Skip to main content

135 million aadhaar details, 100 million bank accounts "leaked" from government websites: Researchers

Screenshot from a NREGA site: Researchers hide details 
Counterview Desk
A top study by the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) has said that “estimated number of aadhaar numbers leaked” through top portals which handle aadhaar “could be around 130-135 million”. Worse, it says, the number of bank accounts numbers leaked would be “around 100 million”.
The study, carried out by researchers Amber Sinha and Srinivas Kodali, adds, “While these numbers are only from two major government programmes of pensions and rural employment schemes, other major schemes, who have also used aadhaar for direct bank transfer (DBT) could have leaked personally identifiable information (PII) similarly due to lack of information security practices.”
Pointing out that “over 23 crore beneficiaries have been brought under aadhaar programme for DBT”, the study, titled “Information Security Practices of Aadhaar (Or Lack Thereof)”, says, “Government schemes dashboard and portals demonstrate … dangers of ill-conceived data driven policies and transparency measures without proper consideration to data security measures.”
Claiming to have a closer look at the databases publicly available portals, the researchers identify four of them a pool of other government websites for examination:
A welfare programme by the Ministry of Rural Development, the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) portal, even as seeking to provide public assistance to its citizens in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, offers information about “job card number, bank account number, name, aadhaar number, account frozen status”, the researchers say.
Pointing out that “one of the url query parameters of website showing the masked personal details was modified from nologin to login”, they say, the “control access to login based pages were allowed providing unmasked details without the need for a password.”
Another NREGA site screenshot by researchers
In fact, they say, the Data Download Option feature “allows download of beneficiary details mentioned above such as Beneficiary No, Name, Father’s/Husband’s Name, Age, Gender, Bank or Post Office Account No for beneficiaries receiving disbursement via bank transfer and Aadhaar Numbers for each area, district and state.”
They add, “The NSAP portal lists 94,32,605 banks accounts linked with aadhaar numbers, and 14,98,919 post office accounts linked with aadhaar numbers. While the portal has 1,59,42,083 aadhaar numbers in total, not all of whom are linked to bank accounts.”
Also giving the example of the national rural job guarantee scheme, popularly called NREGA, the researchers say, its portal provides DBT reports containing “various sub-sections including one called ‘Dynamic Report on Worker Account Detail’,” with details like “Job card number, aadhaar number, bank/postal account number, number of days worked”, and so on.
“As per the NREGA portal, there were 78,74,315 post office accounts of individual workers seeded with aadhaar numbers, and 8,24,22,161 bank accounts of individual workers with aadhaar numbers. The total number of Aadhaar numbers stored by portal are at 10,96,41,502”, they add.
Providig similar instances form two other sources, the researchers insist, “The availability of large datasets of aadhaar numbers along with bank account numbers, phone numbers on the internet increases the risk of financial fraud.”
Underlining that “aadhaar data makes this process much easier for fraud and increases the risk around transactions”, they say, “In the US, the ease of getting Social Security Numbers from public databases has resulted in numerous cases of identity theft. These risks increase multifold in India due the proliferation of aadhaar numbers and other related data available.”

Comments

TRENDING

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

'Wedding of the century': What does Mukesh Ambani want to prove by such extravaganza?

By NS Venkataraman*  Mukesh  Ambani,   a renowned Indian industrialist who is said to be the richest person in India and  one of the richest persons in the world,   has just now conducted the wedding celebration of  his son in Mumbai,   with unheard level of lavishness in India.

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

How US is using Tibetans to provoke conflict with China 'ignoring' India

By Lobsang Tenzin*  On July 12, US President Joe Biden signed the Resolve Tibet Act, and Tibetans cheered for it, believing that the law promotes a resolution of the dispute between Tibet and China. Is this true? First, let's look at the issue of the ownership of Tibet. 

Over 3.8 billion animals at risk: India on crossroad in animal welfare practices

By Rupali Soni*  In a collaborative effort, the India Animal Fund and Dasra have unveiled their report , "Our Shared Future | Securing Animal Welfare, Human Wellbeing, and Sustainability in India." This landscape report provides a thorough overview of animal welfare and underscores its indispensable role within India's socio-economic and ecological frameworks. It also illustrates how animal welfare is intricately intertwined with public health, labor welfare, and climate resilience.