Hyderabad cops nab reward-winning hacker who stole from payment gateways

Published: Published Date – 04:11 PM, Wed – 11 May 22

Hyderabad: A youngster, who earlier won a $ 100 reward for exposing security vulnerabilities of an online payment firm, was arrested by the Hyderabad City Police for hacking into the account of another e-payment company and stealing cash. The police took help from an ethical hacker to nab the cunning fraudster.

Vannam Sriram Dinesh Kumar, 34, of Vijayawada, a BSc Computer Science graduate and BTech dropout, was earlier into mobile application development apart from dabbling in food delivery business, but remained unsuccessful. According to the police, Dinesh Kumar then hacked into accounts of online payment companies and stole huge amounts.

“During questioning, he admitted to having withdrawn around Rs.3 crore over a period of time from different companies including Rs.52.9 lakh from PayG, a Hyderabad-based payment gateway,” City Police Commissioner CV Anand said at a press conference here on Wednesday.

Dinesh Kumar initially created a user ID in the payment gateway through an email account he created fraudulently. Using software tools, which the police did not reveal, he evaluated the vulnerabilities of PayG.

“After studying the loopholes in the security system, he obtained the user ID of the super admin and gained access to the main data server. After entering the account, he transferred Rs.52.9 lakh to three other bank accounts, ”Anand said, adding that the amount was later transferred to two companies dealing with cryptocurrency. He also sold the bitcoins and re-routed the cash back to his own bank accounts.

The police, who used the services of an ethical hacker to identify the fraud committed by Dinesh Kumar, found that the suspect was withdrawing money in small amounts using 33 debit and credit cards. “He knew well that if he withdrew big amounts above Rs.3 lakh in one go, the firm would notice it. So he took out Rs.52.9 lakh in 20 transactions, ”the Commissioner said.

Previously, two cases were registered against Dinesh Kumar in Gurgaon and Delhi for hacking into two online payment companies and stealing Rs.20 lakh and Rs.60 lakh.

Anand said the police would be writing to the Reserve Bank of India to suspend PayG operations as it had failed to take adequate security measures.

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