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Should you worry about ongoing Aadhaar leak

whether I should worry about aadhaar
Source: Flickr

Aadhaar became an inevitable part of our lives due to the immense effort made by the government to make it mandatory everywhere, however, the interference of the Supreme Court made it a little bit easy. Though Aadhar helped to give a unique identity to everyone, still it does more harm than good. Multiple data breach proved that it’s not as safe as the government claims to be and unfortunately, there is no active monitoring for this. As there is no straight forward approach to prevent the misuse but some useful steps can be taken to protect the Aadhaar card. There are some misconceptions regarding this which lead to creating more fear.

UIDAI has all information about you

Often people misunderstood that UIDAI has all information regarding them that include biometrics, bank account and PAN, property details, investment details, health, family background and all personal data. 
In reality, it has only your name, date of birth, gender and address, fingerprints, mobile phone, email, IRIS scans and a facial photograph. Act 2016, prohibits UIDAI to collect, maintain any information apart from this in the name of authentication.

Aadhaar can help to hack bank account 

Initially, the government forced us linking bank account with Aadhaar but later the Supreme Court made it clear that linking bank account with Aadhaar is not mandatory. Though it gave relax to lots of people, however, those who did it before no need to worry because linking bank account with UIDAI doesn’t mean that someone can withdraw money from your bank account. Unless you share your PIN/OTP, no one can withdraw money from your bank account. The sole purpose of linking bank account with UIDAI was to identifying money-launderers, fraudsters and even if someone tries to withdraw money from your account fraudulently can be easily identified.

Even though Aadhar doesn’t have your financial data and the government claims as hack proof still, there is a concern regarding privacy as we already have our email and phone number that can be misused. Data centralization may create a problem in the future, and companies that are working in this project have also access to it which could raise questions regarding our privacy. Here you can read  about some incidents where Aaadhar data has been leaked.

Indane Gas data breach

As per Tech Crunch, 5.8 million users’ details had been leaked accidentally on its website but later it shut down within three hours after the report in the name of maintenance. It even clarified later that “it doesn’t host Aadhaar and therefore no leak”.

Jharkhand government website accidentally leaked

1.6 lakh government employees’ data were leaked on the government website due to a vulnerability. The system was insecure from 2014 without any password since 2014 with sensitive data like employee name, job details, contact number and Aadhaar number. 
There are many incidents where Aadhaar data had been leaked multiple times and here you can read about this. 
However, some precautions can prevent Aadhar misuse, and here we are going to mention how to protect Aadhaar data. As the official site to lock Aadhaar biometrics is not working, we can take some few steps to prevent in different ways.

Here is how to secure your Aadhaar

Don’t use mAadhaar App

It stores all your data from UIDAI and according to a French security researcher there a key exists in the safe box where the password is stored. The key is the set of character like A254JMB but if it’s compromised then anyone can access your password and data. The best way to avoid is to use a unique key different from everyone, but the strange fact is all mAadhaar users have the same key, and it is better not to use the app.

Monitor your Email/Phone

Make sure that the email you provide for Aaadhar is correct, and once you log in your Aadhar you will get an email/SMS. In case you are not getting anything after login or if you get an OTP/email without any sign in, report to UIDAI immediately.

Prevent SMS preview while locked

If your phone has been compromised, chances of seeing your SMS without a lock are possible, and Aadhar data can also be leaked in this way. But if you prevent SMS preview while locked, no one can see it without unlock. For the iPhone, go to the Settings – Notification
If you want to off a particular app, for example, SMS, click settings
Settings- Notifications-Message- Show Previews-When Unlocked
For Android, Settings-Applications -> Application manager -> Messages-Notifications- Previews in pop-ups, Show on lock screen, Show content on lock screen. Click of the above three options and make sure they are OFF. (Blue colour is ON)
Anything and everything can be hacked, and in the whole world, there is nothing like hack proof and the same is applicable to Aadhaar. Having Aadhaar has both advantage and disadvantage but keeping a close eye on it can protect your privacy.

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