The information of hundreds of thousands of Indians who received the COVID vaccine was Leaked in a significant data breach and posted on a Telegram channel. Numerous reports claim that sensitive information, including a person’s phone number, gender, ID card details, and date of birth, leaked over Telegram. It could be obtained by typing a person’s name into a Telegram bot.
What really happened?
The records pertaining to the mobile number registered in the CoWin portal are accessible on the Malayalam news website channel. It is also feasible to determine which vaccination was given and where it was given.
According to The Report, the list of individuals whose data was exposed includes BJP Tamil Nadu president K Annamalai, Congress MP Karti Chidambaram, and former BJP union minister for health Harsh Vardhan. Telangana’s minister of information and communication technology, Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao, is also on the list.
Meity stated in response to the data leak, “It is old data, we are still confirming it. We have requested a report on the matter.
After the media Report, the bot was disabled, but experts said the incident raised severe issues because the information might be used for identity theft, phishing emails, con games, and extortion calls. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), the government’s nodal body, has opened an investigation into the situation in response to the
The central government declared the data breach reports regarding the repository of beneficiaries against Covid to be “mischievous in nature” on Monday and claimed the ‘bot’ that purportedly accessed the confidential data was not directly accessing the CoWIN database.
According to the first complaint by CERT-In, the government’s cybersecurity division, the government claimed the bot might be displaying information from “previously stolen data.” Reports.
The health ministry refuted the claim, asserting that no bots could access the information without first verifying with a one-time password.
“It is made clear that all of these rumours are false and malicious. The health ministry’s CoWIN interface is entirely secure and has sufficient data privacy protections. The security of the data on the CoWIN portal is being ensured in every way possible, according to a statement from the health ministry.
Meity said the CoWin program or database was not directly compromised, and the shared information appeared to be taken from a previous intrusion. But the hack again highlights the growing danger of cyber assaults, particularly on official websites.
Recent cases of data leak
- Dominos India 2021– Dominos India, a division of Jubilant FoodWorks, faced a cyberattack on May 22, 2021, which led to the disclosure of information from 180 million orders. The breach exposed order information, email addresses, phone numbers, and credit card information. Although Jubilant FoodWorks acknowledged a security breach, it refuted any illegal access to financial data.
- Air India – A cyberattack that affected Air India in May 2021 exposed the personal information of about 4.5 million customers globally. Personal information recorded between August 26, 2011, and February 3, 2021, including names, dates of birth, contact information, passport information, ticket details, frequent flyer information from Star Alliance and Air India, and credit card information, were exposed in the breach.
- Bigbasket – BigBasket, an online supermarket, had a data breach in November 2020, compromising the personal information of approximately 20 million consumers. Email IDs, password hashes, PINs, phone numbers, addresses, dates of birth, localities, and IP addresses were among the information released from an insecure database containing over 15 GB of customer data. BigBasket admitted to the incident and reported it to the Bengaluru Cyber Crime Department.
- Unacademy – Unacademy, an online learning platform, experienced a data breach in May 2020, compromising the email addresses of approximately 11 million subscribers. While no sensitive information, such as financial data or passwords, was compromised, user data, including IDs, passwords, date joined, last login date, email IDs, names, and user credentials, was. The breach was detected when user accounts were uncovered for sale on the dark web.
- 2022 Card Data- Cybersecurity researchers from AI-driven Singapore-based CloudSEK found a threat actor offering a database of 1.2 million cards for free on a Dark Web forum for crimes on October 12, 2022. This came after a second problem involving 7.9 million cardholder records that were reported on the BidenCash website. This comprised information pertaining to State Bank of India (SBI) clients. And other well-known companies were among those targeted in high-profile data breach cases that have surfaced in recent years.
Data breach cases are increasing daily, and attackers are mainly attacking the healthcare sectors and health details as they can easily find personal details. This recent CoWIN case has compromised thousands of people’s data. The All-India Institute of Medical Sciences’ systems were compromised by hackers a few months ago. Over 95% of adults have had their vaccinations, according to the most recent data, even if the precise number of persons impacted by the CoWin privacy breach could not be determined.
Author:Himanshi Singh , Associate, Policy & Advocacy,CyberPeace.