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Congress calls for Aadhaar check after website’s security breach report

india Updated: Sep 11, 2018 18:22 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Aadhaar,Aadhaar database,UIDAI

A woman goes through the process of finger scanning for the Unique Identification (UID) database system, also known as Aadhaar, at a registration centre in Delhi on January 17, 2018. (Reuters file photo)

The Congress party on Tuesday asked the authorities to make “appropriate moves” to check Aadhaar after a website reported that its investigation has found that a “critical security features”of the identity database could have been compromised.

HuffPost India reported that its three month-long investigation had found that the Aadhaar database, which contains the biometrics and personal information of over one billion Indians, “had been compromised by a software patch which disables critical security features of the software used to enrol new Aadhaar users”.

Any unauthorised person from anywhere in the world can generate Aadhaar ID using the patch which is freely available for Rs 2,500, the website said.

“The hack of the Aadhaar enrolment software jeopardizes the sanctity of the Aadhaar database. We hope the authorities will take the appropriate moves to secure future enrolments and verify the suspect enrolments,” the Congress said on Twitter.

French security expert Elliot Alderson -- who had last month sparked a controversy by asking the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to explain why its helpline number was stored on many people’s phone without their knowledge -- also joined in the conversation asking the UIDAI to work with the hackers to plug the breach.

“I repeat it: NOTHING IS UNHACKABLE. It does apply for Aadhaar. UIDAI, it’s never too late. Listen and work with hackers instead of threatening them. History is looking to you,” he said.

According to the HuffPost report, “the [software] patch lets a user bypass critical security features such as biometric authentication of enrolment operators to generate unauthorised Aadhaar numbers”.

It also disables the GPS security feature of the software allowing anyone from any location to enrol users.

“The patch reduces the sensitivity of the enrolment software’s iris-recognition system, making it easier to spoof the software with a photograph of a registered operator, rather than requiring the operator to be present in person,” the report said.

It claimed to have the patch analysed by three internationally reputed experts and two Indian analysts, all of whom confirmed it could be used to breach the Aadhaar software.

First Published: Sep 11, 2018 17:59 IST