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Vic businesses targeted by Indian hackers -

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Vic businesses targeted by Indian hackers

Alison Caldwell reported this story on Friday, February 12, 2010 12:38:00

ASHLEY HALL: There's been a spate of internet attacks on dozens of Melbourne businesses in the past
few days costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The businesses have been locked out of their computer networks with servers encrypted and encoded
and they have been told this will continue to happen every day until attacks on Indians in
Melbourne come to an end.

The Victoria Police E-crimes squad is investigating reports of the attacks, as Alison Caldwell
reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: They call themselves the Hackers Union of India. On their website members freely
identify themselves, some with photographs and email addresses.

The website warns:

VOICEOVER: This is a group for those who are doing hacking as their prime goal to prove themselves
amongst the world. I hate them who do hacking for fun. Be serious about it.

ALISON CALDWELL: The Hackers Union of India is said to be behind a spate of attacks on Melbourne
businesses in recent days.

Employees have arrived at work only to find that their computer servers have been encrypted and
encoded making it impossible for them to do their work.

They're told this will happen every day until attacks on Indian citizens in Melbourne come to an
end.

In some cases it's cost over $100,000 in lost business for each business affected by the attacks.

Andrew Lonie is a master of digital forensics at the University of Melbourne.

ANDREW LONIE: As a group the hackers tend to take themselves fairly seriously and pretty much all
of them would say, you know, we're the best. We're the ones who are the serious ones and everyone
else is just playing around.

So it's pretty closely analogous to the gang cultures, all the other gang cultures I suppose that
you can think about.

ALISON CALDWELL: He says hacking from one country to another is becoming a popular form of protest.

ANDREW LONIE: Any two countries that are having a spat at the moment, I guess there's a sort of a
ground swell of people who thinks it's the worst thing that's ever happened and they're using the
internet as a forum for that.

ALISON CALDWELL: And Andrew Lonie says hacking is becoming increasingly common.

ANDREW LONIE: It certainly could be widespread. If anything it's sort of a little surprising that
it isn't more widespread because I mean it's reasonably easy to do and you can do it anonymously.

ALISON CALDWELL: A spokeswoman with Victoria Police says the E-crimes squad is investigating
reports of alleged hacking of a number of different business servers hosted in Melbourne.

She says the ongoing investigation is in its infancy and it would be inappropriate to comment any
further.

Gautam Gupta is with the Federation of Indian Students. He says it's the first time he's heard
about online attacks.

GAUTAM GUPTA: Well I think it is very unfortunate that now the innocent Australian businesses are
paying the price for the unsafe streets of Melbourne.

ALISON CALDWELL: What would you say to young Indian students who would be thinking about getting
involved in hacking businesses like this?

GAUTAM GUPTA: Well I will tell to everyone who is doing anything illegal or violent in any age
group and of any nationality that violence of any sort is unacceptable and must be avoided at any
cost, whether the violence is online or offline.

ALISON CALDWELL: Gautam Gupta says there was another attack on a group of Indian students in
Melbourne three days ago but no-one was seriously injured.

He says it's time Victoria's Premier John Brumby agreed to meet Indian students to address the
problem once and for all.

GAUTAM GUPTA: I think this is another indication why Premier Brumby must now sit and talk and work
with the students because each and every person in Victoria directly or indirectly is getting
affected by all these things.

Now the businesses that were not even aware of what is going on are being affected. People are
using this opportunity to either promote themselves, prove their skills, or indeed get the point
across. And we have given them (inaudible) they are not even taking it seriously. They are
implementing it without consulting us on what we mean by it and the rest of the problem.

Clearly what they have done has not worked.

ASHLEY HALL: Gautam Gupta from the Federation of Indian Students ending Alison Caldwell's report.