Cybercriminals Target Former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran's Savings Account
In a concerning development, cybercriminals managed to siphon off ₹99,999 from the personal savings account of Dayanidhi Maran, the former Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology and the incumbent DMK MP. Mr Maran promptly reported the incident to the Cyber Crime Wing of the Greater Chennai City Police.
Dayanidhi Maran himself revealed this breach on his social media platform, raising questions about the security of digital transactions. According to him, the theft occurred on a Sunday when ₹99,999 was illicitly withdrawn from his @AxisBank personal savings account through a net banking transfer involving @IDFCFIRSTBank-@BillDesk. This illicit transaction circumvented standard safety protocols, as no OTP (One-Time Password), typically required for such transactions, was generated or received on his linked mobile number.
Instead, the cybercriminals took an audacious step by calling the joint holder of the account, which happened to be his wife, inquiring if the transaction had transpired. While posing as bank representatives, the fraudsters displayed @cbic_india in their profile picture, raising Mr. Maran's suspicions. He took swift action by immediately suspending all account activities.
Expressing his bewilderment, Mr. Maran wondered how the perpetrators could effortlessly access personal information and bypass security measures without resorting to a phishing attack or exposing sensitive details. Axis Bank, the financial institution involved, appeared perplexed about the incident and failed to provide a coherent explanation for why an OTP was not required from Mr. Maran's mobile number for the transaction.
Mr. Maran's concerns extended beyond his own situation. He pondered the safety of data belonging to first-time digital users and senior citizens. Referring to a newspaper report, he highlighted that financial frauds constituted a staggering 75% of cybercrimes in India from January 2020 to June 2023. He also cited previous instances of sensitive Aadhaar data being compromised as early as 2018 and emphasized the regularity of bank data breaches and ransomware attacks in the news.
In a plea for action and accountability, Mr. Maran, who had previously written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the Ministry of Finance seeking help for cybercrime victims in his capacity as an MP, now demands justice as a victim himself. He called for robust security measures and government intervention to ensure data protection, especially in a digital age where India aspires to excel and become a FinTech hub.
Mr. Maran concluded by seeking answers from the government and urging Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to release a white paper addressing these pressing cybersecurity issues. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of safeguarding private data in an increasingly digital world.