Over the past two weeks, a hacker group that identifies itself as ‘Legion’ has hacked twitter accounts of high profile Indians like Rahul Gandhi, Vijay Mallya, Ravish Kumar and Barkha Dutt, threatening to expose more private data in the coming weeks. Unsurprisingly, the hacker group is giving many in India sleepless nights.
10 things to know about the group:
1. Legion is a coalition of like-minded hackers based out of five countries – the United States, Canada, Thailand, Sweden and Romania, according to Delhi Police’s cyber crime cell. A member of the group based out of India claim their numbers to be in the ‘higher single digits’.
2. The group communicates through email servers and browsers that are shielded against surveillance. In other words, they don’t use Google Chrome or Internet Explorer, but a browser called The Onion Router (TOR). This is also called the dark web.
3. Legion claims to be in possession of several terabytes of raw data concerning ‘various interests’. The hackers have within that group identified gigabytes worth of information, related to Indian public figures.
4. They do not seem to have any connection with the group Legion of Doom (LoD) that targeted rich and famous people’s email accounts in the 1980s.
5. In an interview with the Washington Post, one of the members of the group from India said the group wasn’t even interested in ‘political’ data. He told WP that the data they had was choosing targets for them, and not the other way round.
6. The group claims to have access to more than 40 thousand Indian servers.
7. It also claims to have access to the server of India’s biggest private hospital chain Apollo. The group has claimed they are uncertain about releasing data from its servers as the move could result in ’chaos’.
8. One of the obvious motives of the group to spill private information is contempt for their targets. So while in Rahul Gandhi’s case, the group continuously mocked his intelligence, after hacking Vijay Mallya’s account, the group made constant references to his alleged criminality.
9. Tweeting Saturday night from one of the twitter accounts it hacked, the group has warned that former IPL Chief Lalit Modi will be its next target.
10. They have also threatened to release an email dump of an entire e-mail provider with over 50,000 corporate clients in India.
Hacking attacks in the Indian cyber zone are on a rise, and because of Legion’s antics, we are glad that at least a conversation has been initiated around India’s cyber-security. Questions are also being raised about online security especially given the Prime Minister’s push for ‘cashless India’ and reliance on digital channels for work. Let’s hope the government comes out with a plan to address this issue.