Former Air India Techie Held For Hacking Frequent Flyer Accounts
A former techie of Air India has been arrested for hacking into Air India’s Frequent Flyer member accounts and using those to book tickets sold to several travel agents.
The accused is a 23-year-old BCA graduate named Anitesh Giri Goswami from Pune and was arrested from Jaipur on Friday.
According to the Delhi police, a complaint was received in the Cyber Crime Cell of the Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) alleging some persons were selling Air India tickets by redeeming of miles of genuine Flying Returns Members after hacking into Frequent Flyer member accounts.
In a statement, the EOW said it was found that the hub of the scam was in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur. On the basis of electronic surveillance and information of a local informer, a raid was conducted at an apartment in Jaipur and Anitesh Giri Goswami was nabbed.
A laptop, several mobile phones and other relevant documents were also recovered from his possession.
The police claimed that Anitesh Giri Goswami was an IT expert, who had earlier worked with Kingfisher Airlines also, and was well versed with the online ticket-booking system and functioning of Air India’s intranet and internet-based systems.
Explaining the modus operandi, police said that Anitesh Giri Goswami first learnt the functioning of the ticketing system as well as the points/miles system of the airlines and then hacked into the Loyalty Plus programme website of Air India.
After gaining access, he used administrator user rights to upgrade several other user IDs with the same rights, police said.
Using these IDs, he verified hundreds of dormant accounts of Frequent Flyer members by uploading fraudulently prepared KYC (know your customer) documents, and used these membership accounts and the miles or points accumulated in these accounts for booking airline tickets. These were sold to various travel or ticketing agents based in Pune, Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai.
He gained access to the internal functioning of Air India website while working at Jodhpur airport and had left his Air India job to start exploiting the loopholes in the Frequent Flyer Programme’s functioning.