Hackers route Delhi firm’s cash to ‘IS accounts’

Miss Alone

Prime VIP
Suspected Islamic State hackers may have routed a Delhi-based firm's payments from a London client to the jihadist group's bank accounts in Turkey. Delhi Police say the fraud amounting to Rs 5 crore-6 crore is the biggest in the capital this year and was possibly carried out by hacking the email account of an employee.

While police started off investigating the IS angle because the money was diverted to Turkey, their suspicion was strengthened on learning that the London client provides humanitarian aid to war-hit people in Syria and refugees in countries like Turkey.

Delhi Police commissioner B S Bassi was made aware of the fraud on Saturday and is learned to have formed a special team to crack the case. Sources said the special cell has been put on the job. "The probe is at an initial stage. It is early to rule out the role of IS in this massive cyber heist as we are indeed probing some Turkey-based hackers who may have terror or IS links," a top officer of Delhi Police told TOI requesting anonymity.

An FIR was being registered at an undisclosed police station at the time of filing this report on Saturday evening. The victim firm is based in south Delhi and provides consultancy and advisory services to development and social projects in India and abroad. The client's website states it provides relief and other assistance to people inside Syria and to refugee families in neighbouring countries, including Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

The complaint states that the Delhi firm had regularly received payments from the client (name withheld) in its account with Kotak Mahindra Bank, and when they stopped in October, it waited patiently for the sake of goodwill. However, when it followed-up a few days ago, the client claimed it had processed some of the payments. It sent an email on Friday giving details of the accounts credited, thus alerting the firm to the fraud.

The firm's vice-president initiated an internal inquiry with assistance from the client's representatives. They were shocked on being informed that the Delhi firm's senior manager had made some communications to the client requesting a change of beneficiary account numbers and had changed the remittance details. However, no trace of these communications was found on the firm's own systems.

The firm has provided police with all the details, documents and communications connected with the client.
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