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UP police to introduce ‘two-step verification’ on portal after 15-year-old’s bomb hoax calls

Class 9 student sent multiple bomb hoax messages on the UP100 portal on January 24 and 25 just ahead of the Republic Day celebrations. The boy only provided nine digits of mobile numbers and kept sending the threatening messages.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2019 09:20 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times, Ghaziabad
UP police,bomb hoax calls,hoax calls
Police line tape. Crime scene investigation. Forensic science.(Getty Images)

Police in Uttar Pradesh will introduce a two-step verification process for anyone calling their internet portal with information related to bombs and train accidents after a 15-year-old threatened to blow up several places in Ghaziabad.

The Class 9 student sent multiple bomb hoax messages through chat box available on the department’s UP100 portal.

The messages were sent by the teenager on the UP100 portal on January 24 and 25 just ahead of the Republic Day celebrations. The boy only provided nine digits of mobile numbers and kept sending the threatening messages.

Sources in the police said the boy seemed to be “miffed with the system” and inspired by a Bollywood movie Wednesday.

The incident forced police to activate surveillance and even roped in UP special task force to track the message sender. The boy’s location was traced on Sunday and it was decided to let him off considering his family conditions, said officials.

“We are now going to introduce two-stage verification to authenticate user sending messages on UP100 portal chat. A four-digit passcode will be sent to the mobile of the callers and UP100 officials will call him/her up to know the passcode. Similar code will be sent to the chat option for further verification. However, these passcodes will be sent only in critical cases,” Mohammad Imran, superintendent of police UP100 at Lucknow, said.

The chat box available on UP100 asks for the name, mobile number and district of the message sender. Officials said the chat option currently also accepts less than ten digits of mobile numbers. This, they said, was a best practice in order to ensure timely help in case of emergency situations.

“Many callers don’t provide their ten digit mobile number just to maintain secrecy. In such cases, our criterion is to offer timely help. However, the two-stage passcode verification will help us authenticate callers who are giving critical information. After authentication, their identities will be kept secret,” Imran said.

“If passcodes do not match or they are not able to provide the codes, we will come to know that they are not genuine callers. Legal action may be taken against such callers. We are going to implement the passcode verification within a couple of days,” he said.

The officials added that in case of critical information they will mandatorily seek details and identity of the message sender and will consider it as not genuine if the caller fails to establish their identity.

“This will be done through chat box messages in case he has not provided his full ten digit mobile number. Further, OTPs will be sent on his mobile to authenticate him,” the officer said.

First Published: Jan 28, 2019 09:20 IST