Naga Venkata Vaibhav Saladi, an engineer working at Infosys, Bangalore, has recently been in limelight on social media and is probably the most talked about person in the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2016 community, but not for good reasons. The conducting authorities for CAT 2016 acknowledged there was a malpractice in the exam this year. While the world claims he posted some questions online, but Saladi told PaGaLGuY that his account was hacked into and he was not part of the crime.
We have since, weighed in the circumstances against some facts. To begin with, in an interview with PaGaLGuY, Saladi said he didn’t want anybody to know that he is taking CAT 2016, yet he posted a question on Facebook (FB) 3 days before the exam, with #CATfever, one additional post, and a poll on ‘CAT Preparation – iQuanta’ group on December 3. In Saladi’s defence, perhaps his FB account was hacked only on December 4.
According to published reports, about 6,00,000 hackers go after FB every day. PaGaLGuY spoke to experts to understand how can one hack an FB account, and if it is a cake walk.
Experts said, unless you know how to exploit the security measures of FB, it is difficult to get access to someone else’s FB account. While hacking looks cool and fancy in popular films, where a hacker takes seconds to gain access to people’s accounts, in real life, that’s not the case.
If the hacker is able to access someone’s account in a jiffy, then it is fair to believe, that he knows his coding, like a layman knows ABCD or he has access to the password. This fact is significant because when one logs-in from a new system, FB sends a notification, and email on the registered ID stating that it was logged in from ‘so and so’ location, at ‘so and so’ hour.
If one takes more than three attempts to access an account, FB will send a security mail stating someone is trying to log-in your account. We understand that Saladi was probably busy juggling between work, and preparing for CAT, he didn’t get time to check his mail and FB account.
As per FB’s security feature, it allows one to try anywhere between 10-15 log-in attempts, before locking the account temporarily. After which one needs to verify the identity and reset the password, to access the account.
One of the experts pondered, it seems that the hacker is not too smart. If his/her motive was to cheat, then why use FB as a medium, and not a more private application called ‘Whatsapp’, with end-to-end encryption feature, not a living soul would have caught him.
If cheating was indeed premeditated as it seems in this case, wouldn’t it have made more sense to create a Whatsapp group with the sole purpose of people helping the ‘hacker’ to get questions solved?
However, if the motive was to create some nuisance, he/she did succeed. There was a huge hue and cry, and some candidates are even signing a petition for a re-examination.
This seems to be a puzzle with only one clue in place, at least one of the CAT aspirants managed to sneak a smart phone inside an examination hall.
However, the question remains, who hacked Saladi’s FB account. Rumour is that Saladi’s paper has been disqualified. When PaGaLGuY called CAT 2016 office at the Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore (IIM- B), they had only one thing to say – It’s been taken care of. But nobody knows how or what has been taken care of.
With Saladi staying off the grid, not even answering his phone, and IIM-B’s one odd statement; it is a little difficult to solve this mystery.
So, put on your Sherlock hats, get in the zone, and tell us what you think.