Data leak shock for In­dia’s new­est tele­coms com­pany

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES - Rahul Bha­tia

PO­LICE in the western In­dian state of Ra­jasthan yes­ter­day de­tained a man sus­pected of in­volve­ment in what might be a ma­jor leak of user data from In­dia’s new­est tele­coms com­pany Jio, a po­lice of­fi­cial said.

Jio, run by In­dia’s rich­est man, Mukesh Am­bani, and his con­glom­er­ate Re­liance In­dus­tries, said this week that it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether per­sonal data of more than 100 mil­lion of its cus­tomers had been leaked to a web­site named “Mag­i­”.

The com­pany said it was work­ing with law en­force­ment agen­cies to in­ves­ti­gate the al­leged leak, which cy­ber­se­cu­rity an­a­lysts said could be the first large-scale data leak from an In­dian tele­coms firm.

The lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cial, who asked not to be named, said Im­ran Ch­himpa was de­tained yes­ter­day.

In a July 5 post on Frendz4m, an on­line mes­sage board, a per­son with Ch­himpa’s In­ter­net Pro­to­col (IP) ad­dress and us­ing the han­dle “im­ranch­himpa”, posted a link to “Mag­i­capk. com” say­ing that the site could pro­vide per­sonal user de­tails of any­one with a Jio con­nec­tion.

The post said that the data was ob­tained from orig­i­nal doc­u­ments.

The pro­pri­etor of the lo­cal in­ter­net ser­vice provider said po­lice asked him for the in­stal­la­tion ad­dress of that par­tic­u­lar IP ad­dress, and made him ac­com­pany them to Ch­himpa’s home, where he was later de­tained.

A spokesper­son for Jio said there was no im­me­di­ate com­ment on the com­pany’s own in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the al­leged leak.

On Mon­day, Jio said the data leak ap­peared to be “unau­then­tic”, and the com­pany’s sub­scriber data was safe and main­tained with the high­est se­cu­rity.

Some Jio users, though, took to Twit­ter to say they were con­cerned that per­sonal in­for­ma­tion on Mag­i­ could be ac­cu­rate.

Some In­dian me­dia said their own checks sug­gested leaked data were au­then­tic.

The In­dian Ex­press news­pa­per said it was able to cross-ver­ify de­tails on a num­ber of Jio cus­tomers.

The Mag­i­ web­site showed as “sus­pended” from late Sun­day.

Jio was launched last Septem­ber and al­ready boasts more than 100 mil­lion sub­scribers af­ter draw­ing in users with months of free ser­vice and cut-price deals.

An­a­lysts said if the names, con­tact num­bers, e-mail ad­dresses and unique Aadhaar num­bers of all Jio cus­tomers were com­pro­mised, it would be a ma­jor set­back for the com­pany. – Reuters

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