The story resembles a plot straight out from a High School drama movie: A nerd does something which he considers great; but the world fails to acknowledge this accomplishments. Angry, hurt and sentimental, that nerd decides to destroy this world.
But unfortunately, in this case, a Netherlands based hacker’s grudge proved a bit costly, as highly confidential data of NRIs residing across 7 countries are compromised and exposed on the Internet.
This once again proves how vulnerable and unsafe our Government’s web properties are; and how easily any Tom, Dick or Harry can play with them.
The Story of a Hacker’s Grudge Against India
Netherlands based hackers Kapustkiy & Kasimierz L discovered some SQL vulnerabilities on websites of Indian embassies from several countries. He reported them to the concerned authorities, but no response came back.
In anger, he hacked websites of Indian embassies of South Africa, Libya, Italy, Switzerland, Malawi, Mali, Romania; and placed their data on Pastebin. This included login credentials of the website and high confidential data of hundreds of NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) staying in these countries.
The news was first reported by EHacking News; and when they contacted the hacker, he said, “I am from Netherlands. I’ve found several SQL on their website and I reported it.But they ignored me so I dumped there db..”
The hacked content was published here, but it seems the data has been removed now.
Here are some screenshots
Details Of Data Which Were Hacked
As per the available reports, the hacker dumped the following data from various embassies:
– Embassy of South Africa was the first to get hacked. Details such as name, passport number, email-id and their phone numbers of around 160 odd NRIs were exposed. The published data had 161 entries, and the database contains 22 tables, along with login id and passwords of the website and the database.
– Embassy of Switzerland was the next to be attacked, as details of 35 NRIs were compromised and hacked. The published data included 3 databases with 19 tables with total 35 entries. Details such as name, last name, email id, address of several students were also placed out there in the open, along with college names and courses enrolled. No data of Swiss bank accounts were shared.
– Italy Embassy’s website was the third to get attacked, as details of 149 students from India was shared on the Internet. The details contained information such as name, email-id, telephone numbers, and their passport numbers.
– Details of 305 NRIs residing in Libya was next to be targeted, as information pertaining to their passport numbers, date of birth, city of origin etc were exposed.
– Website of Malawi Embassy was hacked to expose details of 74 NRIs
– High Commission of Mali was least exposed, as details of only 16 NRIs were compromised.
– Website of High Commission of Romania was the last to get hacked, as details of 139 NRIs were stolen and the database dumped on Paste Bin with 42 entries of each of these citizens.
Later on, the hackers who called themselves ‘Grey Hat’ contacted Hindustan Times, and said that the hack was done to show how easily Indian Embassy’s websites can be hacked.
One of the hackers said, “All the actions we made were to force the administrators of the site to get better protection on their websites. It’s very odd that multiple websites of embassies can be exploited with an SQL injection..”
The hack was pretty basic SQL injection technique, which is usually accomplished by filling out contact us forms, email or even entering via direct code. Once the malware enters the database, the hacker can steal all its content via FTP, and compromise any information which is present there.
External affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup responded, as he said, “We are aware of the issue and we are fixing it.”