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

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Reverse progress in fight against hunger? 15.3% of India undernourished: GHI

By Harchand Ram*  Every year October 16 is observed as World Food Day to celebrate the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In the year 2021, the theme for World Food Day is “Our actions are our Future-Better Production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Global Hunger Index: Govt of India response pathetic, 'lacks' scientific empirical evidence

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Come 16 October – and the world once again focused on the most basic need for a person’s survival: food! The first World Food Day was observed in 1994, to mark the launch of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Ever since, the day is marked to highlight the need and importance of food security across the world. The significance is accentuated especially in these difficult times like the C-19 povidandemic. The theme for 2021 is ‘Safe Food Now for a Healthier Tomorrow’, emphasising on the various immediate and long-term benefits of consuming safe and healthy food.

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.