Hacking ostensibly is one of the most thriving businesses in the world. However, nasty hackers have now entrenched themselves in Europe as well. We used to hear about such thugs that they had found some safe havens in parts of Africa and certain Asian countries, mainly because of lose and flawed financial as well security controls in these countries. But surprisingly such villains now seem to be on the rampage even in the European countries where by and large adherence to laws is strict and even-handed.
Spain happens to be a leading European Union country but unfortunately like a few other EU member states Spain too serves as a safe haven for many illegal immigrants; hackers and mafia. Spain’s predicament, from the face of it, appears to be a result of huge unemployment i.e 26 per cent – highest within the European Union. Under such circumstances people are forced to resort to unethical practices including hacking.
Let me share with you my personal experience of this hacking, which presumably was carried out from Madrid. Few days ago when I was in Norway sitting on my PC, suddenly a pop-up window appeared on my screen. The message said, “we are from Yahoo company and want to update our record therefore please enter your email and password so that we could update your information”. I do not know how, but I fell prey to the trap and entered the password and email address.
Then within one hour the following email message was disseminated among all my contacts without my knowledge;-
How are you doing, my family and I came over here to Spain for a short vacation. Unfortunately we were mugged at the park of the hotel where we stayed, all cash and credit card were stolen off us but luckily for us we still have our passports with us.
We’ve been to the Embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all and our flight leaves in few hours from now but we’re having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the bills. Well I really need your financial assistance..Please let me know if you can help us out? Am freaked out at the moment!!
And when some of my friends replied back saying how could they help me and in return they got the following message:-
“Thanks so much for your concern and willingness to help, what we need is $2,000. Western Union happens to be the safest and fastest means of sending the money, and please bear in mind that I’ll facilitate your reimbursement as soon as we get home. All you have to do is to locate a Western Union office or you can transfer online by using your credit card to log on to www.westernunion.com and get the money transferred in my name. Please use the details below to send:
NAME- Ansar Mahmood Bhatti
ADDRESS- Plaza de la Lealtad 5, Madrid, 28014
Just help me write out the MTCN/Reference number and other necessary details. I’m looking forward to hearing from you)”
Soon after the email I was informed by some friends that my email had been hacked therefore I should immediately change the security settings including password etc which I did but the damage had already been done by that time. The interesting aspect of the whole episode is that I was absolutely in the dark about what was going on between my friends and the hackers and my friends thought as if they were communicating with me while in fact they were communicating with the hackers.
I do not know if the European Union has any law to check and stop such practices, but I am sure the Spanish authorities as well EU law enforcement agencies would take action because it is not impossible to track this crime, especia