There could not have been a more interesting end to this year without some hacking. Legion, the hacker group behind the recent social media account breaches of high-profile figures in India, now plans to take down government website sansad.nic.in that provides email services to government employees. In an encrypted chat interview with tech website Factordaily.com, a Legion member said, “Next is a dump of sansad-.nic.in emails. Which is — quite big. It includes a lot of BIG FISH.”
Over the last two weeks, Legion has hacked into four high-profile Twitter accounts, releasing personal details including telephone numbers, bank account details, and email passwords of the owners. The affected accounts included those of Congress party member Rahul Gandhi and embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya followed by NDTV journalists Barkha Dutt and Ravish Kumar. In another encrypted chat with The Washington Post, one of the Legion Crew (LC), as the members call themselves, talked about their motive behind targeting India’s most influential personalities and revealed some of their next targets. The hackers are claimed to number in the “higher single digits” and are based around the world. One of the LC members said that Legion wasn’t even interested in “political data” until a few weeks ago.
Then what exactly is it that drove a bunch of people who know their way around with technology to cause great embarrassment to some prominent names in the country? According to The Washington Post, whatever the hackers discovered, they aimed to release it to the general public. The LC member said that the group had access to several terabytes of raw data concerning all sorts of ‘interests’ and that within that trove the hackers had identified gigabytes worth of information relating to Indian public figures. After taking down Barkha Dutt’s account, the hackers shared a link to a partial data dump of close to 1.2 gigabytes of her emails.
When asked how the hacker group managed to lay their hands on such a trove of data, the member said, they just “ended up with access to over 40k+ servers in India, and we decided — hey, why not write a tool to sift through them for interesting data?” With a lack of a politically-driven motive, it appears the hackers are particularly disdainful towards their targets. When asked about taking over Mallya’s account, the hacker mocked the business tycoon’s way of handling confidential data. In his chat interview, the LC member said “You’re a billionaire and you keep your bank logins in a notes folder in your private email, encrypted.” By simply hacking into the individual’s email account, the hackers were able to access far more confidential details than intended. ALSO READ: Who is ‘Legion’ that hacked into Vijay Mallya, Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter accounts?
But is targeting individual accounts what Legion aims to continue in future? The answer is no. The LC crew member said that individual targets were just an appetizer and in the near future they might release an email dump of an entire email provider with over 50,000 clients in India. While that figure is an exaggeration, the group does claim to have access to servers like that of the biggest private hospital chain in India, Apollo. Now, this threatens not just private data of doctors, but also patients, who might have exchanged their diagnostic reports over the so-called trusted email service. However, the hacking group doesn’t appear to be game for such a data breach that perhaps would put public security in jeopardy. The member said they were unsure about releasing data from those servers because it might cause “chaos.”
Hacking is not what Legion is all about. The particular LC member in conversation with The Washington Post revealed that progressive house music was his real passion and hacks only offered him an adrenaline kick. Revealing that he is currently based in New Delhi, the hacker said he might try to go to Russia – where whistleblower Edward Snowden is currently under political asylum- to do some more drugs. Now, whether Legion is aiming to go the Snowden way and reveal some alarming data is something which is yet to be seen. However, the group sure appears to have the time of their lives smoking marijuana, hacking into prominent accounts, and giving sleepless nights to the biggest personalities in India. ALSO READ: Legion threatens to leak information and data from Apollo Hospitals servers