Data on COVID vaccine recipients were “leaked” online. The Telegram app provided unrestricted access to Indians’ personal information. Citizens’ private information is at stake. You can view all the information by simply entering the person’s phone number. For CoWIN, OTP is necessary to access these details, but not for the Telegram app’s bot.
Millions Of Indians Have Their Personal Information Compromised?
Information about the Health Secretary is accessible via Telegram. Saket Gokhale, the official spokesperson for the Trinamool Congress posted some snapshots of leaked data from Telegram. He referred to the “leak” as a cause for severe concern and questioned why the Modi administration was unaware of it and why the public isn’t aware of such a significant data breach. They blocked the bot as soon as reports of the leak started to circulate. The disturbing information has not yet received a response from the appropriate authorities.
‘Online leak’ of COVID vaccine recipients’ data
The Telegram messenger purportedly contained the personal information of COVID vaccination recipients.
The Telegram app allowed everyone unrestricted access to the personal information of Indians
For a while, the Telegram app allowed everyone unrestricted access to the personal information of citizens who had submitted it to the Central government’s CoWIN portal to receive the COVID-19 vaccination shots.
Personal Details of citizens are at risk
According to a Twitter thread this morning that included screenshots of the incident and independent verification from Malayala Manorama newspaper, if anyone entered a mobile number of a person, the chatbot in question would immediately respond with information like the person’s gender, date of birth, and the location of the vaccination center, as well as information like the identification number of the document they submitted for the shot (Aadhaar, passport, PAN card, and so on).
All information will be accessible by just typing the person’s number
The Aadhaar number, rather than the phone number, might also be used to access these details. Those who have updated the CoWIN portal for international travel also had their passport numbers exposed.
In the first instance, the details of all persons who had registered their names on the CoWIN site under the same phone number were visible.
Members of several families have all enrolled under the same phone number. So, the app also had information about the family’s other members.
OTP is required to access such details over CoWIN
In contrast, such details are made available on the CoWIN portal only if the One Time Password (OTP) is entered into one’s phone. But these details were available on the Telegram channel through a bot without the OTP.
Details of Health Secretary over Telegram
When the phone number of Rajesh Bhushan, the Union health ministry’s secretary, was entered, information like his date of birth, the last four digits of his Aadhaar card, the four digits of the Aadhaar number of his wife Ritu Khanduri Bhushan, an MLA from Uttarakhand’s Kotdwar constituency, her date of birth, and the location where she received the vaccine were all accessible.
Saket Gokhale posted some snapshots of leaked data from Telegram
Saket Gokhale, the official spokesperson for the Trinamool Congress, posted some of the identities with snapshots of their allegedly obtained data from Telegram.
The information of well-known politicians, particularly opposition leaders, and journalists, appears to have leaked as a result of the data breach.
A few of the names revealed by Gokhale providing screenshots included Rajdeep Sardesai of India Today, Barkha Dutt of Mojo Story, former Union Minister P Chidambaram, Rajya Sabha MP and TMC leader Derek O’Brien, and Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and K C Venugopal.
He referred to the “leak” as a cause for severe concern and questioned why the Modi administration was unaware of it and why the public isn’t aware of such a significant data breach.
Soon after rumors of the leak surfaced, they blocked the bot. The relevant authorities have not yet responded to the shocking information.