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Updated: June 6, 2013 01:16 IST

Simple password spells big trouble for RTC clerk

Staff Reporter
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Inspector (Technical Cell) Cyber Crime Police Station, M. Ravinder Reddy, left, with accused Hanumantha Rao. -Photo: Nagara Gopal
Inspector (Technical Cell) Cyber Crime Police Station, M. Ravinder Reddy, left, with accused Hanumantha Rao. -Photo: Nagara Gopal

Private ticket agent guesses password of online booking clerk to defraud the corporation of Rs. 7.89 lakh

Keeping the password simple spelt trouble for an APSRTC booking clerk in-charge of online ticket reservation at Cheepurupalli depot recently.

The clerk would not have imagined that his choice of a simple password for an online account would enable a trickster to defraud the corporation of Rs. 7.89 lakh by guessing the password and hacking into the account.

Thirty-four-year-old P. Hanumantha Rao of Warangal district, who was arrested on Wednesday in connection with RTC’s online ticket fraud, guessed the clerk’s passwords and relieved the corporation of Rs. 7.89 lakh.

A private RTC ticket booking agent for past 12 years, he guessed the Cheepurupalli depot clerk’s password with simple combination of names and numbers.

“The clerk might not have anticipated that his password could be easily guessed. But his mistake was not to check the transactions being made through the account for over two months,” Hyderabad Central Crime Station DCP L.K.V. Ranga Rao said at a press conference.

After hacking into the clerk’s account, Hanumantha Rao purchased long journey tickets.

He then hacked into the accounts of two other private RTC ticket booking agents based in Hyderabad, again by guessing their passwords.

He would hack into their accounts and cancel the tickets purchased through the Cheepurupalli clerk’s account.

The refund of the cancelled tickets would automatically fall into the account of the two private agents.

Hanumantha Rao would then purchase tickets through these two accounts and take printouts. Rao or his aide Ramu (now absconding) would then take the printouts, go to other private agents and cancel the tickets again for a refund. In this fashion, he defrauded the RTC of Rs. 7.89 lakh from February 27 to May 17 this year.

“He cancelled the tickets booked through Cheepurupalli clerk’s account because agents in Hyderabad would suspect foul play if tickets purchased from there are cancelled in city repeatedly,” Inspector M. Ravinder Reddy who investigated the case said.

‘No collusion of RTC employees’

An amount of Rs. 1.09 lakh was recovered from Rao. The DCP said Rao committed the fraud all by himself and no other RTC employee colluded with him.

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