Data security has become a hot topic in India, since the introduction of unique Aadhaar biometric IDs


The Chairman of India’s Telecoms Regulatory Authority, Ram Sewak Sharma, has been the victim of data theft, after publicly challenging hackers to do their worst.

Sharma tweeted his unique Aadhaar biometric ID number this week and challenged hackers to "show me one concrete example of [how] you can do any harm to me".



The tweet was intended to demonstrate the high security levels of India’s governmental databases but has backfired spectacularly, with hackers being able to obtain a raft of Sharma’s personal details, including his current and previous address, two personal cell phone numbers and his personal banking information. A group of "ethical hackers" also told the BBC that they had been able to obtain Sharma’s voting registration number.

Sharma and the Unique Identification Authority of India have strongly refuted the alleged hacks and have condemned them in the strongest terms.

"The Unique Identification Authority of India today strongly dismisses the claims made by certain elements on Twitter that they have fetched personal details of Shri Ram Sewak Sharma, who is a public servant, using his Asdhaar number. UIDAI condemns such malicious attempts by a few indviduals to malign the world’s largest unique identity project," UIDAI said in an online statement.  

According to the BBC, who originally broke the story in the UK, the Aadhaar unique biometric number is a personal ID number used by the Indian government to allocate its welfare schemes. The unique biometric ID started out as an optional way for Indian citizens to access welfare schemes, but it has now been made mandatory, leading to rising fears over the security of people’s data.

Sharma disputes that the hackers have been able access any of his personal information merely by using his Aadhaar ID, stating that most of the information that the hackers have published could have been found on Google.