Anoushka Mehta

Anoushka Mehta is currently a penultimate year law student (B.A., LL.B) (Hons.) at Maharashtra National Law University Mumbai. She is a reviewer at Economic & Political Weekly and is also pursuing a Diploma in Advanced Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. She aims to write on legal issues alongside working in the area of corporate law.

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Paytm Mall Issues Legal Notice to Cyble Over its Report Claiming Serious Data Breach

Last month, a blog post published on Cyble’s website claimed that a hacker under the alias 'John Wick' breached the Paytm Mall database

Grey hat hacker demanded ransom worth $4000, claims Cyble

Paytm Mall, the Indian e-commerce platform, has issued a legal notice to US-based cyber-risk intelligence firm Cyble Inc. on Monday. The legal notice was issued in response to Cyble’s blog post which claimed that the e-commerce platform has suffered a massive data breach. On 30 August, Cyble alleged in a post that Paytm Mall was hacked by a cybercrime group under the alias ‘John Wick’, which led the hacker to get unrestricted and complete access to the entire database of the company. Moreover, Cyble also mentioned that the ‘grey hat’ hacker had demanded a ransom of 10 Ethereum (ETH), equivalent to USD 4,000 from Paytm Mall. 

Paytm mall gives one week notice to issue a public clarification

Paytm Mall has accused Cyble of intentionally spreading misinformation. The e-commerce company has also contended that the US-based company did not conduct proper due diligence to verify facts in this case. Paytm mall reprimanded Cyble for unethical and unprofessional conduct in its notice. 

“The most astonishing fact is that since your organisation is in the business of providing services around this area i.e. cyber threats, risks, and cyber security, thus we expected more sensible, professional and ethical standards from your side," said Paytm Mall to Cyble, in the notice which seeks to sue Cycle on defamation charges if the company does not comply as expected. 

Additionally, the ‘seize and desist’ legal notice also seeks Cyble to immediately stop making any further false claims on the said matter, and communicate clearly in the public forum stating that the contents of its August 30 blog post are incorrect. Cyble has been given a week to comply with the requests. In case of non-compliance, the e-commerce firm stated that it will approach the Courts and initiate civil and criminal proceedings against the cybersecurity company.

 “[...]please note that your aforesaid unprofessional and callous act in circulating an unverified and false piece of information in the public has already done damage to the company, as our customers are completely disrupted and terrified by this information," added Paytm Mall, in its legal notice.

What do grey hat hackers do?

A ‘grey hat’ hacker looks for loopholes in platforms and systems, without the owner’s knowledge and asks for a fee to fix the issue. ‘John Wick’ is considered a very powerful hacker and had recently hacked the Twitter account of Narendra Modi’s website.

Hacker denies claims

Cyble also claims that ‘John Wick’ has broken into various Indian companies and collected ransom from various Indian organizations including OTT platform Zee5, fintech start-ups, Stashfin, Sumo Payroll, Stashfin, i2ifunding, through other aliases such as ‘South Korea’ and ‘HCKINDIA’. However, the hacker in question has tweeted that he did not hack ‘Paytm Mall’s website.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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Paytm Mall Cyble Inc data breach

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