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India’s Biggest Data Sellers Busted: 16.8 Crore Citizens’ Confidential Data Sold, Cyberabad Police Nabs Gang



Cyberabad Police Nab Gang Involved in Massive Data Breach, Selling 1.68 Cr Confidential Data On Black Market

Cyberabad police have arrested seven people accused of stealing and selling confidential personal data of 16.8 crore citizens, sensitive data of government and important organisations, and key data of defence and Army personnel to cyber criminals.

The police arrested seven persons from Noida and Pune involved in theft, procuring, and selling sensitive and confidential data. The gang was allegedly selling key data of defence and Army personnel to cybercriminals.

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Cyberabad Police Commissioner Stephen Ravindra announced the arrest of the accused individuals at a news conference. The gang was allegedly selling information relating to more than 140 categories of people including defence personnel, bank customers, energy sector consumers, NEET students, government employees, gas agencies, high net worth individuals, demat account holders, WhatsApp users, Facebook users, employees of IT companies and frequent flyers. He stated that they would write to the Home Ministry for further inquiry into the data theft case.

The accused were found selling information on people who had applied for loans and insurance, credit card and debit card holders of banks such as AXIS, HSBC, and other banks, and data of Delhi government employees.

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Data of 1.1 crore customers of six banks, 1.2 crore WhatsApp users, and 17 lakh Facebook users was accessed by the fraudsters, and the sensitive data of 2.5 lakh defence personnel containing their ranks, email ids, place of posting, etc was found available with the accused.

The gang allegedly operated through registered and unregistered companies, Data Mart Infotech, Global Data Arts, and MS Digital Grow. According to senior officers the sensitive data can be used for unauthorised access to important organisations and institutions. The data of defence and government employees can be used for espionage, impersonation and committing serious offences that may jeopardize national security. The data related to PAN cards can be used to commit serious offences. The data is being used to commit a large number of cybercrimes by gaining confidence with victims by disclosing the information, said Stephen Ravindra.

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The key accused, Kumar Nitish Bhushan, had established a call centre in Noida and collected credit card databases from another accused, Muskan Hassan. Pooja Pal and Susheel Thomar were working as tele-callers at Bhushan’s call centre. Atul Pratap Singh had collected data of credit card holders and sold it on a profit basis through his company “Inspiree Digital.” Muskan, who previously worked as a tele-caller at Atul’s office, established her company “MS Digital Grow.” She was selling data as a mediator. She had arranged the data from Atul and sold it to Bhushan. Sandeep Pal had established Global Data Arts and used Justdial services and social media platforms to sell customers’ confidential data to fraudsters indulging in cyber offences. The information was shared with Atul and Bhushan by the seventh accused, Zia Ur Rehman, who provided bulk messaging services for promotions.

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