers who we are currently being contacted to offer our assistance, none of these were GB customers. There is no evidence of any unauthorized access to any other customer data.”

Unanswered Questions

Not one Indian newspaper, published (later or then) any questions or rebuttal of this pathetic story. What got me wondering was the motivation of this story? How did this story land up in IANS agency? Where did the ‘original’ writer, Mons. Iain S Bruce, get to know that an Indian was behind this ‘heist.’ Who was behind this ‘leak’ to Bro.Iain S Bruce? What are the ‘sources’ of Shri Iain S Bruce?

I am waiting.

In the meantime, I believe that this was a dry run – of some some stupid theory! Which got proved. Shame on you, Indian media.

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