| June 24, 2018

Teenage hacker says he hacked for fun

Teenage hacker says he hacked for fun Photo Courtesy: MCD
KATHMANDU, March 23: An 18-year-old Information Technology (IT) student, who was arrested by the Nepal Police on Sunday on the charge of hacking government websites, has claimed that he hacked the sites 'just for fun'.

After complaints were registered at the Metropolitan Police Crime Division, Teku, about the hacking, a police squad arrested Bikash Paudel of Tanahun, Bandipur, currently residing with his family at Balaju Height.
Paudel, who has been identified as a member of the hackers' group named Anonymous #opnep, confessed to have hacked servers and breached into databases of over 200 government agencies, including Nepal Telecom recently.

"I was influenced by the hacking of Pentagon computers and wanted to test myself if I could hack or not," Paudel, who was arrested from Sohrakhutte-16, told police investigators.

The Pentagon's unclassified email system was reportedly hacked in a 'sophisticated cyberattack' in August 2015 and was shut down and remained offline for about two weeks after the incident. The attack had affected some 4,000 military and civilian personnel who worked for the Pentagon's Joint Staff.

"To my surprise, I could easily get access into the websites of Nepal's government, non-government agencies and it was a great fun to be involved in this," Inspector Pashupati Raya quoted Paudel as saying during preliminary investigation. Raya is the chief of the Cyber Crime Pillar of the Crime Division.

Paudel is one of the two members of the group named Anonymous #opnep and the other one is yet to be identified. "I had no idea accessing other sites was a crime and had no ill intention behind my activities," he confessed.

His father, who is a driver by profession, was also surprised to see his son arrested for 'computer-internet related' crimes.

"He was always glued to either compute or mobile phone. We were happy to see him in front of computer set thinking he was studying hard," the father explained to the police.

The Crime Division handed the accused to the Metropolitan Police Range Office, Kathmandu for further investigation, while the court has remanded him to four days in custody. The police will present him before the court on Thursday.

Nepal Police, which brought digital forensic tools and techniques in use since last December to fight cyber crimes, said the use of the technology was helpful in tracking the accused in the cyber crime. Digital forensic lab sets consist of field forensic devices, social media discovery and web collection technology devices, email investigation and analysis tools, USB dongle, mobile forensic software and live system imaging kits.

So far, Paudel is found to have hacked websites including those of National Tuberculosis Center, Small and Cottage Industry, Dairy Development Corporation among others.

If the allegations are proved, Paudel will be charged under the Electronic Transaction Act-2063 and might be slapped a fine of Rs 100,000 or sentenced to three years in prison or both.