Pune: Hackers Target Women through WhatsApp, Pune Police Issue Advisory

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Pune, April 12, 2020: Since the lockdown began on March 24, Pune Police has received five complaints of WhatsApp hacking from women. Now Cyber Cell of Pune Police has issued advisory and asked people not to share personal information or respond to suspicious links on WhatsApp or social media.

DCP (cyber cell) Sambhaji Kadam said, “Five women – students, homemakers and IT professionals – have lodged complaint related to WhatsApp hacking. The Cyber criminals hacked their WhatsApp accounts and started blackmailing them. We are further investigating the case.”

Police said that since internet and social media use has increased significantly due to the lockdown, cyber criminals are taking advantage of this situation to hack WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram. They are using many techniques to hack social media accounts including WhatsApp. They operate mostly night, when the targeted persons are asleep, or in the afternoon, when people prefer to take rest.

According to police, the hackers download the business version of WhatsApp on their cell phones. They create “activation link”  and put WhatsApp mobile phone numbers they want to hack. Hackers then send this activation link to the WhatsApp number of the targeted person and seek a “One Time Password (OTP)” from them.

After the targeted people share the OTP, the hackers get access to their WhatsApp accounts. Then hackers send similar  links to other WhatsApp numbers in the contact list of the targeted people. Like this, they try to hack more accounts. After hacking, the cyber fraudsters then blackmail the targeted people for extortion and other  purposes.

Pune Police has appealed to all people to avoid sharing OTP or any other personal information to links sent by unknown numbers. The cyber fraudsters are also running a scam in which they are seeking personal information of people, including bank account details, claiming it is being collected as part of a survey by the municipal corporation. The police have asked residents not to share any such personal information on WhatsApp or social media.