In my earlier article, I gave a glimpse of the enormity of the demonetization scheme announced by Narendra Modi. Stretched over an area of 3,287,263 square kilometres, we are one of the biggest nations in the world. With the median age of little over 27 years, we are also one of the youngest countries in the world, which means most of us are in the working age. And we are a nation of 1.25 billion people, second only to China. When a country as enormous as India removes roughly 80% of total cash out of circulation, the effect is supposed to be colossal. But barring a few unpleasant incidents, the transition to new cash remained relatively smooth.
What stopped the nation from tearing itself apart? Why didn’t we hear of widespread protests and burning of banks and looting of ATMs. Why is it that only the opposition protested and the common populace calmly stood in queues and lauded the government?
It was because of one reason and one reason alone – The credibility of PM Narendra Modi. Narendra Modi has won over India, the majority of Indians believe in him and they are ready to bear hardships for a few days in hope of a better future.
And this leaves the opposition in utter dismay. They couldn’t do anything to create a sense of fear psychosis in India. Modi’s personal credibility prevailed over their political snares and traps.
And hence a new trap is being created and this time Modi is not under scanner but the entire Digital Ecosystem is.
IS THE ONLINE WORLD SAFE FOR COMMON PEOPLE TO STORE MONEY IN AND TRANSACT FEARLESSLY?
No, seems to be the answer for now because the account of Rahul Gandhi was hacked, followed by the hacking of INC India account on Twitter. When SPG Protectees like Rahul Gandhi can be hacked and made a mess of, does it not raise a big question mark on the security and safety of a common unprotected Indian?
Before answering this question, let us first analyse the events of last night closely.
Rahul Gandhi’s twitter account was hacked. His profile name and information were changed and the hacker went on to post a series of derisive and abusive posts about Rahul Gandhi, The Gandhi family and the Congress Party.
Let us first analyse the Language:
It is very evident from the tweets that the hacker used language, epithets and terms that is used by anti-Congress twitterati to troll Rahul Gandhi. To the uninitiated it may sound like a genuine anti-Gandhi -Family hacker trying to feed his ancient grudges against him. This makes it a case of “So overt that it is covert”. The hacker felt no need to conceal his ire and went on to be as abusive as he/she could, in a very cool Social media lingo.
The first reactions:
As soon as Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter account was hacked, Congress big guns started blazing.
Randeep Surjenwala, Congress spokesperson was one of the very first congress leaders to express his disgruntlement over the episode. He said Hacking of Rahul Gandhi’s twitter account proves that there is a lack of Digital safety around each one of us and every bit of digital info can be accessed, altered, morphed and modified.
Hacking [email protected] proves lack of Digital safety around each one of us. Every digital info can be accessed, altered, morphed & modified.
— Randeep S Surjewala (@rssurjewala) November 30, 2016
He was followed by Dr. Ajoy Kumar who said that if it’s so easy to hack digital presence of an SPG protected person, how easy it would be to steal your digital money.
And just imagine, if it's so easy to hack digital presence of an SPG protected person, how easy it would be to steal your digital money.
— Dr Ajoy Kumar (@drajoykumar) November 30, 2016
Then Sanjay Jha, another Congress spokesperson jumped into the fray stating Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter account is hacked hence Digital India is on track.
— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) November 30, 2016
Congress stalwarts Digvijay Singh and Ahmed Patel were not the ones to take the defacement of their prince silently so they reacted too. Digvijay Singh questioned Narendra Modi by asking “You want us to go for digital transactions but hackers can do frauds in such transactions. It happened in Yes Bank accounts in India” and Ahmed Patel said “The way the Rahul Gandhi’s twitter account got hacked even as Cyber Cell and Twitter watched helplessly raises serious Questions on digital safety, Digital India future”
Modiji you want us to go for digital transactions but hackers can do frauds in such transactions. It happened in Yes Bank accounts in India
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) November 30, 2016
The way @OfficeOfRG a/c got hacked,as cybercrime & Twitter watched helpless raises serious Q's on digital safety, Digital India future
— Ahmed Patel (@ahmedpatel) November 30, 2016
The Media folks reacted too, Bhupendra Chaubey was one of the very first senior journalists to respond to the hacking episode. He coolly said – Benefits of digital economy and society. Rahul Gandhi’s account hacked. While Anshu Chibber said that Phishing, hacking are mundane affairs and we are aiming at a digital, cashless economy? Are we even capable of handling cyber threats? What about common people?
Benefits of digital economy and society. #RahulGandhi account hacked
— bhupendra chaubey (@bhupendrachaube) November 30, 2016
Phishing, hacking and we are aiming at a digital, cashless economy? Are we even capable of handling cyber threats? What about common ppl?
— Anshu Chhibber (@AnshuChhibber) November 30, 2016
What is the common message in all the aforementioned tweets?
Digital Economy is a dark realm. We are a third world nation, ill-prepared to enter this realm. The common man is helpless because even big and important people like Rahul Gandhi are under threat. Your money is at risk. Digital Economy is a big black hole that can swallow it all and the cyber cell and security infrastructure can do little or nothing. So stay away from Digital Economy. Do not part with your cash. Say no to less-cash or cash-less economy that has now become the pet project of Narendra Modi.
I do understand that blaming digital ecosystem was a low hanging fruit but was it so low that almost everyone picked it up?
I do understand that one thought can cross different minds at the same time but can the same thought cross almost everyone’s mind in such a short span of time?
The answer to both the questions is NO. A big resounding NO. Such unanimity is achieved only after proper reheareals and this makes it looks like a staged drama, an insider job – call it what ever you want.
Now the technical part of it:
Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter account is managed by persons cleared by SPG and Mr Gandhi himself.
IB and SPG regularly monitor online threats and activities on protectee accounts.
Rahul Kanwal learned that Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter account was NOT hacked, it was accessed using information from Congress’s internal e-mail servers. News 18 suggests that Rahul Gandhi’s official e-mail was used to access the account.
Sources involved in probe say Congress' @twitter account not hacked into. Accessed using information from Congress' internal email servers.
— Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) December 1, 2016
— News18 (@CNNnews18) December 1, 2016
Furthermore, as per this user’s claim Twitter removes verified tick as soon as a verified account is hacked or compromised. This didn’t happen in Rahul Gandhi’s case.
There are far too many coincidences in this case to ignore and at this point of time, it DOES look like a staged drama to dissuade people from investing their trust in digital economy. But this may be a fair case of unfair practices and in that case the Government must ensure that evildoers are nabbed and punished so that the citizens of this nation can trust the digital ecosystem.
For now this tweet seems to sum it all:
Modern progressive liberals planned a twitter hack to tell public that online banking is not safe, cashless economy is dangerous.#irony
— Mulayam Singh Yadav (@AndColorPockeT) November 30, 2016