'Robin Hood' or drug-fuelled wannabes: Here's what Legion hacker group stands for

Hacking group Legion has warned of more cyber attacks on social media accounts of high-profile individuals in coming days, according to a news report. In an interview given by a Legion hacker to the US-based Washington Post, the group said they had ‘gigabytes of information relating to Indian public figures’.

According to the publication, Legion intends to release most of the information they get their hands on.

Legion shot into Indian public’s consciousness after breaking into Twitter account of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, posting politically damaging tweets to his 1.3 million followers. They also hacked Congress party’s Twitter account later, then posting out tweets to Rahul Gandhi.

The group then went after fugitive Indian businessman Vijay Mallya, who escaped to London in March this year after being failing to pay Rs 9,000 crore that he owed banks in India. Next on Legion’s hit list were two Indian journalists, Barkha Dutt and Ravish Kumar, working for the same news channel. Both Dutt and Kumar have been critical of the politics of the Modi administration. Dutt’s name also featured in the 2G telecom scandal for lobbying for a cabinet position for a minister who was the prime accused in the Rs 170,000 crore scam.

While Legion’s motives are still vague, some light has been shed on the hacking group which has created quite a stir in Indian social media.

Legion’s motives- ‘Robin Hood’ or ‘wannabes’

Legion said during the interview that they had no ‘political motive’ behind targeting Rahul Gandhi and Congress party. The Legion hacker said that they would rather their data determine what they release than hacking social media accounts of specific targets.

The hacker said that the group just happened to spot ‘political data’ among all the information it had got. Legion claims to have got into thousands of internet servers in India.

The reporter noticed during the interview that Legion may have been motivated by ‘disdain’ for their targets on account of their ‘intelligence’, apparently in Rahul Gandhi’s case, and ‘criminality’, as with Vijay Mallya. The hacker wanted to cast Legion as ‘Robin Hood’, the American scribe guessed.

Are they BJP supporters?

Legion has so far hit the main opposition party, Congress, and two journalists who are known to be critics of policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Many Twitter users have spotted the pattern and blamed the group for being a ‘front for the BJP’.

In a recent tweet posted from journalist Ravish Kumar’s Twitter account, Legion said they didn’t work for the BJP. According to the Post interview, Legion intends to target another runaway businessman Lalit Modi, who has been accused of facilitating money laundering through his brainchild Indian Premier League (IPL), an annual cricket tournament featuring Indian clubs.

Lalit Modi is seen as being close to influential leaders in the BJP.

Legion is based out of India

The article revealed that the Legion hacker was based out of an undisclosed location in India. The reporter said that he was asked to communicate  through an encrypted messaging app, so that their conversation didn’t leave any trail for authorities.

The hacker reportedly said that Legion comprised of less than 10 individuals based from several countries around the globe.

Legion’s drugs-fuelled lifestyle

The Legion hacker showed particular admiration for drugs and electronic music, indicative of their drug-fuelled and hippie lifestyle.

The mastermind behind the recent cyber hits revealed that ‘progressive house music’ was his real passion and hacking didn’t get his ‘adrenaline’ going.

The article notes that on several occasions during the interview, the Legion hacker went off the topic and started discussing drugs.

The hacker also said that he didn’t like New Delhi and may soon move to Russia to ‘do some more drugs’.

Legion’s future plans

Legion intends on releasing data about Lalit Modi soon. The hacker also revealed that they were more interested in targetting corporates and organisations than hitting accounts of individuals.

The hacker claimed to have already got into the server of Apollo Hospitals, an Indian healthcare provider.

Legion said that they might not release all the data they have accessed as it might cause ‘chaos’.