Netizens be vigilant, hackers are on the hunt.
At least a dozen residents of Ranchi have reported unauthorised accessing of their email accounts from across the globe in the past week, putting the state’s virtual world watchdog on extra alert.
The Cyber Defence Research Centre (CDRC) of Jharkhand Police has started preparing elaborate security guidelines for both mail accounts and social networking profiles. Chief technical officer of CDRC said the ready reckoner would soon be posted on their official website.
Some of the victims told The Telegraph that they learnt that their accounts had been hacked after friends reported receiving smut messages or spam from them. Others, who have their mobile phones synchronised to their emails, received unauthorised access alerts.
“Six days ago, around 7.30 in the morning, I got a message on my phone saying there was suspected unauthorised entry into my Gmail. I tried to log in to my account, but the password would not work. Later, I realised that my email had been hacked,” said Sourav Roy, a corporate executive.
Roy claimed his efforts to retrieve his account did not succeed till 1.30pm that day and the hackers might have used his mail all that time. “A link was sent to different accounts from my mail box. Around seven of my friends told me that when they clicked on the link, their accounts too got hacked,” he said.
The victim suspects that pornographic links were also sent from his email ID. “In the afternoon, when I managed to retrieve my account, I learnt that the hacking had taken place from somewhere in Venezuela,” he added.
Besides Roy and his friends, a few other residents reported their mail terror five days ago.
“One weekend afternoon, I tried opening my email, but the password that I use did not work. I suspected that my Gmail had been hacked and engaged in retrieving my account. I clicked on the change password link, but even a new key failed to register initially. After half an hour of struggle, I succeeded in changing my password,” recalled Mukesh Kumar, a resident of Morabadi.
Like Roy, links were also sent out from Kumar’s mailbox. Whoever clicked on those links faced similar ordeal. “On the same day, three friends said their Gmail accounts had been hacked,” Kumar said, adding that he later discovered that the unauthorised access had taken place from Mumbai.
Experts at CDRC admitted that hacking had no geographical boundary and unscrupulous people from anywhere in the world could access virtual accounts.
“We are receiving four to five complaints of email and Facebook accounts being hacked across the state, including Ranchi, every day,” said Vinit Kumar.
So, how can email and networking site users safeguard their accounts?
“There are some cyber defence thumb rules. Do not download attachments from people you don’t know or don’t trust. Beware of unnatural posts from even friends. Use a strong password. And, finally, keep changing the same at regular intervals,” said the cyber cell chief.
He added that netizens could keep an eye for more security guidelines and updates at www.cdrc.jhpolice.gov.in.
Has any of your account, other than Gmail, been hacked?