The concern regarding the security of the Aadhaar database was being raised by several activists and organizations. They kept warning the government that if this data landed in wrong hands due to security lapses, the consequences would be disastrous. This nightmare has come true.

While the Centre government continue to force the public to link their Aadhaar Numbers to their bank accounts, mobile numbers etc. insisting this data is completely secure, hackers have already gained access to the database.

Not only they gained access, but are also selling the log-ins and software for printing of Aadhaar Cards to anyone desirous of buying it.

This shocking revelation made by a national English daily, billions of Aadhaar numbers are allegedly on sale through rackets being run on social media for a meager cost of Rs. 500. A software for printing is also being offered for mere Rs.300 through social media.

The English daily, The Tribune, in a report published in its January 3 edition, revealed that one of its journalists easily bought access to UIDAI log-in within mere 10 minutes of payment through Paypal. It was facilitated by a WhatsApp group

The journalist received log-in details, using which she was able to access information including name, address, postal code (PIN), photo, phone number and email by just entering the number of any individual.

If that wasn’t enough, the agent also offered a software that could facilitate the printing of the Aadhaar card after entering Aadhaar Number of any individual.

The Tribune “purchased” a service being offered by anonymous sellers over WhatsApp that provided unrestricted access to details for any of the more than 1 billion Aadhaar numbers created in India thus far, said the report.

It further added, It took just Rs 500, paid through Paytm, and 10 minutes in which an “agent” of the group running the racket created a “gateway” for this correspondent and gave a login ID and password. Lo and behold, you could enter any Aadhaar number in the portal, and instantly get all particulars that an individual may have submitted to the UIDAI.”

The report further claimed that such rackets are operational for as long as six months and that by now over one lakh illegal users have already gained access to the database.

As per the daily, when the matter was reported to the UIDAI official, they were shocked and admitted it was a major lapse in the security of the database.

Sanjay Jindal, Additional Director-General, UIDAI Regional Centre, Chandigarh said “Except the Director-General and I, no third person in Punjab should have a login access to our official portal. Anyone else having access is illegal, and is a major national security breach.”

The report has jolted the people who are feeling cheated. Their details are in wrong hands and can be used as fake identification for various illegal purposes.

As the numbers are also linked to their bank accounts, the consequences could be fatal for individuals.

Photo: The Quint