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Wipro Receives Ransom Threat: ''Pay Rs 500 Crore Or Will Poison Office!''

Software giant Wipro, which is India’s Information Technology Services Corporation, on May 5, 2017, received an email threat by an unidentified person, who warned the Company that he would poison the Campus with toxic drugs if the company failed to pay a sum of Rs. 500 crore. Headquartered in Bengaluru, the IT company, owned by Azim Premji, son of Mohamed Premji, has been under such attack for the first time.                         Since the receipt of the threat mail, the Company has beefed up its security. But one may think why has Wipro received a threat? Is it an insider job or the Company faces threat from the outside? Is this threat a warning sign of bio-terrorism? These questions have an answer in the Police investigations that have started following the threat. As the Police initiate investigations to find the culprit behind this intimidating mail, let us take a look at the details of the incident.  

The investigation!

The cybercrime Police of Bengaluru have started investigating the threat, and have registered a case under Section 66 F of the IT Act (cyber terrorism). According to media sources, Wipro authorities received the email at their Sarjapur office in the morning of May 5, 2017. The email was sent from the id Ramesh2@protonmail.com. Soon after receiving the threat email, Wipro increased security measures at all its office locations across the country.

Digital Money

The sender, who runs his email id by the name of Ramesh, wrote in the email that he would poison the premises unless he is paid INR 500 in bitcoin+. This is a type of digital currency that uses encryption techniques.

Ricin extracted from castor beans

In the email, the man has claimed that he was in possession of 1kilogram of Ricin and would send two grams in envelopes as a warning. What is Ricin? Ricin is a natural toxic protein from the extract of castor beans and can be used as a biological weapon.

Ricin attack in US, 2013

Ricin attack is categorized under Bio-terrorism. Two cases involving the use of Ricin were registered in the United States in April 2013. In one incident, on April 13 that year, an envelope containing Ricin, a highly toxic protein, was intercepted at the US Capitol's off-site mail facility in Washington, D.C. The target of the attack was the Senator Roger Wicker to whose address the letter had been sent. In another incident, on April 15, the letter was sent to the then President Barack Obama.

Security beefed up as security agencies investigate the conspirator

The conspirator in this incident seems to replicate this Ricin attack in India, which has raised alarm in Wipro as well as in the security agencies of the country. The Indian security establishment had in 2003 warned of such attacks by terrorist outfits. But the latest incident in Bengaluru is worrisome. Is it a threat from a terrorist outfit? Or is it an individual who is threatening a biological weapon attack? Or is it a gang of extortionists that is targeting the Software giant? The Police investigation will throw light on the mind behind the threat. 

Cyber security to be enhanced

Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime), Ravi S, while giving details said, “He gave two links to which Wipro should send money in bitcoins. If the company failed to do so by the due date, he threatened to spread the poison using drones.”

Begaluru Mirror tweets about the incident

As the probe to find the culprit is on the incident raises serious concerns about security. The fact that a person can issue a warning of a bio-attack doesn’t herald good news. Reporting on the incident, Bangalore Mirror said that the deadline for the extortion money is May 25. Hope the security agencies will investigate before the due date!