Pornhub launches its own bug bounty programme with rewards up to $25,000
Pornhub launches its own bug bounty programme with rewards up to $25,000Reuters

A 19-year-old from Odisha has been accused of hacking into a Hyderabad-based company. While teenage hackers are relatively commonplace, this teenager is said to have managed to teach himself how to hack despite barely speaking English.

Himalaya Mohanty, from the Balasore district of Odisha, was picked up by the police after he allegedly hacked into the systems of Hyderabad-based Lloyd Electricals and Engineering Ltd and ran up a phone bill of Rs. 60 lakh, according to a statement issued by the Cyberabad Police Commissionerate in Hyderabad.

The young hacker reportedly used an old mobile phone as part of his modus operandi, said the police.

According to the statement, the Odisha teen hacked the company's EPABX toll-free line — which usually allows only incoming calls — and enabled its outgoing facility. He reportedly shared this on his website, which many people accessed and used the code there to make free calls through Lloyd's number. 

As a result, the company reportedly received a monthly phone bill of Rs. 60 lakh one month, as opposed to the average of Rs. 1 lakh, and registered a complaint with the police.

The cops conducted forensic tests after receiving the complaint, which led them to Mohanty's IP address and then to his subsequent arrest, Cyber Crime Inspector Md Riyazuddin told the International Business Times, India.

Riyazuddin said: "Mohanty was arrested on May 25 and produced before a local court before being taken to Hyderabad. He has been charged under Sections 43G and 66 of the Information Technology Act 2000 as well as under IPC Sections 468 and 471." According to Riyazuddin, Mohanty may also be charged under the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885.

On being questioned, Mohanty revealed that he learnt how to hack with the help of his mobile phone, and later used the skills on Lloyd's toll-free number, said the police statement.

Mohanty had apparently learnt how to hack through online forums, where he communicated with the aid of a translation app. The youth, who is pursuing a degree in an ITI, reportedly offered to teach people how to hack and provided a contact number on his website. When interested users would dial the number, their devices would be infected with a Trojan, the police said.

"All this was done by him without gaining financial benefit," the police said in the statement.