NEW DELHI: “Legion shall prevail, justice shall strike!” and “Coming… to shred you…” sort of ominous tweets were pinned on @INCIndia, the Indian National Congress’ official twitter handle, just a day after Rahul Gandhi, the party vice president’s account was hacked with a slew of racist and homophobic obscenities.
According to INC’s official twitter-handler-at-large, the hackers first cracked Rahul’s email ID and through it accessed his twitter handle and the party’s thereafter. If profanities were piled on
Rahul’s handle, the hacker(s) lobbed threats at the INC. The Congress which has its server in Bengaluru lodged a complaint with Delhi Police cyber cell, which registered an FIR on Thursday. But the party leaders who feared their @INC accounts have been compromised, lamented not much action was initiated in the last 24 hours. Union IT/Tech Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad did assure the upset Congress party, Ahmed Patel to be precise, that the matter would be duly probed and told the media that the “government disapproves of hacking”. Not that it needed stating.
Prasad’s assurance came after Rahul pointedly told ANI that the incident of hacking raised “a huge question mark on digital security”. As one of the positives of the demonetisation move, a push
towards digitisation of the economy, has been cited by the government.
By linking the hacking of his twitter handle to the larger questions of digital security, Rahul was obviously trying to draw attention to the pitfalls ahead, of shifting all financial transactions online where the possibility of hacking of accounts looms large. The crux of the abusive tweets, removed from the Congress handle was: “Coming up is a full dump of inc.in congress emails, stay tuned for Christmas special. We have enough info to drop your party down to shreds.” After the @INC handle was restored, within 30 minutes, the first official tweet was rather loaded:
“Hello everyone! We are back. The tweets in the morning lacked wit, evidently. Anyway, Mr Modi, back to people’s questions, care to answer?” To the old and new social media, Congress media chief Randeep Singh Surjewala said the act of hacking was “unscrupulous, unethical and roguish” and blamed Internet trolls and the prevalent “fascist culture”.
Rahul’s twitter handle was hacked around 8.45 pm on Wednesday. After a struggle of a few hours, his official social media team restored his account, which changed from Rahul Gandhi to ‘retard’.
A new truce tweet surfaced on Thursday morning on Rahul’s account: “To every one of you haters out there. I love you all. You are beautiful. Your hatred just does not let you see it yet.’’
Though there was no confirmation, this was deemed to be a personal tweet from Rahul to the hackers. But the latter proved to be not just obscene but obstinate as well — they went ahead and hacked his party’s handle right away, almost as a reply to the seemingly Gandhian message.
Surjewala added, the hacker of both the accounts could have used a “potential backdoor (malware) present on the computer system on which both the accounts might have been simultaneously accessed or it could be a long persistent and targeted attack — called, spear phishing”.
Reiterating Lucideus CEO Saket Modi’s views, the Congress leader feared that either way “there could be more data in the hands of hackers than just account access that might be released in due course of time”.
Along with Rahul and INC’s accounts, Congress chief social communication handler Rachit Seth’s twitter handle too was hacked.