Hackers Target Ola Online Taxi Service

Mumbai-based Ola, an online taxi and car rental booking service, is yet another victim of a hack attack. The news was spread two days ago on Reddit, which posted a short explanation text from the hackers themselves, “TeamUnknown.” The hackers claim they were able to access “user details” along with credit card transaction history and unused vouchers.

At this point in time, no one knows who they are or where they are based. They have however reassured the Ola community that they will not “ be using credit card details and voucher codes.”

Through its app, website or via traditional calls, Ola allows you to book a cab or rent a car. Its search engine works similarly to an online flight search service with the added value that it provides ratings from customers. Today, it is one of the fastest growing taxi hiring companies in India. And whenever an online service is popular, it also becomes a popular target for cybercrime. Just take a look at poor (albeit very popular) Apple Pay. So Ola should, to some extent, take the hack attack as a compliment.

But did the hackers really hack into Ola’s online system? Yesterday, the Indian cab company claimed on its blog that the hackers didn’t actually hack the main website, but a staging environment which had been exposed for one of their test runs and which only included dummy data. “That means, no real user details, passwords or any such information can be accessed on this platform,” according to a Ola’s blog post on the topic. If this turns out to be the case, what was supposed to be a big fail could turn out to be a very smart move from Ola.

With cyber attacks on the rise, it is not surprising that Ola staged a server. Some companies even go a step further, not waiting to be a target. Security firm Cryptosense will hack its clients to prevent them from getting hacked. It has a model checker that is consciously looking to think of secure breaches before cybercriminals get a chance to test drive them in a real attack.

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The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.

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