Having published his Aadhaar number online and challenging hackers to try and “harm him”, TRAI chairman RS Sharma opened himself up to attack in more ways than one.
Things took a grave turn on July 30, when Sharma’s daughter, Kavita Sharma, was threatened via email. The sender warned her that her father’s email accounts had been compromised and that his Punjab National bank account “is under imminent threat of being hacked”. The email was also marked to a few journalists, including two from The Wire.
“By posting a challenge on social media, RS Sharma has turned out to be an embarrassment to the nation and put a bounty on his accounts for hackers,” reads the email. It also said that “his PNB account is under imminent threat”.
It further warns Kavita that all “sensitive files would be released if he does not delete his accounts immediately”.
The email warns Sharma’s daughter that if the instructions are not complied with, “a remote malware would be installed in his private cellphone and all his communications would be intercepted and archived. His emails would be encrypted and unless a ransom is paid, it would remain out of reach and released to the media”.
The mail also warned Kavita of responding to their message within 24 hours or “consequences would be regretful”.
The mail further warns Kavita, saying “any tip off to law enforcement agencies, would be detrimental”.
By Sunday, ethical hackers pointed out to Sharma that they had managed to leak 14 personal details of the TRAI chairman so far, including his mobile number, PAN number, residential address, date of birth and even his current WhatsApp display picture. Several users also used his details to forge other government IDs. – News 18