Aadhaar dare: Hackers post Trai chief’s personal information

BENGALURU: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman R S Sharma was left in an awkward situation on Saturday after he shared his Aadhaar number online and issued a challenge. Hours later, his personal details like PAN number and alternative phone number were put out on public domain by hackers triggering a debate on Aadhaar data security.

It started after Sharma, responding to a Twitter post, shared his Aadhaar number and tweeted from his handle @rssharma3, “Now I give this challenge to you. Show me one concrete example where you can do any harm to me!”

The tweet was sent as a reply to one @kingslyj’s post at around 1.45 pm. By 6 pm, however, French security expert and Aadhaar critic Elliot Anderson had revealed the mobile number linked to the Aadhaar number. Soon, Sharma’s PAN number, alternative phone number, email ID, the phone he was using, his WhatsApp profile pic and some other sensitive data was out in the open.

However, some Twitter users disputed the claims of Aadhaar data breach, stating that most of the data disclosed was in public domain as Sharma is a high ranking official. In the first tweet, Elliot @fs0c131y shared his mobile number: “The phone number linked to this #Aadhaar number is 995*****77”, and revealed that it was issued by Department of Electronics and Information Technology. With the help of others, Elliot also succeeded in getting the date of birth, personal number and alternative phone number of Sharma. “I stop here, I hope you will understand why make your #Aadhaar number public is not a good idea,” he wrote.

Another hacker, meanwhile, discovered that Sharma was using an iPhone with the said number. A short while later, the WhatsApp profile pic of the said number was put up in social media.

Trai chief’s PAN info also out

Another important detail of Sharma was also out — his PAN number. They also discovered that Sharma had not linked his Aadhaar number to a bank account. “I probably need to say it again: I’m not against #Aadhaar. I’m only against people who think that #Aadhaar is unhackable,” Elliot added.

Soon after the dare by Sharma, there was a tweet from user @Error_PLretry seeking assurance that the hackers won’t be bothered for mining his information out. Sharma had responded with the tweet,”Show me friend! I promise that I will take no action against you.”The issue comes at a time when there is an ongoing debate on the safety of Aadhaar data.

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