September 17, 2008

Be Careful, You’re Alone on the E-Way

By Avinash Kamath

MUMBAI: Manohar Kamath and his family feel let down.

It was the Wi-Fi system installed at his firm in Chembur that terrorists hacked into and used to send an e-mail claiming responsibility for the Delhi blasts. Cops and the media have made a beeline for his house since then but, in the midst of all this, no one has asked one question that is begging to be asked: what are internet service-providers and the government doing to safeguard the common internet user who does not have any protection against cyber- savvy terrorists?

"The media was prompt in hounding me and my family members for quotes. But has anyone tried to find out why no effort has been made by the authorities to secure the hundreds of Wi-Fi connections in the city?" the 66-year-old Mankhurd resident asked on Monday.

"Service-providers are more interested in increasing their customer base. The back-to-back blasts prove more care needs to be taken to secure Wi-Fi systems so that innocents like me are not hounded," he said.

"People with Wi-Fi networks should learn a lesson now. They should get together and take steps to secure their systems. A seminar should be organised at the earliest to make people aware of the system's pitfalls. No one is safe now," he said, adding: "I will wait till the Anti-Terrorism Squad completes its probe. After that I will contact experts and secure my system."

Kamath also wants ATS sleuths to chip in with their expertise. "The Ken Haywood episode and now my case should be enough for the law-enforcing agencies to take hacking more seriously. They should inspect all Wi-Fi connections in the city and secure them. But I don't think the authorities are interested. They just want to target innocent businessmen and make money by collecting fines," a bitter Kamath said.

He is also angry with the media for having made a spectacle of him and his family members. "Not only did they bug me for obvious quotes but also dragged my wife, Kamal, 38-year-old son Nikhil and his wife, Sarika, into the controversy. Even more ridiculous was the fact that a paper published a photo of my distant relative and put my name under the picture," he rued.

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