Busi­ness­man Ku­mar’s Fury Af­ter email Hacked, Spark Iden­ti­fies Prob­lem

Fiji Sun - - International Business - Feed­back: maraia.vula@fi­jisun.com.fj

AFi­jian busi­ness­man in New Zealand is fu­ri­ous af­ter his Xtra email ac­count was hacked and his provi­ider’s lack­lus­tre re­sponse. To make mat­ters worse, hack­ers at­tempted to lure pay­ees to trans­fer money into a fake bank ac­count, claim­ing orig­i­nal pay­ments had not been com­pleted. Vi­nay Ku­mar told the New Zealand Her­ald he first no­ticed the is­sue on Tues­day and spent more than 48 hours try­ing to con­vince providers Spark of the sever­ity of his situation.

“[The hack­ers] are send­ing emails of fake bank ac­counts to my sup­pli­ers to give money to them. I in­ter­cepted 20,000 pay­ments a day, luck­ily I stopped it,” he said.

“Since Tues­day I’ve been ring­ing to the Philip­pines, they don’t re­ally care there, they just say change your pass­word.” Mr Ku­mar at­tempted to go to his lo­cal Spark store and ad­dress the mat­ter with them but the store was closed and he had to call the helpline.

He said the peo­ple in the Philip­pines weren’t able to of­fer any rea­son­able help and he needed to speak to some­one from New Zealand right away.

“I don’t know what they’re do­ing. I have been on the phone with them [Thurs­day] , yes­ter­day and Tues­day,” he said. “Three of my sup­pli­ers were asked to send money to a fake ac­count in the US and I got re­ally scared they would make pay­ment to a fake ac­count.”

A Spark spokesper­son from New Zealand man­aged to get in touch with Ku­mar yes­ter­day and told him he hadn’t seen any­thing like it be­fore.

Mr Ku­mar was told Spark would in­quire about the situation and get back to him.

In a state­ment, a Spark spokesper­son told the Her­ald they were look­ing into “why the is­sue wasn’t ap­pro­pri­ately es­ca­lated ear­lier.”

The spokesper­son said Mr Ku­mar com­plained to them about his so­cial me­dia ac­count be­ing hacked prior to his Xtra email, point­ing to a pos­si­ble con­nec­tion be­tween the two in­ci­dents. How­ever, Mr Ku­mar said Spark’s re­sponse wasn’t good enough and peo­ple he’s in busi­ness with could have lost thou­sands. “Email is a main source of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, it’s used ev­ery­where. Th­ese peo­ple aren’t tak­ing it se­ri­ously and from a busi­ness per­spec­tive what do you do,” he said.

“This has been my email for the past 20 years, this is why I don’t change it.”

Spark has also un­der­taken a re­view to see if any other ac­counts had sim­i­lar un­usual ac­tiv­ity, iden­ti­fy­ing “a small num­ber of ac­counts” which had been tar­geted by a sim­i­lar pro­file of a hacker.

“We are not aware that ei­ther Mr Ku­mar or any of th­ese Xtra cus­tomers have ex­pe­ri­enced any fi­nan­cial loss as a re­sult,” the spokesper­son said.

Fi­jian busi­ness­man Vi­nay Ku­mar.

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