The Delhi Police Cyber Crime Unit of Special Cell, strategic fusion and strategic ops (IFSO) has busted a WhatsApp hacking syndicate and arrested a Nigerian national, Chimelum Emmanuel Aniwetalu alias Maurice Degri.
The accused and his associates allegedly hack into people’s phones and send distress messages to the WhatsApp contacts seeking money, police said on Monday, November 1, adding that they sometimes posed as women.
Police said that Chimelum and his gang along operated the syndicate from Delhi and Bengaluru. Another accused has also been identified and raids are underway to arrest him.
According to the police, the matter came to light after the Cyber Cell unit received a complaint from a victim who alleged that his mobile phone was hacked by unknown people.
The complainant alleged that after taking control of his phone, the accused posed as a victim and started asking for money from people on the WhatsApp contact list by sending them distress messages.
The complainant further alleged that the accused contacted those who were on WhatsApp of the hacked mobile and also provided a back account to them for transferring money.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell) KPS Malhotra said technical and human intelligence led to identification of one of the accused and he was arrested under appropriate section of the law.
“The accused had sent bank account details to the businessman’s friends. We traced the details and, with the help of technical investigation, zeroed in on Chimelum. He was arrested from Delhi with 15 mobile phones and a laptop.” he stated.
“Through the seized laptop of the accused, we found out that they used applications which are being used to design various malware links. These links disguised in the form of some application were sent to to the victim’s devices,”
The accused created a dedicated application for each victim which when downloaded and installed on the victim’s phone sends its contacts, call logs and SMS on the accused server, the officer explained.
Further interrogation of the accused also revealed about his most prominent modus operandi which was to impersonate as a girl and then befriend other people on social media websites.
Once the person developed trust, the accused would then subsequently send a link, which used to be disguised in some manner, Malhotra said.
“Once the person clicks on that link, he or she would loose control over their social media profiles. Thereafter, Emmanuel used to operate the social media accounts for his nefarious goals. The accused has also cheated people on the pretext of selling herbal seeds,” the DCP said.
Police said Chimelum’s visa expired in 2018 and he created fake documents to pose as a United Nations asylum seeker.
He has been booked under Foreigners Act. The house owner who helped him with the documents is also being questioned in the case.