The leak of confidential information of more than a million citizens from a Jharkhand government website exposes systemic vulnerabilities in India’s much-touted e-governance framework, experts have said.
The warnings come after the Jharkhand Directorate of Social Security published on its website 1.4 million names, addresses, bank account details and Aadhaar numbers. Twenty-four hours after the breach was noticed by media outlets, officials had no idea how the details made it onto the website unsecured, but they had taken the page offline.
“User education is not adequate at this point in time to match the rate at which security-related risks are growing,” said Subhashis Banerjee, professor of Computer Science at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
Banerjee explained that while the Centre and states are gathering more and more data about citizens to ensure government schemes reach intended beneficiaries, departments that hold this information are ill-equipped to maintain and safeguard these sensitive databases. “Even the government is not fully aware of what it is doing,” he said.
The introduction of Aadhaar-seeding, to inter-link these discreet databases, has only exacerbated this vulnerability as a leak in one database could leave a citizen’s entire digital life vulnerable to a hack.
“It [Aadhaar] can be used to correlate and find out the identity of an individual very…
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