India’s Largest Data Breach: 81.5 Cr Aadhaar Details Leaked

According to a report by News18, the Aadhaar details of almost 81.5 crore people have been leaked, and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is the source through which these details were leaked. This is probably the biggest data breach in India, and the hackers insist that they got these personal details through the COVID-19 test that was registered at ICMR.

What transpired, and how did it happen?

Initially, the data breach was first identified by an American cybersecurity and intelligence agency named Security. According to them, the hacker with the username ‘pwn001’ posted a thread on a platform called ‘Breach Forums’, where people discuss data breaches and leaks. This thread, in turn, helped the hacker to the personal details of over 81.5 crore Indians. 81.5 crore people almost equals the total population of countries like Iran, Turkey, and Germany, which come in the top 20 most populous countries in the world.

What kind of details were leaked?

The hackers were present on handle X, which was formerly Twitter. ‘pwn001’ was able to get the Aadhaar details, and passport details, along with the name, phone number, and addresses through the COVID-19 test information that was registered at ICMR. As evidence, they posted a spreadsheet containing four samples of leaked information and some parts of Aadhaar information. Once verified, it was noted that it is a truly valid Aadhaar card ID for individuals.

What preventive measures did ICMR and the government take?

 The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) or the government has not reportedly given any comment about this situation. However, the Central Bureau of Investigation will likely investigate this matter if they receive any complaints from ICMR or the government. Furthermore, various officials and ministries have been urged to look at this matter. A Standard Operating Procedure (SPO) has been set up to control the damage this data breach has caused.

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