Days After CoWIN Data Leak Reports, Arrest In Bihar

Days After CoWIN Data Leak Reports, Arrest In Bihar
Days After CoWIN Data Leak Reports, Arrest In Bihar

In relation to the suspected data leak in the CoWIN site, the nation’s Covid-19 immunization monitoring system, the Delhi police Special Cell captured a guy from Bihar for allegedly leaking information from CoWIN to Telegram days after claims of a claimed breach of beneficiary data exposed on the CoWIN website.

The individual was taken into custody by the IFFSO (Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Operations) division of the Delhi Police Special Cell. According to the police, the suspect was taken into custody from his home.

India’s success in the fight to contain the COVID-19 outbreak had been astounding just in terms of sheer numbers. The government-developed digital platform CoWIN (Winning Over COVID-19) is a crucial element in India’s success.

It is a cloud-based platform that streamlines registration, appointments for vaccinations, and immunizations while also providing digital vaccine certificates.

According to authorities, the individual used his mother, a health professional, to assist him in gathering information from the CoWIN site. According to a tweet from the South East Asia Index, the stolen information includes Aadhaar, voter identification numbers, passport numbers, and mobile phones of anyone who got the Covid-19 vaccination.

A data-driven news site called South Asia Index broke the news of the data breach in a series of tweets at the beginning of this month. The report was then dismissed by the administration, who insisted that the CoWIN site is entirely secure.

“The Health Ministry’s Co-WIN site is entirely secure and has privacy protections in place… “Only OTP authentication-based Access of Data is provided,” the Union Health Ministry stated in a statement.

Upon entering phone numbers, a Telegram Bot that belongs to Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar gave information on the CoWIN app. The information that the bot is accessing it from a threat actor database that appears to have been loaded with previously stolen information.

According to Mr. Chandrasekhar at the moment, it does not appear that the Cowin app or database has been breached directly. CoWIN is linked with UMANG Apps and Aarogya Setu.

UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) offers a centralized platform for access to all e-Government services offered by Indian government entities, from the Central to the local levels.  

” Using technical surveillance, we were able to identify the suspect. He was taken into custody while at home in Bihar. We believe he used his mother’s assistance to get past the security.

He built a bot and distributed it over Telegram. We are aware that he didn’t sell the data to any particular person. He succeeded in trying to hack the system. He placed all the information online as he realized he could. According to a story in the Indian Express, “We don’t believe he had any other hidden agendas.”

A fretting development involved the ease with which the Telegram bot could be used to access the personal information of several politicians, including the DMK’s Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, the BJP’s Tamil Nadu President K Annamalai, the Congress’ Karti Chidambaram, and the former BJP Union Minister of Health Harsh Vardhan.

In regards to the arrests on Thursday, the Union health ministry did not publish a statement or reply to inquiries. However, a top official in the central government who wished to remain anonymous claimed that an inquiry was still being conducted.

“The Delhi Police are looking into the situation; it is too soon to disclose or comment on the specifics of the inquiry. Once the inquiry is through, it will be more apparent what precisely occurred.

While it is understood that the investigation is ongoing and the specifics may not yet be clear, the prosecuting authorities and the ministries concerned must be open and honest about what degree of personal information may have been compromised and what steps individuals may take if that is the case.

HT was privy to the conversations taken on in a related Telegram channel where the bot’s creator made a number of claims, among them, that he had violated an application programming interface (API). HT was unable to confirm this person’s assertions, but experts agreed it appeared to be a reasonable theory for what may have happened.

A gateway for information sharing between programs known as an API is frequently used for lawful access for a number of purposes, including by Asha staff members who utilize applications to register beneficiaries on their mobile devices.

The creator of the bot, whose identity is unknown, was a member of the “hak4learn” programming club. Since then, the group’s Telegram and Instagram accounts have been deactivated.

In addition to initiating a separate process evaluation, the Union health ministry instructed the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) to look into the situation.

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