Almost all Indian citizens – over a billion of people – are possibly vulnerable to identity theft. An Indian newspaper reporter has recently uncovered an alleged security breach in the country’s biometric database that contains personal data of its citizens.
The reporter who exposed the breach by gaining access to the entire Aadhaar database for only Rs 500 ($7.8), has received a criminal complaint by the government agency responsible for the database. In addition, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), responsible for collecting and administering all the data, diminished the importance of the breach, saying it contained “mere demographic” details.
“We are alarmed that the Indian government is not taking this seriously, and its agency is even planning to prosecute the reporter who exposed the danger to privacy that all Indian citizens face,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “It’s a brutal violation of freedom of speech and those who defend it. Also, diminishing the scale of this breach shows that Indians really cannot trust their government with their data.”
What can hypothetically happen when personal data of over a billion people is sold to third parties? “Stolen personal details can be used for a variety of criminal activities,” said Marty P. Kamden. “The data can be used for phishing attacks or to blackmail the victims of the breach. When this happens to over a billion people, it can cause complete chaos. It seems that Indian government is not particularly concerned about this violation of privacy of all citizens, so our advice is to encourage Indians to take their online privacy into their own hands.”
NordVPN recommends that people take care of their general online security at all times – not provide their information to third parties unless absolutely necessary, use only https URL, download a reliable VPN, use anti-virus and update firewall.