Saturday, January 17, 2009

Indian group's e-mail account hacked in Ghana

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

The Metro Film Society in Kochi, India has reported the hacking of its e-mail ID and blog by a cyber thief in Ghana.

The ID theft was detected Thursday January 15, 2009. In a story on Express Buzz, the group said one more cyber cheating in the name of people and organisations in the country by the residents of some African countries came to light on Thursday when the e-mail ID and blog of the Metro Film Society were hacked by miscreants.

The matter came to light when some of the society members received a mail in the name of M. Gopinathan, secretary of the film society, stating that he was stranded in Ghana without money.

“You need to help me with the hotel bill and I will also need $1050 to feed and help myself back home so please can you help me with a sum of $1600 to sort out my problems here? I need this help so much and on time because I am in a terrible and tight situation here,” said the mail.

The story said, the thief further asked them to transfer the money through Money Gram or the Western Union to the address Gopinathan M., Ghana (country), Accra (city) and 00233 (zip code).

The mail has also an alternate e-mail ID for them to reply, which is a usual characteristic of scam e-mails.

According to the report, some members of the group who grew suspicious over the mail enquired about the fraudulent mail and that is when the office-bearers of the society came to know about it.

The office-bearers of the society immediately sent another mail to the members stating that the society’s blog and their Gmail ID had been hacked.

The mail sent by the Metro Film Society executive committee member A. P. Ramesh Babu on behalf of secretary M. Gopinathan, has asked the members to ignore such mails in future, the report said.

The society has already started the process for generating another blog and email ID.
The report inicated that the society is also planning to file a complaint before the cyber cell on the issue.

Cyber crime is a growing menace in Ghana, and reports suggest it has become the pastime of some young men in the capital Accra. Meanwhile, information available to show that the security services are not up to the task in dealing with the issue.

Recently, a former Information Minister of Ghana, Dr. Benjamin Aggrey-Ntim revealed that about 82 cyber crimes occur in Ghana every month, and that is nearly one thousand crimes yearly. He said this at the 63rd Session of the Governing Council of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in Geneva, Switzerland.

Sometime in 2008, the Member of Parliament for Dadekotopon, Nii Amasa Namoale’s e-mail account was stolen and his password changed. The thieves then sent e-mails to his contacts asking for money. He was fortunate some of the contacts called him on the phone and he clarified the matter with them.

Hotmail account users so far, have been noted to be more prone to this kind of crime. The hackers normally send emails to account users in MSN interface claiming that their accounts have exceeded their limits and would be closed unless they fill in a form which the hackers include in the mail, asking for their names, email address, date of birth, country and password. Once they get these information, they access the email account and then change the password – effectively blocking the owner from accessing his or her email account.


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