The email account that belongs to the Press Information Bureau (PIB) that handles all communication between the PMO and the media was hacked yesterday, reports DNA. As a result, fake emails were sent out with the subject line reading “my terrible situation”. Though the PMO did issue an advisory to control the situation spiralling out of hand, quite a few journalists received the email. As part of the advisory issued by the PMO, those who received the bogus email were requested to ignore it. The advisory read, “It has come to our notice that emails have been received by some journalists from an email ID that impersonates the genuine email ID of the PM Unit, PIB. The fake email comes with the subject line “My Terrible Situation.”
Mails were sent seeking financial assistance (Image Credit: Getty Images)
The bogus email sought financial assistance from its recipients and elaborated upon a situation of distress. It read, “I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, I came down to Madrid. Spain, for a short vacation but unfortunately. I was mugged at the park, on my way to the hotel where I lodge. All cash, credit card and my cell phone were stolen from me but luckily for me, I still have my passport with me. I’ve been to the embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all. My flight leaves in a couple of hours but am having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let me leave until i settle the bills.”
From among those who received this email, Gmail users were shown by a warning by Gmail that asked them to be cautious about it. It warned that the sender’s account may have been compromised, and hence this may be a ploy to steal personal information.
In August, six Twitter accounts impersonating or spoofing the Prime Minister's official Twitter account, @PMOIndia were shut down after the content on them was found to be objectionable. The incident was independent of the recent chronology of events, wherein websites with objectionable content were being blocked to curb communal tension in the country. The PMO asked the Cyber Security Cell of the Department of Information and Technology to block these six Twitter accounts. The PMO believed that the fake accounts could be mistaken for the real one, and lead to serious consequences.
Soon after, Twitter agreed to block all fake accounts resembling the Prime Minister's official account at a 12-hour notice. Reportedly, the government had asked Twitter to remove offensive content, else it would be shut off in the country.