Adhaar Data: You might have heard about the massive data leak in India making headlines. It’s possibly the biggest ever in Indian history.

Resecurity, a US-based cybersecurity firm, reported that personal data of 81.5 crore Indians are on sale on the dark web.

So, what’s in this leaked data, and who’s behind it?

Well, the data on sale contains personal info including Aadhaar and passport details, names, contact details, temporary and permanent addresses, gender, age, district and state names, pincodes, and more, according to the report.

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Some reports even suggest that this data could be from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), extracted from the Covid-19 test details of people.

ICMR has been under multiple cyberattack attempts since February, and central agencies were aware of this. They had over 6,000 attempts to hack the ICMR servers last year.

Resecurity noticed the data breach and mentioned a threat actor by the username ‘pwn0001’ put up a spreadsheet on Breach Forums, offering access to 815 million ‘Indian Citizen Aadhaar and Passport’ records on October 9. 

These spreadsheets had a bit of Aadhaar data as proof. One piece even contained about 1 lakh files with the personal details of Indian citizens.

Now, here’s the crazy part. The hackers were willing to sell the entire Aadhaar and Indian passport dataset for just $80,000 (about Rs. 66 lakhs). Seems like a low price for such sensitive data, doesn’t it?

What are the big data breaches that have happened lately?

So here, we have gathered some of the biggest data breaches in the last two years, from 2021 to 2023.

April 2021

Upstox, a discount broker, had a security breach, and KYC documents and other data of about 25 lakh customers were stolen.

May 2021

Dominos India suffered a cyberattack, leaking data from 180 million orders and 1 million credit card details.

May 2021

Air India faced a cyberattack compromising the personal details of ~4.5 million customers, including their DOB, phone numbers, ticket and passport details, and credit card data.

April 2022

A Russian malware planted from a server in Nigeria disrupted Oil India’s system in Assam, demanding over Rs. 57 crore as ransom.

March 2023 

Sun Pharma reported an “information security incident”, involving the theft of certain file systems and a few company and personal data.

June 2023

AIIMS, New Delhi, experienced the second cyberattack within a year. 

Before this, the cyberattack disrupted its services in November 2022, demanding Rs. 200 crore in cryptocurrency.

Now the big question is: What’s the government doing about this situation?

Well, based on what the reports say, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is currently looking into the breach that was discovered by hacker “pwn0001.” 

They’ve also deployed the required Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) to control further damage.

Though the government hasn’t officially confirmed the data breach, this has left people wondering who the rest of the over 50 crores people are that haven’t had their data leaked, and what sets them apart from the 81.5 crore Indians whose data might be at risk.

And if the reports turn out to be true, then why isn’t the government talking about it, and what’s their plan? 

Or will these hackers just disappear like before, or do we have no choice but to ignore such news?

What do you have to say about this?

Written By Shivani Singh

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