NEW DELHI: Air India’s Twitter account was hacked on Thursday morning and several messages were posted from it, including one announcing “cancellation of all Air India flights.”
The hacker of the official handle of the national carrier is suspected to have a Turkish connection as the account went on to promote Turkish airlines. “Last minute important announcement: All our flights have been cancelled. From now on, we will fly with Turkish Airline,” the tweet read.
A series of tweets in Turkish language were also posted from the account and the handle retweeted the handle @AyyıldızTim multiple times. The national carrier’s Twitter handle was also changed from @airindiain to @airindiaTR for some time, before it was restored.
The cyber attack led to Air India losing its verification on Twitter for a while. However, soon after the attack the Turkish tweets were deleted, the handle’s name was changed to @airindiain and the verification mark was back.
The airline issued a statement, saying the hackers had “malafide intention” to “mislead passengers.”
An Air India spokesperson said that the airline has ordered an investigation.
“Air India immediately swung into action and took up the matter with the twitter authorities. All malicious content was removed on a war-footing. All AI flights are operating as per schedule. Passengers are requested to ignore any misleading and mischievous communication on our operations,” read Air India’s statement.
Last month, Twitter accounts of Puducherry Lieutenant-Governor Kiran Bedi, Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta, actor Anupam Kher and BJP general secretary Ram Madhav were hacked, reportedly by a Turkish group.
On 6 February, Twitter responded to the hacking by saying, “Our teams are working to resolve an issue affecting a small number of Indian users. We will notify affected account holders directly.”
In January, the Twitter account of India’s permanent representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin was also briefly hacked and last year, the website of the National Security Guard, the Indian Special Forces unit combating terror activities, was also compromised.