Chatbot Of IRCTC

Newly Launched Chatbot Of IRCTC Getting Remarkable Response

The newly launched Chatbot of IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited) is getting remarkable response from the train passengers during the beta launch as over 1 billion people have used it, a senior IRCTC official said.

While talking to ANI, the official said that the new conversational and convenient feature to book railway tickets enables customers to interact with the system via voice, chat and click based system. Additionally, the system requires no passwords and works based on the One Time Password (OTP).
The official also told that the technology is powered by CoRover, a conversational AI Platform which is being used by more than 1 billion users.

“In our constant pursuit to enhance the user experience, leveraging new age technologies, we are today taking a giant leap. Now, passengers can book their train ticket in a conversational manner, leveraging our AI Virtual Assistant, AskDISHA 2.0, powered by CoRover, the Conversational AI platform, used by more than 1 billion users.”

The improved Virtual Assistant, AskDISHA 2.0 has many features like booking tickets, checking PNR status, cancelling tickets, changing boarding station, checking refund status and answering queries like Tatkal timings.

The official further informed that this is a landmark step towards enhancing the passenger experience.

“First time, the users can book ticket without knowing their IRCTC password, it will be possible just with an OTP. AskDISHA 2.0 has also proven to be a very effective instrument and the addition of voice booking and will make it even easier for travellers to plan their trips,” the official added.

The senior official also estimated that at least 25 percent of clients will be switching to this option in the future.

“It is expected that at least 25 per cent of clients will be switching to this option in the future and also attracting new users who want to book their tickets using the conversational tool rather than chatting. In August 2022, AskDISHA has got around 95 lakh queries, which includes booking request, cancellation and more. Also, it had 88% positive feedback with the AI Accuracy rate of 99 per cent,” the official told ANI.

The official further talked about the “Technological Revolution” in the Indian Railways under the current leadership and government.

“It is notable that the Indian Railways, under the leadership of the Minister for Railways and IT have been undergoing a massive technological revolution in pursuance of Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Digital India’, ‘Made in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’,” the official further said.

“Under the aegis of the present government, the Indian Railways, being one of the largest rail networks of the world have been achieving new milestones of transformation every day in various spheres for improving the travel experience of the passengers,” the official added.

The new avatar of IRCTC’s chatbot, AskDISHA 2.0, aims to help users get authentic, correct and instant answers to their queries. It will not just save time and enhance the user experience, but will also help them in doing end-to-end real-time transactions, the official said. (ANI)

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Cyber Crime I

Cyber Crime I – 'Busting An e-Ticket Racket'

I knew that change was near, and that nature of crime was going to be transformed with changing technology. Without any official backing, I started to read about cyber crimes. I then pursued professional courses on the subject and today I am a PhD holder. I was also conferred with the Cyber Cop of the Year (2012) award by Data Security Council of India (DSCI) NASSCOM.

Over the past few years, my interest in cyber crime and financial fraud has brought me many digital crime assignments from central agencies and other government bodies. Recently, I busted a gang of software sellers, who helped railway touts book train tickets within a fraction of seconds. Booking train tickets on the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website generally takes several minutes, even with high-speed Internet connections.

Tracking this multi-crore, pan-India racket was a tough job. The software they used bypassed all the security norms put in place by the Central government website. The agents would merely fill in the details of the passengers and the required train, along with the mode of payment and voila… the tickets were booked. An in-depth analysis of the software showed that it provided proxy IP addresses; bypassed IRCTC captcha and bank OTP; allowed forms autofill; and logins with multiple IDs.

The servers were usually based outside India, allowing the users to fraudulently gain unauthorised access to a computer network in contravention of rules and regulations. These software makers were based out of major metro cities and were connected with agents through different WhatsApp groups. It was thus important for us to penetrate their network.

My team also went undercover and one of our team members posed as a customer to see how an agent booked the ticket. And then we followed the electronic trail. Following the crackdown, IRCTC has introduced multiple security features to their website to keep a check on such bookings. But you can never be sure of a foolproof system.

The nature and magnitude of cyber crimes are changing every day. Last month, I arrested four hackers, who booked tickets online from the website of the UP’s State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) without paying up. We managed to figure their modus operandi before they could cause a bigger damage. We found that they were exploiting the vulnerabilities of the online payment system of the UPSRTC website to book counterfeit e-tickets through a software called ‘Burp Suite’. After procuring these free tickets, they would then sell them on WhatsApp and Facebook groups.

Robbers no longer need to enter a bank with guns to steal money, it can happen with just a click of a button. Here, the robber doesn’t have a face, or any record, all we have is a digital footprint. He or She can operate from any part of the world. Most cyber criminals are young and energetic and eager to learn. They know a bit of scripting.

And with a few sessions of hacking tutorials available on the internet, they are ready for the kill. They are learning something new each day, so cops working on cyber crime, need to hone their skills every day. The digital world comes with its own set of banes. While technology has made our lives hassle-free, it has also opened new avenues for thefts and frauds. From withdrawing money through cloned cards to trading vital information on the web, all this is happening in India. Unfortunately, not many in our law enforcement agencies are skilled enough to tackle such crimes.

Food poisoning hits Tejas Express

And its India’s best train yet

The Tejas Express is India’s first high-speed train and runs five days between Mumbai and Goa, except for monsoon season when it runs three days. Capable of 200 kmph, the train averages 130 kmph on its eight-hour run. A showpiece of the Indian Railways, the train features 9-inch infotainment screens with every seat, vaccum bio-toilets, tea- and coffee-vending machines, secured gangways, automatic doors—features that make it a semi-luxury train. It was launched on May 22 this year, then railway minister Suresh Prabhu promising it would “redefine the travel experience in India”. The next Tejas routes are Delhi-Lucknow and Delhi-Chandigarh.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), responsible for catering on the Tejas, has launched an investigation. A Central Railway official, who didn’t want to be named, said: “The passengers complained of uneasiness and nausea around 12.10 p.m. after eating the breakfast served to them. The train was stopped at Chiplon railway station around 3.15 p.m. and the passengers who complained were deboarded.” The train was on its way from Goa’s Karmali to Mumbai’s Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus. “The Konkan Railway officials had arranged first aid and ambulances for the passengers. And the passengers were taken to government and private hospital,” he said. In response to the food quality complaint, the IRCTC in a series of tweets said: “Food samples have been taken for investigation. A total of 230 breakfast (117 Vegetarian + 113 Non Vegetarian) have been served.” “Director Catering services is proceeding to Mumbai to follow up the matter. Follow of action and monitoring is being done to ensure proper assistance.”

A disgusting first run 

The Tejas Express had a particularly inauspicious start when it was first flagged off on May 22. To begin with, some coaches of the train that were manufactured at Kapurthala reached Mumbai with shattered windows even before the inaugural journey. Vandalism remains on track. Then, on the first run, the train came back to Mumbai with damaged infotainment screens—mostly because passengers tried to remove them—and stolen headphones. The toilets, despite having vacuum disposal, hadn’t been flushed after use and were horribly dirty. Litter marked the length of the train.
  Meanwhile, IRCTC Chairman and Managing Director M.P. Mall said: “The food was supplied from Madgaon (Goa) base kitchen under our supervision and nothing abnormal was reported. But everything is being investigated.” He also said that the IRCTC has collected the raw material from the kitchen. Mall said that the passengers were provided breakfast along with Knorr soup. “We are investigating the entire matter,” he said, adding that he has spoken to passngers admitted in hospitals. “The passengers admitted in hospital are out of danger,” the IRCTC official added. (with IANS) // ]]>