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back to article Indian politico's webmail hacked to punt lost-wallet scam

Fraudsters hacked into the webmail account of an Indian politician in a bid to sponge money from his contacts. Senior Congress politico Mani Shankar Aiyar's Hotmail account was broken into on Wednesday in order to send messages claiming he'd lost his wallet and was in urgent need of cash to settle a $3,500 hotel bill in England …

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Coat

So

Did anyone do the needful?

/the leather one, thanks

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@ who probably took advantage of weak passwords

No. He fell for a phishing attempt, and logged onto a fake site, after being told his account would be closed if he didn't.

It's a common scam.

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Stop

crap

Classic case of Indians not being very secure. Pretty much the same as using them as outsourced staff... nuf said!

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Joke

Hold on one second here!!

Surely the password was damn secure. I mean if they typed in the accent that I hear on the phone atleast once a day no one can figure it out anyway.

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Pirate

@ AC and James

Do, people in UK and US etc, hate outsourcing because the quality of the support that they get is really bad. Or are they just pissed that, they are losing jobs to equally incompetent people, who do the dumb jobs for a fraction of the cost?

Will, say a call centre employee in London, actually use his/her brains to solve the issue and not deviate from the script ?

Will consumers in the west be willing to pay a higher price for products, which have a label saying "no outsourcing" ?

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Anonymous Coward

same thing happened to my Father-in-Law

My 75-year old father-in-law naively responded to a phishing email purporting to be from Hotmail Customer Care requesting his account information in order to avoid having his a/c closed down as inactive.

The scammers then locked him out of the a/c and proceeded to send begging letters to his contact list at the maximum limited rate of 50 per 24 hours.

I saw the IP address of the begging letters was registered in Nigeria. After some difficulty, I was able to track down Windows Live Help who asked 16 questions in order to determine the rightful "owner" of the email address including, crucially, the IP addresses of the locations my f-i-l had accessed his Hotmail account in the past.

At the same time I contacted the scammers to arrange a money transfer and was given instructions for to make a Western Union transfer to a WU office Hounslow, London, ironically 5 minutes walk from Hounslow's main police station. An email to the police station prompted no reply.

Kudos to Windows Live Help; they sent a password reset instruction and we were able to lock out the scammers and retake control of the email account.

A similar hijack occurred to Jack Straw MP.

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Silver badge

@@AC and James

I recently listened to some radio doco about poor out of work GM workers. The one bloke was a line worker earning over $100k per year. On the global market he's only worth $20k or less per year, so why should he be paid 5x the going rate just because he lives in USA and produces crap cars with union protection?

Is that what you want the anti-outsourcers want the IT industry to look like?

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@ Anonymous John

I agree with you that the suggestion in the Reg article that "weak passwords" were the likely source of attack is actually much less likely than that Aiyar was phished. However, I disagree on the likely phishing method...

According to the linked Times of India article, it was Aiyar's personal Hotmail account at the heart of this story. Hotmail users are currently extremely heavily (if not almost exclusively) phished in the manner described in one of the Anonymous Coward comments about the father-in-law. That is, by Emails that purport to be from Hotmail admin staff and that ask their potential victims to reply to the Email with their username and password (and occasionally with other PI info), on threat that refusal will result in the account being cancelled.

Aside from being a security professional who sees this stuff every day, I've received very similar scam Emails from a friend-of-a-friend's Hotmail address which got phished just this way.

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Correction to my previous comment

I said that the "Times of India" article said it was Aiyar's personal Hotmail account that was "hacked". I meant the "Indian Express" article...

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Re:crap by AC 13th June 2009 09:13 GMT

And how is this different than Sarah Palin or Jack Straw having their accounts compromised? Wouldn't that mean that Americans and British people are also not very secure?

I would think that this makes a point about the kind of people we get as politicians all over the world.

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Unhappy

Person genuinly in need

of a few quid. I sent lots of money to a rich lady in Africa whose husband has just died. To make matters worse the unfortunate lady has breast cancer and can't return home because some dodgy African bank had stopped access to her husbands account which has $15,000,000.00 in it. She never sent me a thank you letter :(

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