Airtel data leak: Personal data of 26 lakh users leaked online? company denies claims

Security and privacy of user data have become a myth in recent times. We hear about data leak incidents almost every now and then. As we write, here’s another big data leak event that’s bothering the Airtel users out there.

In a recent massive data leak incident, as reported by India Today Tech, data of 26 lakh Airtel users have been leaked on the web. The report stated that personal details such as “address, city, Aadhaar card number, and gender details” of lakhs of Airtel users were “up for sale on the web” as revealed by Rajshekhar Rajaharia, an Internet security researcher.

We suggest you take this report with a pinch of salt as the telecom operator has denied these claims and referred it as false.

In an official statement to BGR India, Bharti Airtel, one of the biggest telecom operators in India, said, “In this specific case, we confirm that there is no data breach at our end.” The operator said that “the claims made by this group reveal glaring inaccuracies and a large proportion of the data records do not even belong to Airtel.” The telecom operator said, “Airtel takes great pride in deploying various measures to safeguard the privacy of its customers.”

The company has “apprised the relevant authorities of the matter.”

Airtel data leak: What exactly happened?

The report claims personal details of users such as address, city, Aadhaar card number, and gender were put up for sale on the internet last month but have been removed now. It notes that the hacker uploaded details of these Airtel subscribers as a sample in January 2021 and tried to extort money from the telecom operator.

“Hackers communicated with Airtel security teams and then tried to blackmail the company and extort $3500 in Bitcoins from it,” internet security researcher Rajaharia said.

He further revealed that hackers deleted the data dump in the previous web link but the same data are now available in another link. “The hacker had dumped the data on the public forum and not on the Dark Web,” he highlighted.

Rajaharia revealed to IANS that, “the hacker had access to the data and wanted to sell them, but could not succeed. Hence he dumped the data on the internet.” He further claimed that these personal data may have been leaked from any third-party source and not Airtel.

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