Hack­ers sell­ing voter ID data for mere 50p

Ex­perts say in­ter­con­nec­tion of iden­tity papers with fi­nan­cial ac­counts has raised the risks

Mail Today - - NEWS - By Chayyanika Nigam

THANKS to the poor se­cu­rity sys­tem of main­tain­ing con­fi­den­tial data­base of the cit­i­zens, af­ter Aad­haar data leak it now ap­pears your voter ID de­tails can be il­le­gally ac­cessed and sold for 50 paise to `2.50.

By us­ing cer­tain com­mands on the com­puter, all the con­fi­den­tial data such as the mo­bile num­ber, email ID, the doc­u­ments or bank ac­counts linked to the Voter ID cards, can be eas­ily ac­cessed by the hack­ers.

MAIL TO­DAY has learnt that hack­ers have been sell­ing this data in the un­der­ground mar­ket. “The rates of these con­fi­den­tial de­tails are as low as 50 paisa per in­for­ma­tion and goes up to `2.50. How­ever, the sell­ers pro­vide the data in bulk,” said a highly-placed source who is keep­ing a tight vigil on this il­le­gal prac­tice.

“The de­mand of the data­base of iden­tity proofs such as voter ID card and Aad­haar card has in­creased in the re­cent times. The in­ter­con­nec­tion of all doc­u­ments with fi­nan­cial ac­counts has made this data vul­ner­a­ble. Once the hack­ers ac­cess this data, they sell it to the cy­ber crim­i­nals or some­one who wants it,” said Kis­lay Chaud­hary, chair­man of In­dian Cy­ber Army, an as­so­ci­a­tion of eth­i­cal hack­ers.

“Gen­er­ally, de­tails such as a per­son’s name, age and lo­ca­tion (assem­bly con­stituency num­ber) and his fa­ther’s name are avail­able on the elec­tion com­mis­sion web­site,” an­other cy­ber ex­pert told MAIL TO­DAY.

“But now the hack­ers are ac­cess­ing other con­fi­den­tial de­tails that are not meant for the public do­main,” he added.

Mean­while, cy­ber ex­perts be­lieve that Ap­pli­ca­tion Pro­gram In­ter­face (API) — used by the gov­ern­ment to pro­tect con­fi­den­tial data­base — is not se­cured and can be eas­ily hacked.

Ex­perts said the easy avail­abil­ity of data en­cour­ages cy­ber crime and fi­nan­cial fraud.

“Once the voter ID data is ac­cessed, the per­son can eas­ily ac­cess all the other doc­u­ments linked to it, and also the bank de­tails and other fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions that are linked with it,” a source said.

The un­der­ground mar­ket is quite ac­tive these days and by ac­cess­ing the Aad­haar data­base, tar­get­ing vul­ner­a­ble per­sons be­come eas­ier.

“Fi­nan­cial fraud is just a call away as the caller has all your de­tails and you have no op­tion but to trust the caller,” the source said. Cy­ber ex­perts be­lieve that in the ab­sence of a good pri­vacy law and pro­vi­sions that pre­scribe pun­ish­ment in case of pri­vate data leak, pri­vate and public agen­cies in India are of­ten care­less about the han­dling of data.

The pri­vate de­tails of peo­ple have not only leaked from gov­ern­ment web­sites but also from pri­vate bod­ies such as banks, tele­com op­er­a­tors, in­sur­ance providers and fi­nan­cial or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Re­cently, a ma­jor data leak came to light which in­volved a web­site that was il­le­gally sell­ing pri­vate in­for­ma­tion of peo­ple.

The rates of con­fi­den­tial de­tails are as low as 50 paise per in­for­ma­tion and goes up to `2.50.’ —A SOURCE Ex­perts say easy data avail­abil­ity aids cy­ber crime

was when the voter ID card was in­tro­duced in India. 1993

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