Not just youngsters, but people of all age groups are using Whatsapp, given that the app is a cheap and easy way to communicate. But the flip side is that the popular application is also prone to hacking, as a 23-year-old woman in Thane recently found out.
An executive officer with the Chandivli branch of a private sector bank, Pallavi Tirlotkar filed a case on Thursday, claiming that she had been robbed of a gold chain worth Rs 50,000 after the WhatsApp account of a friend was hacked.
Earlier this week, Tirlotkar received WhatsApp messages from a friend who claimed to be in difficulty as some unknown person had taken obscene pictures of her.
“The message purportedly sent by the friend said that she would go to Vajreshwari Mandir in Bhiwandi the next day and Tirlotkar should come along with her friend Sahil and meet her there,” said a senior official from Thane Nagar police station. “The message also added that Tirlotkar was not to call her under any circumstances.”
Tirlotkar agreed and met Sahil the next day, who claimed to have been sent by her friend. He took away a gold chain worth Rs 50,000, claiming that he would give it to the person who had clicked the obscene pictures so that he/she wouldn’t distribute them.
When Tirlotkar later spoke to her friend, the latter said that she had not sent her any WhatsApp messages. In fact, she had received a call the previous day, purportedly from her mobile service provider, asking her not to access WhatsApp.
“The executive said that her SIM card was going to get expire. They said she would receive a code on her mobile number, which she would have to forward to them,” said the officer. They then realised that the call was a hoax and that the WhatsApp account had been hacked.
“We are investigating the matter. A case has been registered and efforts are on trace the accused. We also have to investigate how the hacking took place. It is important to verify the identity of the person while chatting,” said Kavita Gaikwad, Police Inspector, Thane Nagar police station.
The Thane Nagar police have registered a case under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code and different sections of the Information Technology Act.
Advocate Prashant Mali, cyber lawyer and cyber security expert, said the hackers had possibly used the code they received during the hoax call to hack the WhatsApp account.
Do’s and Don’ts
1. Whenever you receive an unsolicited SMS with regards to WhatsApp, do not give the WhatsApp code to anyone
2. Do not trust callers who ask you to turn off your Internet or WhatsApp off.
3. If any unknown person claims your near or dear ones are in trouble, always confirm by calling their landline or on different number.
4. Always use "Change My Number" when you want to change your number
5. Delete WhatsApp application from phone while selling or discarding the phone
6. Beware of mobile spying softwares which may be installed in your phone and can transmit WhatsApp data
(Source: Prashant Mali, cyber lawyer and cyber security expert)