KATHMANDU, JUN 25 – In what may be called a high-profile cyber crime, internet hackers have penetrated the email box of the Nepal Army brass. The newest victim is Chief of the General Staff Lt Gen Gaurav Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, who will assume the post of NA chief after Gen Chhatra Man Singh Gurung retires in November.
A group mail was sent to all of Rana’s contacts on Friday saying that his wife Dolly had tripped and fallen off a hotel stairs in the UK and needed a financial help of 2,000 pounds for her treatment. The mailer claimed that the couple were in the UK for a wedding and did not have money for the treatment of a fractured spine, broken arm and head injury.
In the message, he even committed to reimburse all the financial assistance after returning home. Many contacted Gen Rana to find out the truth. The confusion was over only after Rana mailed to all of his contacts on Sunday morning that his email was hacked a few days ago.
“You must have received strange messages regarding us–travel in the UK, wife’s accident and shortage of money and all other nonsense. Please disregard this all, as by god’s grace we are fine and happy at home enjoying the summer holidays with our family,” Rana’s email reads. He notified them that he would create a new email account as soon as possible.
Gen Rana is one of the many high-profile victims of email hacking. A similar incident frustrated Army Spokesman Ramindra Chhetri last year, when his email was accessed by an unidentified user in London.
“I changed my password and combined numerical, upper and lower case alphabets to secure my account. I felt I was a high value target because the password change did not work,” said Chhetri. His problem was resolved six months ago after he protected the password through a mobile phone. “I have received a six-digit numerical code that protects my account,” said Chhetri.
Experts say email hacking is a common phenomenon in Nepal as most of the users are unaware of safety measures. “Hackers use different methods for phishing password, the most common being using spyware and sending emails by faking an identity,” said Rajan Raj Pant, chief of the Office of the Controller of Certification. “If the users are cautious and ignore unnecessary requests and confirmation calls, they can protect their account.”
Law practitioner Baburam Aryal says that hacking of email is a crime punishable in accordance with the Electronic Transaction Act-2006. “Law stipulates that any one accessing private information could be sentenced up to three years in jail and fined up to Rs 200,000 or both.”
Nepal Police says that email hacking is conducted from places beyond the Nepali territory. “Every month we receive around five to seven such complaints. However, nabbing the perpetrators operating outside our territory is difficult,” Crime Investigation Division, Metropolitan Police, Chief Devendra Subedi said. “We seek help from the Interpol in severe cases of hacking. We have arrested a few in Nepal and warned them not to do such activities.”by PHANINDRA DAHAL from ekantipur