Pakistani politicians, generals’ computers under Indian hackers’ attack

Islamabad: An India-based computer hacking gang seized control of computers owned by Pakistan’s politicians, generals and diplomats and eavesdropped on their private conversations, apparently at the behest of the Indian secret services, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported.

Geo News reported that according to the report, several political targets seem to have arisen from the continued tensions between India and Pakistan.

On January 10, the gang was tasked with breaking into the email account of Fawad Chaudhry, then information minister during Imran Khan’s government. It took a screenshot of Fawad Chaudhry’s inbox, which has been seen by the Sunday Times and the Bureau.

The hacking team used malware to take over his computers and targeted the country’s senior generals as well as its embassies in Beijing, Shanghai and Kathmandu in a similar way. The most famous Pakistan-related target was Pervez Musharraf, the former president of the country, Geo News reported.

Private investigators linked to the city of London are also using the India-based computer hacking gang to target British businesses, government officials and journalists. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Sunday Times have been given access to the gang’s database, which reveals the extraordinary scale of the attacks.

It shows the criminals targeted the private email accounts of more than 100 victims on behalf of investigators working for autocratic states, British lawyers and their wealthy clients. Critics of Qatar who threatened to expose wrongdoing by the Gulf state in the run-up to this month’s World Cup were among those hacked.

It is the first time the inner workings of a major “hack-for-hire” gang have been leaked to the media and it reveals multiple criminal conspiracies. Some of the hackers’ clients are private investigators used by major law firms with bases in the City of London.

The investigation — based on the leaked documents and undercover work in India — can reveal: Orders went out to the gang to target the BBC’s political editor Chris Mason in May, three weeks after his appointment was announced. The president of Switzerland and his deputy were targeted just days after he met Boris Johnson and Liz Truss in Downing Street to discuss Russian sanctions, Geo News reported.

The hacking gang, which operates under the name WhiteInt, is run from a fourth-floor apartment in a suburb of the Indian tech city Gurugram. Its mastermind is 31-year-old Aditya Jain — an occasional TV cybersecurity pundit who also holds down a day job at the Indian office of the British accountancy firm Deloitte, the report said.

(IANS)

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