Girls, celebs easy targets for hackers

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Hyderabad: Snehalatha was intrigued when she started getting strange glances and meaningful smiles from some  of her male colleagues after seven months of working in a nationalised bank. She was clueless about what was going on  until one of her close friends alerted her that she had received a vulgar message from Snehalatha’s email id. The following weeks were depressing. When she had recovered from the embarrassment, she explained to her  colleagues that the mails were not sent by her.
Youngsters, especially single girls, are being targeted by hackers. Their accounts  are being used to send out vulgar messages, putting the girls in an embarrassing situation. Many clear the air by sending SOS messages to their friends and acquaintances after discovering that messages, or even morphed photographs, have been sent to all their contacts.Not only youngsters, famous personalities including politicians and  actors too have been victims of mischief-makers and hackers. Actor Mahesh Babu too was a target of such mischief recently.
Victims go through immense emotional trauma and often end up become chronically depressed. “I am a very shy person. When my colleagues started acting strange, I withdrew further into a shell. When I discovered the truth, I cried a lot. Friends consoled me and asked me tell everybody the truth. However, it took me nearly two months to clear the air and get things back to normal during which time I had  to consult a psychologist as well,” recalls Snehalatha.
Recently, it was the turn of politico, D.A. Somayajulu to receive  200 to 300 calls after friends and acquaintances received an email from his account asking for monetary help. “On Friday afternoon, I received calls from my close associates who had received an SOS message from my email id saying that I was in London and needed monetary help of $2,500. I immediately changed my password from my smartphone, but by the time I could do that, my contacts and mails from my inbox had vanished,” said Somayajulu, the member of Political Affairs Committee of YSR Congress.
The politico is yet to lodge a formal complaint but after alerting the Cyberabad police and yahoo.com about the hacking, most of his mails could be restored.
After a similar experience some days back, actor Mahesh Babu tweeted, “Just got calls 2 know someone walked in2 my account..sorry guys. It's not me .. done the usual, changed d password...goodnight.” In case of celebrities, people know that it’s a case of hacking, but others are not so lucky.   
Hacking,  phishing are huge businesses abroad
The Gachibowli Cyber Crime police station received a complaint on Friday from a female cashier of a reputed college in the city. She claimed that  she received her personal photos morphed into pornographic ones and sent back to her email id.
The woman had some of her personal photos on her email. The police suspects the hackers to be operating due to some enmity. The hackers have been traced down to Osmania University.
“Such cases of females being targeted after hacking their email ids are coming to us every day. While on one hand, hackers are out to harass people and get even with their assumed enemies, on the other  hand hacking and phishing are also  huge businesses,” said Cyberabad additional DCP (Central Crime Station), Janaki Sharmial.
Most phishing originates from Nigeria and hacking is mostly from Russia as per cyber police. Many of these hackers and people who do phishing for monetary benefit, open their accounts in a particular ‘liberty reserve website’ and store all the hacked details and use it to make monetary transactions in their own countries.
“Most hacked details of credit cards and bank account numbers of Indians are used for purchases made in other countries and online purchases by these hackers. The information regarding email ids and phone numbers is also learnt to be sold to marketing companies,” added the official.
The police, meanwhile, has only the IP address of any such offender, be its operating on a personal vendetta or for financial gains, as a source of tracking them down.Within the country, neighbouring Bengaluru is also increasingly becoming a hotbed of hackers, after Mumbai and Delhi, as per the cops.

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