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Reliance Jio customer data allegedly compromised: report

LiveMint logoLiveMint 10-07-2017 Staff Writer

Mumbai: Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd’s customer data was redacted on an independent website, magicapk.com. Jio, which crossed the 100 million mark in February, barely six months after it was launched, ended the financial year with 108.9 million subscribers as of 31 March.

The report, published first in a late-night article on Sunday on Fonearena.com, alleged that “several sensitive details” were exposed, including customers’ first and last names, mobile numbers, email IDs, circles, SIM activation dates and even the Aadhaar numbers. The Aadhaar numbers, however, were redacted on magicapk.

“To my disbelief I found my own details in the database and also couple of my colleagues are affected too,” wrote Varun Krish, the author of the article. However, if you now click on Magicapk.com, it reads: “This Account has been suspended .” The Registrar of the site, according to the whois database, is Godaddy.com, LLC.

When contacted, a Reliance Jio spokesperson said, “We have come across the unverified and unsubstantiated claims of the website and are investigating it. Prima facie, the data appears to be unauthentic. We want to assure our subscribers that their data is safe and maintained with highest security. Data is only shared with authorities as per their requirement. We have informed law enforcement agencies about the claims of the website and will follow through to ensure strict action is taken.”

Fonearena.com, on its site, has responded with a: “We still stand by our story.”

The report assumes significance because the site exposed redacted Aadhaar card details. There are nearly 1.2 billion Aadhaar number holders in the country. Aadhaar aims to plug leakages in the delivery of state benefits, such as subsidized grains to the poor, and aid in generating a savings of about Rs70,000 crore a year for the government. But data breaches have rattled citizens, especially since India does not have a Privacy Act.

In March, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) blacklisted a common services centre for 10 years after it shared the Aadhaar details of former cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. On 25 April, Mint reported that many government departments, including the ministry of drinking water and sanitation, the Jharkhand Directorate of Social Security, and the Kerala government’s pension department, had published Aadhaar numbers of beneficiaries of the schemes they run in violation of the Aadhaar Act .

On 1 May, Bengaluru-based think tank Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) reported that a Central government ministry and a state government may have made public up to 135 million Aadhaar numbers .

Under the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, the unique identity number is mandatory only to receive social welfare benefits. However, tagging of the Aadhaar number is being made mandatory by the government for various schemes including PAN (permanent account number) accounts for taxation. On 7 July, the Supreme Court refused to pass any interim order against the mandatory use of Aadhaar for various government schemes. It, instead, suggested that petitioners call for immediate formation of a Constitution bench to decide on the case .

News of the alleged data leak also comes at a time when there have been a spate of cyber hacks.

For instance, just when companies started believing that WannaCry—the malware that held over 200,000 individuals across 10,000 organizations in nearly 100 countries to ransom—was on the wane, a virus christened GoldenEye (a variant of the Petya ransomware) by security firm Bitdefender Labs attacked companies, mostly in Ukraine. And while the target primarily appeared to be European countries, the ransomware was also reported to be making inroads in countries like India .

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